September 29, 2013

Why I won’t give up yet on Camp Higher Ground

In my previous post, I made mention about having been  in the side light when my leadership term ended in our  organization in 2010 and the glaring  lull  in succeeding leadership to continue the cause we have collectively and organizationally started. But why won’t  I give up yet?

I  could still recall the scene during the  2009 Convention Baptist Ministers Association  (CBMA) National Assembly, when an elder pastor stood up in response to  my insinuation  that we hold the next  assembly in the city. This was in reference to  inconveniences experienced by delegates at the Camp Higher Ground  due to lack of facilities. At that time, I seemed to feel some kind of guilt that for some  years, pastors were deprived of better accommodation because of  our advocacy for  the Camp Higher Ground.  He boldly said something like this:  If we had endured such inconveniences for the past four years, why stop now when we almost succeed in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. 

His subsequent motion was unanimously approved by the assembly to hold upcoming gatherings  at Camp Higher Ground.  I was humbled by such sincere gesture coming from a well meaning member. (It is this kind of unadulterated spirit that always serves as  glim of hope which keeps me going.)  At that time,  the Katipan Hall we initiated in 2006 was almost complete. True enough, the next two assemblies were held on same venue. Except for   administering  both the opening and closing ceremonies, I  was not able to fully enjoy those assemblies because of my critical health condition.

However, just when my health was quite improving  and intended to attend the assembly in 2012, the venue was no longer at Camp Higher Ground. I was told,  due to a request of  a local church for their anniversary. Although, it was met with various reactions including  some nasty criticisms which can be retrieved from archives of the Association’s FB Group, such assembly served as precedence in leaving  the Camp (and seemingly the corresponding advocacy). The  succeeding assembly was held no  longer at the Camp because of another request of local  church in commemoration of centenary   and the upcoming one in January 2014 will be held in another region as requested, again.

It remains to be seen whether the assembly would ever remember our  previous commitments and advocacy related to the Camp Higher Ground. Whether  the idiomatic expressions  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but too much makes it wander would old true in our organization.

But I, for one, won’t give up yet on Camp Higher Ground. Why? It’s because of  the breakthrough we once had which served as a symbol of solidarity among pastors. The KATIPAN Hall which was established by our collective faith and action.

Katipan is an Ilonggo term for Covenant. In the CBMA context it sums up the phrase Katuman sang Tingob nga Pagsalig kag Binuhatan. In English, this means “realization of collective faith and action.” True to its meaning, KATIPAN Hall has become a symbol of solidarity among pastors. Katipan has galvanized our relationship. It even boosted the morale of pastors who have been stereotyped to be always in the receiving end. Of course, not a few had raised their eyebrows questioning our capacity to sustain the project. Even engineers who volunteered their labor could not help but smile upon learning our start up budget.

(to be continued)

September 22, 2013

My thoughts won’t give up yet on Camp Higher Ground

Yesterday while waiting for our graduate students, I had a hearty  chat with a colleague at the Department of Social Work on lots of issues and concerns related to our profession, work and dreams including our fairy tale wishes.   Sounds funny, ridiculous or absurd at our age. Yet we have some of these moments probably as part of our stress relieving mechanism.

One of the things we discussed was my dream for the Camp Higher Ground and my seemingly irreligious thoughts on where to get the resources. A week earlier I remembered also talking with a younger faculty at the Department  during our free time with similar topics and  almost the same  fantasies. Very much earlier, or should I say from time to time, I would cherish memories of our previous advocacies and gains  related to the development of Camp Higher Ground and engage in day dream  of an aborted advocacy on Pastors’ Village at the Camp.

One that is complete with  facilities and amenities for  pastors to stay, especially the retired ones so that they will have more time for fellowship while sharing their stories of faith and struggles. In the process, these  are documented for the benefit of younger generations and perhaps as reference for our  theological institutions and legacy of faith. The village can also provide opportunities for them to maintain their productivity and  a venue for interaction with younger ministers and seminarians.  And probably, for them to enjoy the abundant life which had been deprived to some, while waiting for the kingdom come or the eternal bliss whichever happens  first.

Every time I hear or read news about philanthropists who donated huge amount for charity and church-related endeavor, more often for priests, I cannot help but wish that one of these days, there will  be similar blessings for pastors welfare. So that  I would put an end to my irreligious thought of possible resources.

In fact, few months ago, I could not help myself but awed by the gesture of a business tycoon, Ramon Ang,  for  donating  P120 million of his personal funds to the local Jesuit community for  a  multi-story “Jesuit Health and Wellness Center for aging priests who have dedicated their lives to serving Filipinos. Again, I asked myself, when will the time come that such kind of gesture will be directed to our pastors?

Early this morning while doing my regular walking exercise and reflections, I have realized that after  more than three years of being in the side light when my leadership term ended in our  organization. Despite the lull  in succeeding leadership to continue the cause we have collectively and organizationally started, my thoughts won’t give up yet on Camp Higher Ground.

The clarion call we made almost 7 years ago keeps ringing  on my ears. The challenge to reclaim the heritage of the  Camp Higher Ground  as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal is  still valid. The multifaceted testament of  our KATIPAN Hall project is worth the recall to give us fresh hope. What more, my seemingly irreverent thought of possible funding sources has been added with incredible  wish that a philanthropist somewhere, sometime might read this blog and, in a rare instance, decide to donate his fortune to make our dreams come true. A day dream again? Maybe yes. But am I not a believer of endless possibilities?

(to be continued)

September 1, 2013

Hitting a plateau?

It seems I have reached a some kind of plateau in my journey both in blogging and in my spirituality. Indicator:  No new post on any of my  seven other blogs for the past three months, not even  on this blog which is supposed to be the journal of my faith journey.

Probably, I was just exhausted after a successful defense of my dissertation last June. So exhausted that until now I have not submitted the final copy  despite a minor revision. Although I know I can do it, if I will, in less than a week.
Courtesy of seekeronline.infonli
But I don't want to prolong this experience. Today, I decided to break the plateau by idly opening this blog, attempting to  make a new post. Surfing the web related to the subject matter,  in random, two links caught my attention. Hence,  I am sharing the Post dissertation stress disorder and  Have You Reached A Spiritual Plateau? to change the status  quo.