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!!!
The COG-CUC Chapel renovation started last October 25 and still undergoing renovation until the second week of November. Ptr. Regen and his family decided to tare down and sacrifice his room to make a big space for the Chapel so that we could accommodate more people. Like Noah and his family, they built the ark together. And also Joshua said that “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. My father, mother, brother and the new members most of them are young people helped in the renovation. Everyone was happy and was making a lot of design suggestions on the chapel including the altar. I will upload the final design of the altar when the renovation is finished. Thank you God for your continued blessing in this work. And also we would like to thank all of the couples who choose our church for their Holy Unions. Their offerings was a big help in the renovation. More photos will be posted on the next website update.