The upcoming Truth Forum on April 15 has renewed my ambivalence. On one hand, I feel excited of another opportunity to restore the spirit of solidarity among pastors, especially in fighting against perennial ills in our denomination. On the other hand, I am a little bit hesitant that the influence, I once had, will no longer work this time having been out of the mainstream in our organization’s life for a couple of years or so. Undeniably, the division has been obvious and hurts too deep which have marred the developing solidarity among pastors.
Primarily, the forum is intended to know the truth behind the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) Fact Finding Committee Report related to the boat buying and other fraudulent practices in the CPBC elections and reveal more truth to be incorporated in the report. It will also serve as avenue to discuss other issues and concerns related to Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) and CBMA and unite on common agenda and plan of action. Finally, there will be a presentation of the mechanics of the PADAYON Welfare Fund for Pastors Project as springboard of unity for change and development.
Despite the ambivalence, I believe that “miracles” happen when the Baptist Pastors move based on past experiences. Their flashbacks started to rush through my mind. Foremost, was the 2006 election. While it has been labeled as the controversial , expensive and partisan elections, it became a witness to the power when the Baptist pastors move. I will never forget the scenario the night before the election when I was guided by the Spirit to stroll around the campus in order to have a feel of the political pulse. Earlier, I had witnessed the movements of both groups trying to outwit one another to ensure victory of respective candidates.
Along the way, I met pastors from one political grouping in pensive mood and apologetic that they could not openly campaign for me because of the directives for block voting from patrons who sponsored their fare, as well as that of their church members. However, aware of my battle cry for the Pastors Cause, they assured me of covert support.
Some meters away, I met another group coming from a caucus of rival political grouping with similar sad news due to the same directives for block voting. Likewise, they assured me of their secret support so as not to antagonize their patron. Of course, those alarming revelations prompted me to speed up my campaign strategy since that night until the election day. The rest is history. I was one of the 3 independent candidates who survived the highly politicized, charged and explosive election. I had the rare privilege of joining two other candidates whose names were sort of institution in the CPBC. That was the wonder when the Baptist Pastors move.
Of course, I had discussed in my other blog the movement for change resulting to significant events that brought changes in the political landscape of the CPBC and related institutions/organizations. I even featured the emergence of the movement of young ministers in Negros who dared to challenge the status quo perpetuated by influential ruling group in my article The Wonder of YOU.
And how can I forget the show of solidarity of pastors during the selection process for the General Secretary of the CPBC in 2009. It was the culminating event of our solidarity, some sort of a clincher to our organizational struggle which gave us valuable lessons on how concerted efforts made a difference. The spontaneous support of pastors succeeded to frustrate the well planned scheme of a group that had been dominating/ programming/ dictating the course of events in the CPBC particularly the election and selection process in the leadership and administrative position. It averted an obvious attempt to railroad the process.
From my memoirs, I want to quote the following excerpts: “The launching of the movement for change, accountability and transparency at CPU the day before the CPBC Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting and the subsequent mobilization during the Board meeting on October 16, 2009 to watch and pray have contributed to the conglomeration of events that led to the BOT to defer the selection process despite attempts by the other group to proceed with the process knowing they have the numbers.”
“…The unprecedented endorsements and support of various chapters and sub chapters of the CBMA as well as the CBYFP, Kasapulanans, auxiliary organizations and institutions various organizations and institutions to my nomination were overwhelming. The strong support of Negros pastors neutralized the political maneuvers, smear campaign, misinformation, and other machinations directed against me. The timely mobilization of Iloilo pastors to hold a watch and pray movement during the meeting has sealed the show of protest and concretely manifested the growing unrest and tiredness of too much politics and the need for change. “Most of those involved have become part of the REVIVAL 1020 Network which serves as convenor of the upcoming forum.
All these and more happened when Pastors move. Both a reminder and an inspiration to us to restore the solidarity we once had. With these in mind, I have high hopes that the coming truth forum will make a difference in the lives of CBMA and the CPBC. Yes, against all odds. We are determined to put closure to the issue and enhance reconciliation and healing without sacrificing the whole truth. This can only be attained when the Baptist Pastors move.