Cavite, Philippines: Church of the Nazarene Southern Tagalog District celebrated its 36th founding anniversary, last 2 July 2022. Over six hundred members from 19 churches joined the celebration. Everyone who attended were thrilled with joy because this is the first time that their district celebrated their founding anniversary.
The thanksgiving celebration focused on the theme: “Konektado sa Nakaraan” (Connected to the Past). “While our past may be a mix of good, best and bad, all this contributed to who we are today. And regardless of how it ugly it maybe, let us allow God’s grace to use it and weave it in order for us to be our best in the future,” shared Rev. Jun Macas, Southern Tagalog District Superintendent.
Some of the highlights of the events were the different music and cultural dance presentations from the young people. Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides, a Christian broadcaster, motivational speaker, author and lifelong learner served as the guest speaker. She emphasized three key points about the theme:
- If we are connected to our past, we will be whole.
- Being connected to the past keeps us grounded and guided.
- Being connected to the past reminds us of God’s grace and goodness.
She expressed her gratefulness to God amid the pandemic.
“I want to gather with my brothers and sisters in Christ, so that together we can celebrate. Lord, thank you! The pandemic is almost over. You have sustained us. There is still plentiful harvest. We still have our loved ones beside us. We are still surrounded by our fellow believers… We went through a lot of challenges. The pandemic, the election which has divided not just the country but also the church. And yet… today is July 2 and we are standing here healthy, praising the Lord, and watching beautiful dances. And being reminded that God is a faithful and good good God! He is the God of the past. He is the God of the present, and He is the God of the future. And He tells us, he is telling us “remember, remember, remember. Do not forget.” – Maloi Malibiran- Salumbides
The district also gave special recognitions to pastors and members who have served the Lord in the Southern Tagalog District. The “Rudy Aguillon Manaois Memorial Award” named after the first District Superintendent of Southern Tagalog, was awarded to the following pastors:
- Rev. Danilo Escarez – 32 years of service
- Rev. Romeo Casama – 28 years of service
- Rev. Donald Dela Peret – 27 years of service
- Rev. Jun Sibuma – 21 years of service
4 members were also given the “Rex Rey Dela Peret Award,” named after the first Pastor in Southern Tagalog District. The awardees are:
- Napoleon M. Gualberto from GMA Church of the Nazarene – 43 years of service
- Rhea Ronase from Bagong Bayan Church of the Nazarene – 37 years of service
- Renato Batacan from Calamba Church of the Nazarene – 37 years of service
- Rosalinda Benavides from Church of the Nazarene Indang – 35 years of service
Furthermore, DS Jun Macas challenged the congregation to dream not just for themselves but for God’s ministry also. He also encouraged them to participate in the ministry as they continue minister to places where the church is not yet.
On 9 July 2022, a second thanksgiving celebration was held in Mindoro province which is still part of Southern Tagalog District. Because of logistical challenges brought by the pandemic they were not able to join in the big celebration. Two hundred attendees from five churches and other dignitaries joined the thanksgiving event. Ptr. Noah Mendoza, pastor of Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene Aroma was the speaker during the gathering.
One of the highlights of the thanksgiving event was recognizing students who were awarded Cum Laude from their respective schools. Two of them received this award. In addition, five fishers from Brgy. Nuebe received award as outstanding fishers for their exceptional preservation of the ocean and for cultivating the skills of other co-fishers.
The journey will be challenging, but Southern Tagalog District looks forward to the church’s future with relevant lessons from its past.
The whole Church of the Nazarene celebrates with Southern Tagalog District for 36 years of unwavering ministries for God’s glory.