By Tafadzwa Mudambanuki, UMNS…
Recent weeks have seen the election and assignment of United Methodist bishops in the Philippines.
Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso Juan, who currently leads the Baguio Episcopal Area, has been re-elected by delegates at the Philippines Central Conference.
The conference re-assigned Bishop Juan to serve the Manila Episcopal Area, which encompasses 11 annual (regional) conferences, beginning this month.
His new episcopal area has faced its share of controversy in recent years with the suspension and eventual departure from the United Methodist Church of former bishop Lito C. Tangonan.
He was suspended as bishop in 2009 and, under complaint, was replaced in January 2010 by retired Bishop Daniel Arichea Jr. The complaint accused him of misconduct under Paragraph 2702 of the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book. That provision lists chargeable offenses of bishops under church law. No details were released about the complaint itself.
Mr. Tangonan left the UMC in 2011 to form his own church, called Ang Iglesias Methodista Sa Philippinas (The Independent Methodist Church of the Philippines).
“We will call for dialogue and prayer in a bid to reach out to people confused by Tangonan’s activities,” Bishop Juan said.
The Rev. Pedro M. Torio Jr. of Binalonan, Pangasinan Province, Philippines, was elected a bishop on the 19th ballot. He will serve the Baguio Episcopal Area, which encompasses eight annual conferences in this Southeast Asia multi-island nation.
The Rev. Ciriaco Q. Francisco of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, also was elected a bishop, on the 25th ballot. He will serve the Davao Episcopal Area, which encompasses five annual and provisional conferences in western and southern regions of the Philippines.
His four-year term of service begins this month.
“My dream is to make Davao Episcopal Area a model episcopal area in its financial resources and wring out from its lay and clergy ranks passion to make disciples of Jesus Christ that transform lives and transform communities,” he said.
Mr. Mudambanuki is director of Central Conference Communications for United Methodist Communications.