Sunday, March 20, 2011

KATIPAN Hall: A multi- faceted testament

True to its meaning, KATIPAN has become a symbol of solidarity among pastors. It bespeaks of the realization of collective faith and action (Katumanan sang Tingob nga Pagtoo kag binuhatan). A such, Katipan has galvanized our relationship. It even boasted the morale of pastors who have been stereotyped to be always in the receiving end. In fact, the *CPBC leadership were surprised when the project was presented to them, for approval, as donation without condition. Of course, not a few had raised their eyebrows questioning our capacity to sustain the project. Even engineers who volunteered their labor could not help but smile upon learning our start up budget.

Like the boy in the parable of the feeding of multitude, our initiative, though viewed with reservation, soon gained support. Touched by our commitment to share meager means, other organizations followed suit. Soon the spark got the fire burning. The Pastor Kids’ commitment to develop the Camp Higher Ground was rekindled. They did not only give donation but took charge of the floor tiling. Women’s group, Baptist Men and Youth likewise contributed their share, as well as churches and related academic institutions and hospitals. Provincial Kasapulanans, individual members and even government officials also responded to the appeal. The Gilopez Kabayao Foundation showed support by making our association the beneficiary of their concerts. Pastors abroad sent their contribution. Rev. Danilo Borlado mobilized the church in Hongkong to shoulder the painting cost. Funds surplus even completed the construction of basketball court beside the edifice. But the bulk of the donation came from pastors.

As previously mentioned, KATIPAN Hall was not merely another successful infrastructure project. It has become a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. Its presence has attracted other organizations to resume retreats, seminar, conferences and other religious activities.

But there is more to the Katipan legacy. It has brought our association to the door step of the CPBC leadership and politics. Of course, there are pastors who have been in the mainstream of politics in our denomination. Some already identified with a particular group or block. There was even a time when our group that participated in the people’s struggle during the dark years of dictatorial rule in our country established alliances with leaders in Negros. Later, such alliance dominated the CPBC politics, sustained by new leaders and some members of our group. The rest refrained from politics, some maintain independence while others formed another block or aligned with young progressive pastors. However, seldom does our association, as a whole, directly participate in the politics.

Things have changed because of the Katipan project. There was a shift in my stand to advocate a moratorium for pastors to leave the CPBC politics to lay leaders and focus in our association. Every time we were confronted with difficulties in sustaining the project, I recalled the culprit. The leadership flaw, as manifested in the rescindment of the Board in their approval of Pastors Kids management of the Camp on flimsy ground. We could not have experienced the suffering had the Pastors Kids continue managing the Camp. I was convinced that something was wrong in the leadership and politics which was discriminatory to pastors. For even the move of my predecessors for pastors representation in the CPBC Board was met with disdain.

I decided to enter the CPBC politics during the May 2006 election running as independent. The pastors did not fail me, some crossing group lines/affiliations. I won in that election which was a show of force and money of organized groups within the CPBC. It was marred with block voting and boat buying, if not vote buying. Thereafter, I advocated for the pastors cause resulting to some significant changes beneficial for pastors.

*Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches

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