Young women work together, learn more about Fil-Am Methodist ministries
By Jesse N. Love and Patrice Katigbak
The Convocation of the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists was held July 23-26, 2013 in Redondo Beach, Calif.
“Alright! Work together, work together!” yells Guro Francis T.B. Serrano. Serrano is a Filipino-American Methodist leading a workshop at NAFAUM. He is teaching young people escrima, a distinct Filipino Martial Art involving stick fighting. Several young people at NAFAUM have gathered outside on the front lawn of Riviera United Methodist Church to enjoy the kinetic movements and to learn more about other fellow Fil-Am youth from around the US and Canada.
Kathlyn Talapian, Yvonne Agduyeng, Kathleen “Kaye” San Pedro, Faith Sairez, and Chielsea Cenal are all enjoying afternoon workshops and have centered near the outdoor escrima session. All are young women between ages 18-25, each bringing with them their own experiences in ministry from their regional areas. They have come to NAFAUM to grow and to celebrate their faith with new friends.
“It’s been great! Really fun and inspiring,” Kathlyn Talapian exclaims. Based in the Northern Illinois Conference’s Chicago Area, Talapian helped serve on the core team of NAFAUM’s young people by planning and facilitating programs with others from around the country. But how can this be done efficiently as members are thousands of miles away? She credits social media and current technology as an efficient way of communicating with her teammates. “We use Google Hangout (for video conferencing). Everyone had to have a Gmail account, a microphone, and speakers on their computers. We established meetings every Tuesday night.”
Yvonne Agduyeng, Kathleen “Kaye” San Pedro, and Faith Sairez all serve as leadership for Christmas Institute (CI) in the Pacific Northwest Conference. Each has voiced the value of being surrounded by peers with unique experiences in youth leadership. “It’s fun to know what everyone does for their CIs,” shares Agduyeng. She will be attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Fall 2013 and she hopes to have CI continue to grow. “I know there are new leaders coming into the PNW’s CI, so I think it would be fun to connect them with others who’ve never been to ours. Some of us are transitioning out of CI, so I want our leaders to have more resources other than us…” San Pedro then adds, “…just having more resources – seeing what other’s ideas are, how CI works in other places – what works and what doesn’t.” Sairez welcomes the possibility of having the NAFAUM convocation held in the Seattle Area*.
First-time NAFAUM attendee Chielsea Cenal hails from the California-Nevada Conference, specifically the Bay Area. For Cenal, sermons, workshops and celebrations were the highlights of NAFAUM. Cenal attended the escrima workshop and the communications workshop – both of which she enjoyed. “I want to learn how to be a more open United Methodist. After hearing how we are lost in the denominations these days, I want to learn new ways to get us ‘out there’.”
These young women of NAFAUM represent growing leadership within the Filipino-American Methodist community. “Everyone is a leader. Everyone is trying to bring something to the table,” shares Kathlyn Talapian. They bring spiritual gifts of leadership, nurturing relationships, and enthusiasm. As a community of faith, continue to support, equip, and pray for young women leaders in faith so they may continue to help develop vital ministry in the Methodist Church.
Special thanks to Ron Castor and Allen Navarro.
Jesse N. Love serves as print & publications manager for The Office of Connectional Ministries, The Pacific Northwest Conference and serves as a communicator for NAFAUM. Patrice Katigbak is a young adult from Pinole United Methodist Church in the California-Nevada Conference.