By Jesse N. Love
May 19, 2016 | Vancouver, Wash.
Vancouver, Wash. – It’s a misty evening in Vancouver, Washington. As chairs gently screech across the social hall floor, guests begin to arrive slowly and surely en masse. Friends follow the smells of freshly cooked food – triggering memories of family and home.
What was intended to be a night for 150-200 people booms to a 300-400 person event. Friends and delegates from across the United States and the Philippines have gathered to share a meal together. Filipino Christian music fills the air courtesy of Arnel de Pano and friends. It’s an apt time to spend apart from the business of General Conference – to eat, reconnect with friends, or continue talking about church business.
The National Association of Filipino American United Methodists, or NAFAUM, coordinated with staff and church members within The Pacific Northwest Conference to welcome attendees of General Conference in Portland. Honored bishops from the Philippines to non-Filipino friends were blessed with Northwest hospitality.
The Rev. David Tinney shares, “When you see this kind of multiplication, it’s amazing how the word got out – through word of mouth. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen this many District Superintendents and Bishops singing on stage!”
Visit Facebook for more photos from this event!
Highlights from this night:
- Representatives from Lakbay Lumad USA testified on the plight of the indigenous farming tribes in the Philippines and presented special music.
- The PNW Conference’s Kristina Gonzalez welcomed delegates, sharing how Christmas Institute has been a positive influence in various Conferences. Many who are declaring as candidates for ministry are from Filipino-American churches.
- Filipino clergy were recognized as potential candidates for episcopacy, including the Rev. Lillian Gallo Seagren, the Rev. Bener Agtarap, and the Rev. Armando Arellano.
- Bishop Grant Hagiya of The Greater Northwest Area welcomed guests and provided a closing blessing for a new church start that is in development in Vancouver, Wash. Hagiya also prayed for General Conference and its delegates as the body discusses issues of human sexuality and inclusion.
The Rev. Nestor Gerente served as the MC for this event in coordination with The Rev. David V. Valera of The PNW Conference. This event was an opportune time to enjoy delicious Filipino food, reconnect with missional purpose as Filipino United Methodists, and a festive way to welcome family and friends of the Fil-Am community it its journey to serve the Church.
This event took place on Sunday, May 15 at Vancouver: First UMC.
Special thanks to the Revs. David Tinney and Vancouver: First UMC, Shalom Agtarap, Mark Galang, and Seattle: Beacon UMC.
Jesse N. Love serves as Graphic Designer and Print Manager for The Pacific Northwest Conference.