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Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco of the United Methodist Church (UMC) last Friday, January 25, 2019, urged members of Manila Episcopal Area’s (MEA) local churches for a holy conferencing to “recognize the power of prayer” and “declare God’s blessing to our land.”
“Remember that the prophets in the Bible confronted even the kings to correct the evils of the society,” Bishop Francisco said, adding that church people, especially the clergy, must do likewise.
He spoke before a flock of several hundred members from the local church in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Cavite who heeded his earlier call to gather at the Auditorium of the Philippine Christian University (PCU) at 1 p.m. liturgy last Friday.
A week before, Bishop Francisco issued a letter of instruction urging MEA district superintendents, pastors and lay members to congregate at the PCU Auditorium for a rally “to pray for our country and manifest our prophetic witness proclaiming Truth, Justice and Peace in this challenging time.”
During the worship service held at the PCU Auditorium, the Rev. Genesis I. Antonio, chairperson of the Board of Church and Society of the Philippine Central Conference (PCC), explained the purpose of the gathering. He said it served “to push our mission forward and manifest our faith.”
In his message, MEA Resident Bishop Francisco emphasized that the church’s clergy, aside from its priestly duties, has a prophetic function to perform. He added that all members of the church must do its part of praying together for God’s intervention.
He cited the Old Testament verse from the 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” He explained that God required His people to humble themselves before Him and to pray for His intervention.
“In our joint prayer, God will listen to our pleas and he will heal our land,” Bishop Francisco said.
The bishop said that one can readily distinguish if a land is already healed. He said peace, justice and prosperity must reign in a healthy society. He said these are the things that the people must pray for.
The service finished at 3:30 p.m., after which the UMC-MEA delegation stepped out to the PCU Ground where they got ready to march to Rajah Sulayman in Malate, Manila, where a larger contingent of Catholic brothers and sisters led by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and members of Protestant denominations belonging to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), including the UMC, converged for a prayer-rally. (Fort Nicolas)