CUC ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT FROM MCCMB
The Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio (MCCMB) stand in solidarity as we give praise to God for the establishment of yet another affirming Christian fellowship of the Christian United Church (CUC) in the Philippines one year ago. Under the leadership of God’s servant Rev. Pastor Regen Luna, the CUC stood firmly and boldly proclaiming one same message of God’s inclusive and universal love for all his children.
The MCCMB, together with MCCPh Makati and MCCQC takes pride in conducting the historic 1st LGBT mass wedding in the country that further opened the doorway of the Lord’s Church to many unknowing LGBT couple who are in a loving and responsible relationship. We are blessed to have with us the CUC Philippines to celebrate the Eucharist for the first time with MCC on that historic day which coincided with another historic international event in New York’s adoption of same-sex marriage.
The MCCMB is forever grateful of the CUC’s undeniable contribution in educating people about sex-positive theology and positively affirming spirituality. We believe that all faith-based community plays a vital role in transforming our society amidst the politics and differences within the LGBT community.
We commend the brave role Rev. Ptr. Regen Luna and his supportive family play in the formation and sustenance of CUC’s ministry to glorify our living God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as we pray in union with other affirming faith groups that CUC continue to inspire and work for God’s greater glory and for all that shall further make the LGBT community here and abroad blossom and grow. May God’s blessing be upon us all!
Happy first founding anniversary to CUC Philippines!
PTR. MYKE A. SOTERO
Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio
September 27, 2011
MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
My faith journey started in 1990 when I became a Born Again Christian and became an active member of a full gospel, bible based, Christ Centered, Spirit filled Church in Dasmariñas Cavite known as the Word of Life Christian Global Mission. The Holy Spirit came to me during this time and I was growing and maturing in the faith. In this church I learned to be a musician,a singer, a worship leader, a tambourine dance minister, a creative arts director, a Sunday school teacher and youth leader. So it was a very meaningful 8 years of my life. I was under the care of Spirit filled, pentecostal pastors. I was trained under the teachings of the Holy Spirit. I had a very good life, I loved the community, the fellowship, the ministries that was entrusted to me, and especially praise and worship. I was like a little David learning to be a musician and later on a dancer for God’s glory. I consider those one of my glorious days. I had experience learning the things of the Spirit. Faith healing, prosperity gospel, prophetic, apostolic doctrines and most especially our missionary trips to Bilibid Prison and the Manyan Tribes of Mindoro. I had the chance to get to know great missionary pastors like Pastor Gayarez who have made a large impact on my spiritual life and also my first spiritual father, Bishop Robert A. Neri Sr. who has been a good pastor to me until now.
WHEN SEXUALITY MEETS SPIRITUALITY
During those times while I was growing spirituality I was also growing physically and also sexually. I was having a hard time on reconciling my faith and what I really feel inside. My mind tells me that sexuality and spirituality could not meet. They cannot be mixed together. I was having a hard time accepting the truth, that I was gay and that I was a Christian. That was my problem. I tried fasting for a week just to drive out the “demon” in me. I also tried dating so that I could “change” my “abnormal” feelings. I tried exorcism to cast out the “devil” inside me. But to no avail. It didn’t change me. The harder I try it was very persistent. The longer I tried to hide the more the Holy Spirit convicted me that I was living a big big lie. So I needed to look for another spiritual path that would resolve my problem and in 2000 I met a former member of MCC Manila. To make the long story short I became an active member of MCC Manila and became an Assistant Pastor in training during the time of Rev. Edgar Mendoza. After the term of Rev. Mendoza he was succeeded by Interim Pastoral Leaders, Rev. Cj Agbayani, IPL Lino Tan Lee, IPL Bjorn San Diego and IPL Jojo Encelan.
ASSISTANT PASTOR IN TRAINING TURNED INTERIM PASTORAL LEADER.
In 2005, MCC Philippines was looking for a new Interim Pastoral Leader and I applied for the position and was installed as IPL on August 21, 2005. I am so happy that I had the chance to be an IPL of this church. It has taught me a lot for example GLBT Theology, ecumenism, sexuality and spirituality, HIV & AIDS awareness, sexually transmitted diseases, human rights advocacy, social concerns, pastoral counseling, church politics, church governance and marriage equality. I had the chance to get to know so many important figures especially those who are into the LGBT community who are fighting for our rights. I had the chance of conducting “Homosexuality is not a Sin not a Sickness Seminars in Bulacan, Quezon, De La Salle University -Manila, Asian Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary. I was interviewed on ABS-CBN Chanel 2 on “Pipol”, GMA 7’s “Jesicca Soho Reports” on QTV The 700 Club Asia and I was also featured on the New York Times and Korean International News. I also had the chance of conducting Holy Unions around the country. This was a very fulfilling and life-changing experience for me. In 2008 after serving MCC Philippines for three years I decided to rest so I resigned as IPL and focus on my professional life.
PASTOR CALLED TO BE AN ELDER OF THE CHRISTIAN UNITED CHURCH AND PRIEST OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ONE SPIRIT.
At the end of 2008 several events happened to me that almost destroyed my entire life, a failed relationship, a failed ministry, people whom I loved destroyed me, and I was contemplating on committing suicide. People whom I loved, respected and cared for judged me, ridiculed me and criticized me negatively. But I kept my peace. I kept silent. I just prayed to God, that He/She will make a way for me and God did!!!
A pastor of my previous church told me that according to our elder he is not recognizing me as a pastor of any of their church. This pastor told me that I don’t have the authority to solemnize Holy Unions, even the sacraments because I don’t have a church. This pastor told me that my former elder is angry at me because according to them I destroyed their church. But they didn’t know the whole story, only God knows and my family. But I prayed I told God, that He/She should make a way for me.
After this event I was determined to change my life and forget about my religious or should I say spiritual life so I applied to be a call center agent and for 6 months I did the job. I had the money and the friends but deep inside I was very unhappy. I feel that I am not doing what am I suppose to do. The very reason why God created me. And so, I prayed to God that please make a way for me. And God did! In September of 2010 Holy Unions started to pour on me and also I became a member of the Christian United Church. In October 2010, I was appointed as Local Pastor of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Church of God in union with the Christian United Church by H.E. Rev. Bishop David C. Strong, the Presiding Bishop of the Christian United Church denomination. After 7 months our small church had a chapel and we conducted at least 25 holy unions and we have at least 20 active members and still growing most of them are straight by the way.
God did make a way for me where there seems to be no way, says the song written by Don Moen. Yes God did it because his word tells us “For the gifts and calling of God is irrevocable” (Romans 11:29 ESV). We may resign as pastor or interim pastoral leader or any church position, but God’s calling is IRREVOCABLE. When God calls you, he calls you no matter what, God will not change his mind about it, even people will change their minds about you, but God will not, even churches and denominations will change their minds about you, but God will not. Because God know you, and God knows me very well even better than I know myself. Yes, God made a way for me. When people close their doors on me God opened a window for me.
On June 12, I will embark on another spiritual journey another challenge, a new calling. from being a musician, becoming a pastor, now an Elder of the Christian United Church and a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit. Two denominations or Christian Communities all in one accord in proclaiming that God is calling me again. I may not be perfect. But God called me. I may not be the best. But God called me. I may not be as good as the others. But God called me. Because God believes in me, and I believe in God. To God be the Glory and Praise!!!
- JESUS CHRIST founded the Church in 33 AD. (Matthew 16:18).
- The Apostles named it the Church of God and preached it from 33 AD to 100 AD. (Acts 20:28, I Corinthians 1:2, 10:32, 11:16, 11:22, 15:9, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:13, I Thessalonians 2:14, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, I Timothy 3:5, I Timothy 3:15).
- The Early Apostolic Fathers and the Early Church Fathers wrote about the Church of God 200 to 300 AD. see the 51 Quotations from the Apostolic Fathers about the Church of God.
- The Church of God became the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in 315 AD when Emperor Constantine declared that Christianity will be the official religion of the Roman Empire. 315 – present.
- In 1054 AD. The Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church separated.
- In the 1800’s the Old Catholic Church disaffiliates itself from the Roman Catholic Church because of the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility.
- In the 1900’s the Old Catholic Church reaches America and the American Catholic Church was founded.
- In 1996 H.E. Bishop David C. Strong was ordained as a Bishop of the American Catholic Church. In 2009 he became the Bishop of the Christian United Church.
- In 2010, Pastor Regen Luna joins the Christian United Church and started the work of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Church of God in union with CUC.
- Roman Catholic Apostolic Church
- Eastern Orthodox Churches
- Eastern Rite Catholic Churches
- Oriental Orthodox Churches
- Old Catholic Churches
- Moravian Churches
- Independent Catholic Churches
- Assyrian Church of the East
- Anglican Churches
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
- United Methodist Churches
- Philippine Independent Church
- Charismatic Episcopal Churches
- American Catholic Church
- Christian United Church
- Church of God in union with CUC
THE VALIDITY OF OLD CATHOLIC CHURCHES
This is from the American Catholic Church website: http://www.accus.us on the validity of Old Catholic Churches.
The statements presented here are from official authorities, theologians and publications of the Roman Catholic Church in the affirmation of the validity of Old Catholic Holy Orders and Sacraments.
Rev. Konrad Algemissen, Christian Denominations.
“The Old Catholic Church has received valid Episcopal consecration.”
Donald Altwater, A Catholic Dictionary.
“Their (Old Catholic) Orders and Sacraments are valid.”
” . . . Whenever there is no appearance of simulation on the part of the minister, the validity of the sacrament is sufficiently certain . . . ”
Addison Arnold. Roman Catholic Dictionary.
“The [Old Catholics] have received valid orders.”
Catholic Almanac, (1993), p. 319.
“Old Catholics have valid Sacraments and a valid Priesthood. The Old Roman Catholic Church disavows connection with Old Catholics. The Old Roman Catholic Church accepts the first seven Ecumenical Councils only and rejects Papal Infallibility. They accept only those doctrines formulated before 1054.”
Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., Rights and Responsibilities, A Catholics’ Guide to the New Code of Canon Law, p. 44.
“When a Catholic sacred minister is unavailable and there is urgent spiritual necessity, Catholics may receive the Eucharist, penance, or anointing from sacred ministers of non-Catholic denominations whose holy orders are considered valid by the Catholic Church. This includes all Eastern Orthodox priests, as well as priests of the Old Catholic or Polish National Church.”
Dr. Ludwig Ott,(1952), Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. p. 456.
“Every validly consecrated bishop, including heretical, schismatic, simonistic, or excommunicated bishops, can validly dispense the Sacrament of Order, provided that he has the requisite intention, and follows the essential external rite (set. Certa). Cf. D 855, 860; CIC 2372.”
Dominic Prummer, O.P., Handbook of Moral Theology, “The Minister of Valid Ordination”, p. 383.
The Ordinary Minister is every consecrated bishop and no one else. (Council of Trent. Sess 23, c. 7.) Therefore even a schismatic bishop or one who has been degraded or one who has been declared irregular etc, may ordain validly provided that his own consecration was valid and that he uses the essential matter and form.”
Feliecian A Roy, OFM, (1974) Catholic Almanac, “The Sunday Visitor”, p. 368.
“The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and other Sacraments.”
St. Columban Fathers of St Columbans, NE, (1928, June), The Far East Magazine.
“These (Old Catholics) Orders are valid”
William Whalen, Separated Brethren, pp. 204, 248.
“We have no reason to doubt that the Old Catholic Orders are valid. The Apostolic Succession does not depend on obedience to the See of Peter, but rather on the objective line of succession from Apostolic sources, the proper matter and form, and the proper intention . . . likewise Old Catholic bishops are bishops in Apostolic Succession . . . The Old Catholics, like the Orthodox, possess a valid Priesthood.”
Father Stanislaw Woywood, OFM , Cardinal Billot, de Sacraments, 6th ed., vol. 1, p. 201, Practical Commentary of the Code of Canon Law.
“If a person has seriously and correctly used the due matter and form, he is that very reason presumed to have intended to do what the Church does.” (Apostolicae Curae) . . .” “Whenever there is no appearance of simulation on the part of the minister, the validity of the sacraments is sufficiently certain . . .”
Father Stanislaw Woywood, OFM LLB , A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, (revised and enlarged edition), Vol 1, sec 881, p. 558.
“A validly consecrated bishop can validly confer all orders from the minor orders to the episcopate inclusively…for this reason the ordinations performed by the Bishops of the Old Catholics and Old Roman Catholics are considered valid.
[These sources were printed with the imprimatur of various Roman Catholic Bishops.]
IS THE OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE UNITED STATES REALLY CATHOLIC?
If the Roman Catholic Church is your source of truth in these matters, see what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in its official documents. The “Dominus Iesus,” was issued during the reign of Pope John Paul II, June 16, 2000, and signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 6, 2000. Refer to Section IV: Article 17:
“Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in the communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches…”
WHY DID WE USE THE NAME “CHURCH OF GOD”?
There are numerous churches today with the name CHURCH OF GOD, from Pentecostal, Adventists, Holiness, and non Trinitarian denominations of Christianity. All of them claim that they are the true church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ because they used or declare the biblical and historical name of the local churches of the New Testament: the Church of God. So the question is why did we use this name?
BECAUSE THE NAME “CHURCH OF GOD” IS BIBLICAL
Let us look in the Holy Bible for guidance and evidence that this name is a biblical name for the local churches in the New Testament.
Act 20:28 (GNB) So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son.
1 Corinthians 1:2 (GNB) To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God’s holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
1 Corinthians 10:32 (GNB) Live in such a way as to cause no trouble either to Jews or Gentiles or to the church of God.
1Corinthians 11:22 (GNB) Don’t you have your own homes in which to eat and drink? Or would you rather despise the church of God and put to shame the people who are in need? What do you expect me to say to you about this? Shall I praise you? Of course I don’t!
2 Corinthians 1:1 (GNB) From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and from our brother Timothy — To the church of God in Corinth, and to all God’s people throughout Achaia:
Galatians 1:13 (GNB) You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it.
1 Timothy 3:5 (GNB) For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God?
1 Corinthians 15:9 (KJV) For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Corinthians 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
1 Timothy 3:15 (KJV) But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they
have of the Jews:
2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
12 verses in the Bible declares and proclaims that one of the names of the local churches in the New Testament is the Church of God.
OTHER NAMES FOR THE LOCAL CHURCHES IN THE BIBLE
Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
Romans 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
There are other names of local churches in the Bible aside from the name Church of God.
BECAUSE THE NAME CHURCH OF GOD IS HISTORICAL
After the death of the Apostles. The Apostolic Fathers Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius and Hermas wrote about the Church of God.
I Clement 1:1 “The Church of God which is at Rome, to the Church of God which is at Corinth…”
Ignatius to the Trallians 1:7 “…For they are not the ministers of meat and drink, but of the church of God…”
Ignatius to the Trallians 3:1 “I Salute you from Smyrna together with the churches of God that are present with me…”
Ignatius to the Philadelphians 1:1 “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the church of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ which is at Philadelphia in Asia…”
Ignatius to the Smyrneans 1:1 “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ…”
Polycarp to the Philippians 1:1 “Polycarp, and the presbyters that are with him, to the church of God which is at Philippi…”
I Hermas Vision 2:32 “Thou art mistaken, said he, she is not. I replied, Who is she then sir? He answered me, It is the church of God…”
III Hermas 9:175 “So the church of God, when it shall be purified…shall become one body, and there shall be one understanding, one opinion, one faith, and the same charity…”
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
There are so many churches today who uses the name CHURCH OF GOD, and sadly most of them are anti-catholic and anti-gay. I believe that one of the biblical names of the local church is the Church of God it is biblical and also historical as preached by the Apostles of Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Fathers. It is time to restore the church of God to its original state. It is time to restore the church of God back to the primitive church or the New Testament times. While other churches of God are anti-catholic and anti-gay, Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Church of God in union with the Christian United Church will always defend unity, ecumenism, inter-faith relations, justice for all, liberation and freedom from oppression, creedal or catholic expression, and inclusivity. Here everyone is welcome, men, women, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenders. This is our church, this is our denomination, this is the Church of God – CUC.
King David once wrote in Psalms 23 “The Lord is my shepherd”. Our Lord Jesus Christ declared in John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd”. This is the name of our Chapel. It speaks about the goodness of our Lord. His unconditional love and His passion to take care of us just like a Shepherd who takes care of his flock. God will take care of YOU. Jesus will take care of YOU. The Holy Spirit will take care of YOU.
Welcome to our Chapel. Welcome to our church, the Church of God – CUC. Welcome to our denomination, the Christian United Church. Whoever you are, whatever you do, if you are looking for a church-home that will really take care of you then we invite you to come and join us. We are an inclusive, welcoming and affirming community. We propagate the message of Christ without discrimination on your race, religion, social status in life, education and gender.
We welcome everyone straights, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders to be one with us in worship, in the holy communion, in prayer, in Bible studies, in service to God and to his people. Welcome to the Chapel of JESUS CHRIST the Good Shepherd Church of God – CUC.
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES
- Worship Service with Holy Communion – Sundays @ 5:00 pm
- Bible Study and Fellowship – Fridays @ 7:00 pm
- Praise & Prayer Meeting – Wednesdays @ 7:00 pm
- HIV/AIDS Prevention Seminars – by schedule
- Homosexuality & Spirituality Seminar – by schedule
- Annual Retreat – by schedule
- The Christian United Church
- The Good Shepherd Seminary
- Christian United Church Social Network
- Christian United Church Missionary Conference for Europe
- Christian United Church Missionary Conference for South East Asia
- JESUS CHRIST the Good Shepherd, Church of God-CUC Photo Website
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