Three bishops re-elected in the Philippines
Bishops Pedro M. Torio Jr., Ciriaco Q. Francisco and Rodolfo A. Juan will continue as episcopal leaders of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines. All were re-elected when delegates to the Philippines Central Conference convened Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in Angeles City.
Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr.
Torio was re-elected Dec. 1 on the sixth ballot, while Francisco was re-elected Dec. 2 on the 12th ballot. Both were first elected in 2012. Juan was re-elected on Dec. 3 on the 16th ballot. He was first elected in 2008. Unlike in the United States where United Methodist bishops are elected for life, bishops in the Philippines must be re-elected every four years to continue in the episcopacy.
"It is an extremely humbling experience for me to have been elected," said Torio who will continue as bishop of the Baguio Area. "I can never really thank God and praise God enough for this gift, but at the same time the episcopacy is not only a gift to me, but makes me a gift to the church. That's a tall order, and I want to be a worthy gift to the church."
Torio's passion for evangelism and church planting led to the creating of 28 new local churches in the Baguio Area over the past four years. He currently leads the University Senate in developing the first accreditation standards for United Methodist theological education institutions and is a director of the General Board of Global Ministries.
Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco
Francisco, who has been in the ministry for 40 years, expressed gratitude to the delegates for putting trust in his leadership for a second time. He will serve the Manilla Area.
"I promise to do my best as your bishop, to guard the faith, to keep the doctrine of our church, to try my best by the grace of God to be your servant leader," he told the conference. "I cannot do it alone. It is you who put me into this office. I expect you to join me in my journey. My success is your success; my failure is your failure."
Challenges in the Davao Area, which he has led during the 2013-16 quadrennium, included responding to two major typhoons, including Typhoon Haiyan; a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol; a bombing in the night market in Davao City and other acts of political violence, including the Kidapawan massacre in front of Spotswood Methodist Mission Center.
Francisco is a member of the Council of Bishops executive committee; vice chairperson of the Connectional Table; chairperson of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and a member of the Commission on a Way Forward.
Rodolfo A. Juan
Juan will lead the Davao Area. He said the election had been a humbling experience for him.
"God is faithful. He indeed has a wonderful plan. I know God taught me a lot that he is a God of right timing. The Lord has spoken to me. I learned patience from this election."
Juan is president of the College of Bishops of the denomination's central conferences, made up of 19 episcopal areas in seven central conferences in Africa, Europe and the Philippines and vice chair of the clergy of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Earlier in his ministry, he served for 10 years as chaplain (with a rank of major) in the Philippines Armed Forces. He also organized the Philippine Emmaus Walk.
Gladys Mangiduyos is a correspondent from the Philippines for United Methodist News Service. This story was adapted from articles first published at umns.umc.org.