I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are now settling into one of my favorite seasons of the church year, Advent! I will admit that, with Thanksgiving coming so late this year, I feel as though I’m playing catch-up in my desire to rest into this special time of waiting with anticipation for God’s greatest gift to us, our Lord Jesus.
This week’s blog on General Convention’s Resolution B022 comes from the Rev. Anthony Estes of Diocesan Council’s Resolution Review Committee:
B022 Support for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Joint Efforts to Continue the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 79th General Convention acknowledge with great thanks and strongly commend the continued efforts of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) to bring about greater understanding and cooperation in theological education in Asia and the Pacific regions of the Anglican Communion by the creation of the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program (JMSP) which has helped to strengthen regional partnerships; and be it further
Resolved, That General Convention heartily commend the continued efforts of the ECP/TEC Joint Committee on Provincial Companionship (JCPC) and the many Anglican dioceses, parishes, and individuals who are working in partnership with the ECP and its dioceses to provide formation of lay and clergy leaders in Asia and the Pacific at Saint Andrews Theological Seminary (SATS); and be it further
Resolved, That General Convention urge congregations and dioceses of the Episcopal Church to seek new opportunities to provide support for the work of the ECP and the JCPC, with the assistance of church–wide leadership and staff, to locate resources to strengthen the efforts of the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program (JMSP); and be it further
Resolved, That General Convention urge dioceses and congregations in the Episcopal Church to make it a specific mission priority to reach out to Anglican partners in Asia and the Pacific, inviting them to seek opportunities for lay and clergy exchange visits and seminary formation, by exploring resource development to assist the ECP/JCPC in their efforts to foster appreciation and greater understanding about theological education, through ongoing support and additional resource development for the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program by 2021.
Proposed by The Right Reverend Robert Fitzpatrick, Resolution B022 has been commended to dioceses and congregations of The Episcopal Church (TEC) to highlight the relationship between TEC and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP). Established by the Episcopal Church in 1901, the ECP became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion in 1990.
In 2017, The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Primate and Presiding Bishop of TEC and The Most Reverend Renato M. Abibico, Prime Bishop of the EPC signed a renewed concordat between the two churches. Bishop Fitzpatrick wrote in his explanation of B022 that the concordat renewed a joint commitment to the “apostolic mission of God as we pray and worship, as we live and proclaim the Gospel, and as we bear witness to God’s justice, peace, and love within our respective Provinces and throughout the world.”
Based on my reading of Bishop Fitzpatrick’s rationale statement provided with the original proposed resolution, part of this commitment was to a scholarship program at St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary for interested theology students in Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian countries. The Jesus Movement Scholarship Program will continue this tradition of helping individuals study at the seminary and participate in ministry contexts in ECP dioceses. The scholarship Program facilitates cost-sharing for theological education between the ECP and TEC.
The tuition cost for each student is $3,000 per year, with an annual budget of $10,000 per year for a three-year program. Funding sought for this program is not part of any official TEC budget and current funding has come from other donor sources and partners. B022 hopes that we can expand financial support to $90,000 a year by 2021 with help from our congregations, dioceses, seminaries, and other partners.
Here’s what we can do right now:
- Pray for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
- Consider theological education, particularly the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program, a mission priority in parish and diocesan budget considerations.
- Encourage our diocese and our congregations in TEC to make efforts in the next triennium to support our mission partners in Asia and the Pacific.
A story on the signing of the concordat and a history of relationship between TEC and EPC
The original resolution including Bishop Fitzpatrick’s rationale statement.
Let us pray –
Almighty God, bless the people of The Episcopal Church in the Philippines. Help your children throughout the Episcopal Church find ways to help our sisters and brothers in Asia and the Pacific in their studies and preparation for a lifetime of ministry and service; through Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.