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)

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