Pray for the Philippines on Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pray for the Philippines on Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lectionary Selection: Matthew 10:40–42

Prayers for Philippines:

Holy One, we welcome your prophets and messengers. We welcome those that know that they are gifted and those that want to be. Let us find your reward in the welcome we hear together. Satisfy our thirst to feel your love here and now.

Mission Stewardship Moment from Philippines:
In the Philippines, non-renewable energy sources like coal are significant.  Providing 27% of the nation’s energy production, coal is the cheapest source of power available and is an essential component to the nation’s development as most structures are built of reinforced concrete. 

With the benefits of being an inexpensive resource helping an emerging nation blossom, it also carries tremendous costs.  Coal is devastating to the environment and the mines destroy mountain ranges and threaten water sources which are indispensable to rural communities that are largely agricultural.  Of the overall development plans of the government to increase mining production of the various resources the Philippines has to offer, coal is expected to lead the growth. 

This isn’t without debate as there’s a strong push from within the government and civil society, particularly churches, for renewable energy development but renewable energy largely ignores the people historically neglected and most immediately affected by environmental policy: the indigenous people residing in rural communities throughout the Philippines.  Initiatives pushing for renewable energy development have the unintended consequence of harming these communities.  Taking a recent trip up north to Sagada in Mountain Province, I met with a friend of mine doing research on the opposition to renewable energies in these communities who share the largest potential of being affected by their development.

In her research, she revealed community concerns about the development of wind farms atop mountain ridges.  These ridges surround crops below and these wind farms increase the risk of landslides, vibrations scaring cattle affecting pastures, and causing erosion on terrace plots.  One of the larger projects involves a geothermal power plant, but again there’s speculation about how this would affect the watershed.  If any adverse effects damaged this watershed, it would cripple the agriculture industry, which is the second largest industry just below tourism in the area. 

Seldom can something be pursued without potential consequences. Indigenous people and their lands, who have suffered historically with under-representation, often pay the price for the standards of living in-country and abroad.  Well-intentioned, advocating and investing in sources of energy, which are conventionally safer for the environment, must be accompanied by the speculation of ulterior effects: both on the health of the environment and the rights of the community.

(Prayer and Mission Moment by Matthew Fehse)

Mission Partners in Philippines:

More information on Philippines:

Global Ministries Missionary in Philippines:
Matthew Fehse, a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Redding, California, Global Mission Intern, serves with the human rights desk of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and has been working on relief efforts around Typhoon Haiyan. His appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.