B022 Support for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Joint Efforts to Continue the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ 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 training 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 national church 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 training, 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.

Explanation

The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, visited the Philippines on February 17-18, 2017 and re-affirmed the historical relationship and partnership between TEC and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. The renewed Charter between the two churches was signed by the Presiding Bishop and The Most Rev. Renato M. Abibico, ECP Prime Bishop, at the National Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John during the visit. The preamble of this document states, “We rejoice in our common history and heritage, recommitting ourselves to the principles of interdependence and unity in Christ. Likewise, we renew our 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.”

The Presiding Bishop’s visit opened up opportunities for doing mission together “as we celebrate the communion we share with the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.” These include the setting up of a scholarship program at St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary [SATS] for interested theology students in Asia. The program was consequently named “The Jesus Movement” Scholarship Program (JMSP) after Presiding Bishop Curry’s renewed call for Episcopalians all over the world to “follow Jesus into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with the earth.”

In the 1970s, SATS used to take in students from Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and other countries. Many of these foreign students have maintained prayerful ties with their classmates, contributing to the strengthening of relationships among churches within the region. The Jesus Movement Scholarship Program (JMSP) will revive and further enhance this tradition by providing opportunities for sharing, learning and mutual visioning among Anglican provinces in Asia and Pacific. While the program will involve full-time residency and study at SATS, the students will be adopted by ECP dioceses so they can have actual participation in the ministry of the said dioceses, especially as it relates to their [students’] particular field of interest. Under the scholarship program, the ECP and TEC will share the costs of the theological study, either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

In August 2017, three (3) students from the Church of the Province of Myanmar were admitted into the program and are now pursuing master’s degrees, with particular focus on leadership and church and community development in line with the current vision of the said Province. For school-year 2018-19, five (5) additional students also from CPM were approved. Two of the incoming students will be supported by TEC while two are sponsored by the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia and the fifth one will be fully paid for by the ECP.

The tuition cost for each student is $3,000 USD per year and an annual budget was set at $10,000 USD per year for a three-year program ($30,000 having been committed from partner churches). At present, the funding sought for this program is not part of the DFMS/PB&F budget presentation, as current funding comes from extra-budgetary sources, US donor agencies and Anglican partners.

During the next triennium, the General Convention is hereby asked to: a) commend the efforts of the ECP and JCPC to continue the Jesus Movement Scholarship Program (JMSP) and promote provincial partnerships in Asia and the Pacific through theological education exchange programs, b) support the partnership efforts of the Joint Committee on Provincial Companionship (JCPC) to seek resources to expand scholarship opportunities for Anglican partners in Asia and the Pacific, c) include support for the JCPC/JMSP as part of the mission strategy of the Episcopal Church, and d) encourage partner church dioceses, parishes, seminaries and other entities to expand financial support for additional scholarship opportunities three-fold ($90,000 USD/year) by 2021.

The Most Rev. Joel Pachao, ECP Prime Bishop and General Secretary Floyd Lalwet are present as international visitors during the first week of the 79th General Convention (July 3-8, 2018) and available to speak in support of this resolution, if invited to do so.


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