Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Episcopal Church in the Philippines Celebrate Concordat Anniversary, Hold Labor Forum with Church people and Workers Organization

In observance of the historic signing of the Concordat of Full Communion between the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP), a one-day celebration was held on February 21, 2013, at the IFI National Cathedral in Manila.

In the morning, a Holy Eucharist was held with His Eminence, The Most Revd Ephraim S. Fajutagana, Obispo Maximo XII, as the main celebrant. Concelebrating with him were the Right Revd Dixie Taclobao of the ECP and the Right Revd Bartolome Espartero of the IFI. Preaching during the Thanksgiving Mass was the Revd Gloria Mapangdol of the ECP.

Church ForumAround 300 people witnessed the celebration, composed of clergy and lay members of both Churches from nearby parishes and dioceses, and students from Aglipay Central Theological Seminary (ACTS) in Pangasinan and Saint Andrew’s Theological Seminary (ACTS) in Quezon City

After the Thanksgiving Mass a program was held at the IFI Conference Center. The program was highlighted with a Lecture “The IFI – ECP Concordat: A Commentary” delivered by the Rev. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and a priest of the ECP.

It can be recalled that 16 years ago, on 17 February 1994, the Concordat of Full Communion between the two Churches was signed by the Most Revd Alberto B. Ramento, Obispo Maximo IX, for the IFI, and the Most Revd Narciso Ticobay, ECP Presiding Bishop, in a fitting ceremony also held at the IFI National Cathedral.

Equally, in celebration of the 111th Founding Anniversary of the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD), the two Churches also sponsored the “Church Forum on Labor” in the afternoon as part of the anniversary program. The UOD, the first labor federation in the Philippines founded and headed by Don Isabelo de los Reyes, was responsible in the proclamation of the IFI on August 3, 1902.

The Very Revd Eleuterio J. Revollido, Rector of the Aglipay Central Theological Seminary (ACTS), gave a lecture that traced the crucial role and history of the UOD as the exponent of the rights of the Filipino working class.

Other forum speakers were Daisy Arago, Executive Director of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR); Sister Emelina Villegas, ICM, Convenor of the Church People and Workers Solidarity (CWS-NCR); and Revd Fr. Gregorio Obejas, OSM, Convenor of the Religious Discernment Group. The forum was also highlighted by the testimonies of workers from different labor unionsd Pentagon.

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