C.S. Lewis wrote: “You must celebrate the past to successfully leave it for a new future.” That was the thinking behind a celebratory event in April when people from across the Philippines and elsewhere gathered to mark a new phase of ministry.
“The highlight for me was the fact that we were, after 50 years of partnership, successfully celebrating the past and anticipating a new future,” said Joel Hogan, director of International Ministries for Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM).
Vince and Lucy Apostol, graduates of what is now Kuyper College, went to the Philippines and developed the first Christian Reformed congregation, Hogan noted. Today there is a denomination with six classes, 44 organized churches, 28 organizing churches, and the Reformed Ministry Academy with 28 students.
As of June 30, CRWM and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee ended their formal presence and partnership in the Philippines. The CRC of the Philippines (CRCP) is taking responsibility for its ministry of church planting, discipleship, community development, and disaster response.
“A vibrant diaconate has developed in the CRCP,” says CRWRC Asia team leader Tom Post. “It’s been a blessing to witness the hospitable, merciful, evangelistic enthusiasm that has grown out of the CRCP.”
The CRCP will be supported by several Christian organizations that the Christian Reformed Church in North America helped to start or strengthen during its years of partnership.
CRCP will remain in relationship with the CRCNA through the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee. Bob and Patti Harris of CRWM will also continue to teach at the Asia Theological Seminary.
“Ministry in the Philippines will continue with the faith, vision, and resources that God has given his people there,” said Bruce Adema, the CRCNA’s director of Canadian Ministries and a former missionary in the Philippines.