Monday, February 21, 2011

Paradigm shift brings me back to my first love

Having settled down and established my own family in 1992, I made it a point to be cautious in my involvement, so as not to repeat the traumatic isolation. This made me distance myself from any engagement that would spark the flame of activism in me . While I could not resist the deep seated commitment to serve the people, I redirected it in line with my profession as registered social worker. This is where my volunteerism was honed in working with welfare and development organizations, apart from my teaching work in the University.

I joined the professional organization of registered social workers and subsequently elected as president of the Iloilo Chapter which brought me later to the national board. Incidentally, our association is a member of welfare and development network. This provided an opportunity to apply my learnings from previous involvement in building alliances and coalition work. Eventually, I was elected as president of this network - the Iloilo Council of Social Development, with 25 member NGOs (non-government organizations). It paved the way to work with former partners in cause-oriented groups and new colleagues in development endeavors. Enjoying the new-found challenge, combining previous skills with the knowledge in social work, we made innovations in networking. Thereafter, I found myself engaging with the government in the Provincial Development Council, having elected as co-chair of the governor of Iloilo for 3 consecutive terms, as NGO representative. I had also the privilege to be part of the private sector representatives (PSR) in the Regional Development Council, chairing the Social Development Committee.

Such partnership has brought unprecedented breakthroughs in development and social work. Two ordinances were passed in the province to give recognition to the role of welfare and development workers and social workers in nation building. The annual celebration of NGO- PO (People’s Organizations) Week every first week of December resulted to the organization of Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON). This umbrella network serves as rallying point of civil society organizations in Iloilo. Another ordinance is the celebration of the Social Work Week in Iloilo, and Western Visayas (as it was replicated in other provinces. Cognizant of my contribution, the Philippine Association of Social Workers awarded me as one of the Ten Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines in 2004.

Living a relatively stable and peaceful life, I did not ask for more from God. But the intriguing comment of a prominent layleader in our Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches has stirred me up once more: “He should have proven himself an outstanding pastor first and foremost, not just as social worker.” I was humbled and made me realized I have departed from my first love - pastoral ministry. If social work, development, NGO community has made use of my talent and commitment, why can’t I do the same or even more in the ministry?

Next post: A return to my first love


  1. Very well stated Pastor Ed And very true as well, if you could employ this same skill in the proclamation of the gospel. Kudos!

  2. Thanks, Pastor. Next post will discuss the integration of my experiences and learnings in leading the CBMA.

  3. You have not really left the pastorate... you were a pastor to the students, a pastor to the social workers, a pastor to sheep brought to your care... you were not the typical pastor with a local church, you were pastor in a much bigger picture... and i was there... you were the pastor who inspire people to minister to the wholeness and wellness of every person... yes, i was there...and i thank you...

  4. Thanks, Jun. You have inspired me to PADAYON