Episcopal Church, Philippine Independent Church to celebrate 60th anniversary of full communion

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Sep 13, 2021

Celebrating six decades of commitment as full communion partners, The Episcopal Church and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente—also known as the Philippine Independent Church—will host a webinar Sept. 15 featuring multiple church leaders. The celebration will continue in October with a service of thanksgiving and evening prayer.

“Revisiting Our Common Mission, Celebrating Our Friendship and Telling Our Stories” will open with remarks from Obispo Maximo Rhee M. Timbang of the Philippine Independent Church and recorded greetings from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The webinar will be on Zoom from 5 to 7 p.m. Pacific time.

“The courage of the Philippine Independent Church in the midst of national conflict and its commitment to care for the poor is a continuing witness to our gospel call,” said the Rev. Margaret Rose, The Episcopal Church deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, who will also participate in the webinar. “We are grateful for our ecumenical partnership and look forward to our common work of mission and ministry in the years to come.”

The Philippine Independent Church was born out of revolution in 1902 following the Filipino-American war. Describing itself as “a community of faith steeped in the nationalist history and the workers’ struggle in the Philippines,” the church’s mission statement “affirms its commitment to its historical mission and ministry in empowering the poor, deprived and oppressed through its liberative education, organizing, and mobilizing of the Filipino people in pursuing life in its fullness.”

In 1948, The Episcopal Church in the United States consecrated three bishops of the Philippine Independent Church. In 1961, following a series of meetings and mission-dialogues, the churches agreed to establish a concordat of full communion, formalizing their partnership and commitment.

Curry visited the Philippine Independent Church in February 2017, noting to Episcopal News Service that it was a blessing for him to be there. “God came among us as the person of Jesus to start a revolution,” he said at the time. “The IFI is a church crusading for justice.”

Webinar presenters will be the Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i and bishop-in-charge of the Episcopal Church in Micronesia, and the Very Rev. Dr. Eleuterio J. Revollido, dean of the Aglipay Central Theological Seminary in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, Philippines. Bishop John Harvey Taylor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles will also deliver a message.

The Rev. Winfred B. Vergara, missioner for Asiamerica Ministries in The Episcopal Church, will moderate. The Rev. Gerry Engnan, priest of the IFI Diocese of Western USA and Western Canada (WUSACA) and the Pacific Islands, now serving at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Van Nuys, will be co-facilitator with the Rev. Roberto Pamatmat, IFI Diocese of Tampa.

In addition to Rose, others taking part include:

  • The Rev. Canon Lito Mombay, IFI Diocese of WUSACA and the Pacific Islands
  • The Very Rev. Dr. Eleuterio J. Revollido, dean, Aglipay Central Theological Seminary, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, Philippines
  • Saint Andrew’s Theological Seminary Choir from Quezon City, Philippines
  • The Most Rev. Brent Harry W. Alawas, prime bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
  • The Rt. Rev. Joselito Perpetuo T. Cruz, chair, Supreme Council of Bishops, and bishop of the IFI Diocese of Bataan and Bulacan
  • The Rev. Roberto Pamatmat, IFI Diocese of Tampa
  • The Rev. Primitivo C. Racimo of IFI Diocese of Tampa
  • The Rev. Canon Raynald S. Bonoan, Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida
  • The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa and former deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations for The Episcopal Church.

To join the webinar, log into the Zoom meeting with ID 819 018 0369 and passcode 1950, or click here.