April 4, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,
"Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord." (Psalm 130:1b)
We have a longstanding mission relationship with our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.
On April 1, a United Methodist Church compound started giving sanctuary to farmers and indigenous people after a protest for food relief was violently disrupted. Three protesters were killed and more than 100 injured when police forces fired on the crowd on a major highway in front of a government office. Protesters retreated into the Spottswood United Methodist Church compound for refuge. The compound, which also houses Bishop Ciricaco Francisco’s office (Davao Episcopal Area), is now surrounded by police.
I have received a joint pastoral letter about the situation from my colleagues, Bishops Francisco, Rodolfo A. Juan (Manila Episcopal Area), and Pedro M. Torio, Jr. (Baguio Episcopal Area). It reads in part, "By offering our sanctuary, we are not just hospitable to our farmers and hungry ones, but we are making them as one amongst us…We must not let the enemies of life divide us, but let the peace that is built on compassion and understanding lead us to where our hearts should be-Justice, Peace, and Truth.
To read the pastoral letter in its entirety, click here
To read a news article about the situation from our United Methodist News Service (UMNS), click here
Let us continue to keep our brothers and sisters in the Philippines in our prayers as they stand up for justice and God's abundant life for all.
Grace and Peace,
Warner H. Brown, Jr.