Honoring the Nestorian Christians

Thursday, March 8, 2012


(Photo 1: Visit to the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Manila, Feb. 8-10, 2012). Advance Party to the Presiding Bishop's Visit. Left to Right: Fred Vergara, Peter Ng, Rev. Margaret Rose (PB Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Collaboration. At center is The Most Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana, Obispo Maximo of the IFI; Mrs. Julie Esclamado and Bishop Vic Esclamado, IFI President of the Supreme Council of Bishops.

Photo 2: Peter Margaret and Fred displaying the raw and young mango fruits, taken from Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, where one of the Asset-Based Community Development of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines is located.)

(January-March 2012
Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries (EAM)
Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara, Missioner
Consultation on Alternative Theological Training (Oklahoma City, January 12-15 ) –Collaborated with Ethnic Missioners in a gathering of bishops, priests and lay leaders for cross-cultural conversation and sharing of alternative education and ordination tracks. EAM presented its Pilot Project on “Doctor of Ministry in Asia-America Ministry” in partnership with the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which starts on June 2012 with initial six EAM clergy. Will also be working on a Christian Education grid towards faith formation and ministry of all the baptized.
Forum on Filipino American Christianity: Like Milkfish in Brackish Water Book (San Francisco, January 27-28) – Led a well-attended symposium of a culture-specific approach to mission and evangelism, a new paradigm of mission in American and global context. Presentation and discussion included “chosenness” as servanthood;  Philippine religious history; motifs in Filipino American immigration history; Symbols and stereotypes of Filipino American immigrants. Filipino American Christianity is likened to a Philippine fish called “bangus” (milkfish) for its three characteristics: adaptability, hospitality and versatility.  A contextual Filipino American liturgy was held at St. Martin & Holy Child Episcopal Church in Daly City.
Worship on the Way: A Resource – As chair of the Pacific Asian American Canadian Christian Education (PAACCE) of the National Council of Churches, I wrote the preface to this new ecumenical resource authored by Russell Yee, off the press by April 2012. This is a collection of diverse Asian North American contextual worship styles. Liturgy is the work of the people and culture matters.  It will become one of the resources for Asian American ministry.
Visit to Asia (Manila and HongKong, February 1-15) – As part of the Presiding Bishop Visit to Asia, involving the Partnership Office for Asia and the Pacific and the Ecumenical and Interfaith Collaboration,  I participated in the planning of Concordat Meeting with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.  In parallel visit to the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP), we were introduced to one of their  “Asset Based Community Development projects,” which featured a self-help program that turned a problem into an asset. In this project, headed by the town mayor of Cabiao, the water hyacinths which were once a cause of flooding, has been transformed into handicrafts products, deodorizers and charcoal. The community is looking for markets for its products. In the IFI, we visited the Aglipay Central Theological Seminary, which has grown over the years.  IFI has now a total membership of around 8 million and needed more clergy to supply pastoral leadership. Upon return to the U.S., I stopped by HongKong to minister to the Migrant Workers at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral and discussed with Canon Thomas Pang, provincial coordinator and Archbishop’s adviser on Christian Education about the possibility of Asia-America Theological Forum in 2013.
Asia-America Theology Forum 2013 (EAM and Asia Pacific Partnership ) – As a result of our Asia Visit, we are exploring an Asia-America Theology Forum to be held at Trinity University of Asia campus on February 2013 to gather representative Asian and Asian American theologians and scholars. With an initial theme  “One Host, One Banquet, Many Guests,” our hope is to present many and diverse voices in Asia-America global Christianity. This project will involve multilateral and multidimensional collaboration.
New Community Clergy and Lay Conference (Feb. 29-March 4, 2012)
'New Community Gathering' unites Episcopal ethnic ministries

By Pat McCaughan

[Episcopal News Service] Stories of faith and personal witness animated the historic Feb. 29 - March 3 "New Community Gathering" in San Diego of about 300 Asian, Black, Latino and Native American clergy and laity from across the Episcopal Church.Community engagement, mission focus and collaboration ranked high on the agenda for the event, themed "Reclaiming our Mission; Reinterpreting Our Contexts and Renewing Our Communities."Organized through the Ethnic Ministries offices of the Episcopal Church (http://www.episcopalchurch.org), the gathering challenged enthusiastic participants - as well as the wider church - to embrace renewal through creative mission, sharing resources and honoring ethnic and community context.Full story: http://bit.ly/w8PIhu

Future Travel/Events:
Mar. 9-11- Washington, DC: Design Team for Why Serve Discernment Conference for Young Adults of Color to be held in Virginia Theological Seminary sometime September 2012

April12-15: Tampa, Florida: IFI Convention and International Forum on Migrants Ministry

April 16-17: Tampa, Florida: Concordat Council Meeting

April 28- Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry of Long Island, New York Asian Festival and Conference on the theme “Beyond Survival: Ministry in the 21st Century.”

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