The official youth program of The Methodist Protestant Church, Christian Endeavor, was founded in 1881 at Portland, Maine, serving as a non-denominational youth program for many denominations. At the time of unification of the three (3) Methodist Churches, the General Conference of the Methodist Church gave the General Board of Education the responsibility for bringing together the youth work of the Church into a unified program for all the youth of the Methodist Church. To accomplish this, the Board of Education set-up a youth commission to conduct a careful study and make recommendations for the unified program.
A Historical Outline: Epworth League, 1889, to UMYFP, 2020
The Epworth League, USA
The Epworth League, a forerunner of the MYF and a merger of five pioneering youth organizations, was founded on May 15, 1889 at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio, however it has been working as early as 1887 in the American Continent.
This group of young people’s societies in The Methodist Church, South was organized into a cooperative union. Believing in the importance of youth work, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1890, responded to a memorial (resolution) that had been sent by the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, South of Los Angeles, California. This action of General Conference authorized the formation of the Epworth League of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The organization grew dramatically, establishing 16,300 chapters after 8 years, and has organized mission fields in Hawaii, Alaska, Cuba, Latin America, India, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The Epworth League in the Philippines
During the Mock Battle, a staged fight between the Spanish and American forces, George Admiral Dewey, leader of the American forces, was accompanied by Chaplain George Stull of the Montana Forces along with other chaplains representing different denominations.
Below is a list of significant events that occurred in the Philippines since the founding of The Epworth League, USA which then led to the founding of The Epworth League in the Philippines:
1898 – Treaty of Paris/Treaty of Inhumanity (December 10)
1899 – Private Williams Grayson fired murderously at a Filipino sentry at Santa Mesa, the beginning of Filipino-American War (February 4)
1899 – Remarks from a Methodist United States President to a Methodist clergymen delegation at the White House (November 21) explained how he came to colonize and invade the Philippines. Pres. William McKinley, said:
“I went down on my knees and prayed the Almighty God for light and guidance more that one night… to do take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift, civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace to do the very best we could by them…”
1899 – Massacre of Filipino prisoners in Caloocan under Col. Williams Stotsenberg of the Montana Volunteers of the United States Army (April)
On February 28, 1899, Bishop James L. Thoburn organized and called to order the 1st Philippine Islands-Malaya Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) at Treatro Filipino in Calle Echague. And on March 2, the first Filipino ordained pastor, Nicolas Zamora (Grandnephew of martyred priest in 1872, Jacinto Zamora), translated many preaching and pitched in for sermons in Circuits of Manila, Pandacan and Tondo.
The Epworth League in the Philippines was organized in Manila on January 13, 1901 through the guidance of Dr. Annie Norton.
A year after, 18 chapters were organized. Knox Memorial UMC and St. Paul UMC were organized in 1903.
By 1912, the Methodist Church expanded in Northern Luzon, establishing a total of 35 chapters in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.
The First District Epworth League Conference was held on 1918 in Manila. The EL of Manila was the first district that was organized.
By 1921, the First Christmas Epworth League Institute (C.E.L.I) was held in Sibul Springs, San Miguel, Bulacan and was organized by Rev. Joshua F. Cottingham with sixty-two (62) participants from Manila District (Manila, Zambales, and Bataan). The first inner district EL institute, also known as Sibul Spring League, was held in Sibul, Bulacan in 1922.
By 1924, Pangasinan District organized its own C.E.L.I.
By October 27-29, 1935, the First Epworth League National Conference was held in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Mr. Servando was elected President of the League.
The United Methodist Youth Fellowship, USA
In 1939 at Kansas City, Missouri, three churches joined to form the Uniting Conference:
Through the merging of the three churches into united, three young people’s groups were established namely:
Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MEC, S) – Epworth League (IBQD) formerly Young People’s Society (1189) founded in St. Louis Missouri.
Methodist Protestant Church (MPC) – Christian Endeavor (1881) founded in Portland, Maine
Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) – Epworth League
The General Conference of the Methodist Church authorized the General Board of Education the responsibility for bringing together the church‘s youth work into a unified program for all Methodist youth. This led to the creation of a Youth Commission that will conduct a careful study and formulate recommendations for this unified program. Through painstaking works and consultation with the staff and youth groups and leaders throughout the nation, the Methodist Youth Fellowship came into being. Adoption of the “motto,” “color,” and “benediction” was approved.
The fellowship was formally inaugurated at Watch Night Service on December 31, 1941.
The United Methodist Youth in the Philippines
On 1939, there was a reunion of churches: Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC), Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS), and Methodist Protestant Church (MPC) merged to form The Methodist Church (MC). By December 4-6, 1941 the 2nd and last National Conference of Epworth League held in Lingayen, Pangasinan to set-up Methodist Youth Fellowship was presented and adopted.
On December l941, World War II broke out which meant giving up temporarily the idea of adopting the new pattern of organization, thus the old set-up continued. In spite of the wars, the young people carried on their program and activities.
The Japanese adventurist invasion of the Philippines (1942-1945) has hindered the ministry but nonetheless, the faith continued to grow rapidly.
After the war, under the leadership of Ms. Gertrude Feely, a transferred missionary from Japan to Philippines, a committee was formed to discuss plans for the new organization. It was during this time that the constitution was drafted.
On November 26-28, 1945, Bishop Dionisio D. Alejandro called the first post war Youth Leader Training Institute in Paniqui, Tarlac. Delegates from five districts attended. Among them were Augusto Cesar Espiritu who was formerly the president of Philippines of Chambers of Industries, Ancieto Villaon, Elisa Ocera, Rufo Pascua, Horacio Mendoza, Susana Santos-Reyes, La Verne Mercado and others. The body approved and ratified the proposed constitution, which provided the local, district and conference organizations.
This was followed by the formation of the local, district and conference organizations of the MYF; the PAC – MYF was organized in 1946 in Taal, Bocaue, Bulacan and the NPAC – MYF in 1948 in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. On May 31-June 5, 1957, the first MYF Annual Conference was held in Mindanao. Following the division of the old PAC into two Annual Conferences, the PAC – MYF was organized on February 25, 1961 at Knox United Methodist Church. On March 4, 1961 at San Fernando, Pampanga, MPAC-MYF came into being.
Another division occurred on 1946 with the establishment of the Philippine Methodist Church (PMC) in San Nicholas, Pangasinan led by Rev. Cipriano Navarro and Rev. Samuel Stagg. The PMC is one of the founding member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
The National Methodist Youth Fellowship
On January 2-5, 1951, the first National Conference of the MYF was held at Guimba, Nueva Ecija under the leadership of Rev. F.V Cabotaje who was the Area executive secretary of General Conference Board of Education. Three hundred delegates attended the conference. La Verne Mercado was elected first National MYF president. He became one of the Bishops of the Church, and an active critic of the Marcos administration.
The Second National Conference took place in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya on June 18-22, 1952. Dr. Ricardo Fernando took over the presidency.
Bangcal, Guagua, Pampanga was the seat of the Third Conference held on May 18-23, 1954 with Emma Vigilia as the new president. June 1, 1954 marked the launching of the MYF five-program area set-up in the Philippines.
Narvacan United Methodist Church in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, hosted the 4th National MYF Conference in May 1956. The elected officers were Trinidad Opiniano, president, Wilma Jose, vice president, and Danny Fernandez, secretary.
The 5th National MYF Conference in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur in May 22-27, 1958 elected Manuel E. Gonzales, Jr. as president.
Manuel E. Gonzales, Jr. was re-elected during the 6th National MYF Conference in Tangos, Navotas, Rizal (now Metro Manila) in May 18-22, 1960.
The 7th Biennial Session of the National MYF was held in Candon, Ilocos Sur, on May 17-21, 1962. This session saw the election of Rafael Santos, Jr. as the organization’s president.
The 8th Biennial Session of the National MYF was held in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on June 29-July 3, 1966. Jaime Vergara, Jr. was elected president in absentia while Eliseo Garcia was elected as vice president.
The United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines
The 1968 union of The Methodist Church (MC) and The Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) into United Methodist Church (UMC) led to the “birth” of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship. In addition, La Verne Mercado pioneered establishing the Ecumenical Youth Movement in the 1960’s.
The 10th National MYC Biennial Session was held in Orani, Bataan. Gloria Ramos, was elected as president.
On April 1968, the General Conference referred a set-up of Philippine UMYF to the Philippine Central Conference (PCC).
November 29, 1968, the PCC approved the National UMYF proposals. A new set-up was born for the Philippines UMYF.
In 1970, the 11th National UMYF Conference was held in Manila with Dan Gatcheco being elected as the president.
During the Martial Law years, some United Methodists were subjected to state-led violence. Then Bishop La Verne Mercado was arrested. Romeo Crismo was abducted and remains missing to date. The National United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines (NUMYFP) made a position paper condemning the arrest and abduction, as well as the declaration of Martial Law in 1974. There are claims, however that Bishops (Granadosin and Valencia) of the United Methodist Church visited Malacanang in support (?) of Martial Rule. Many UMYF members in the University campuses in Metro Manila re-involved in a progressive youth organization called “Kabataan Makabayan” that was then an ecumenical expression during their time. The campus ministry named Student Christian Movement was also organized. The clandestine Christians for National Liberation was founded.
The 12th National Biennial Convention of the UMYF was held in April 1972 at the Methodist Rural Center in Kidapawan, Cotabato where Rogelio Bueno was elected as president, Sammy Briones as vice president, Edmund Roxas as secretary, and Ellerly Navarete as treasurer.
On March 30-April 3, 1974 the 13th UMYFP Biennial Convention was held on Aparri United Methodist Church. Rogelio Bueno was re-elected as president. Henry Soriano, Sally Alabado, and Ruben Santos were elected as vice president, secretary, and treasurer respectively.
The 14th UMYFP Biennial Convention convened on March 1976 and it was when the new Constitution formally adopted its provision. Rogelio Bueno was elected for the third time as president. The other elected officers were David Santos (vice president), Myrna Leonor Torio (secretary), and Romeo Crismo (treasurer).
On October 7, 1976, Bishop Paul Locke Granadosin granted the NUMYFP permission to initiate an experimental form of structure within the UMYF. On February 5-7, 1977, during the second council meeting held in San Juan, La Union, The National Council finalized the new UMYFP organizational set-up and election code referred to it by the convention.
The 15th National Biennial Convention was held on April 1978 and elected Sammy Lorico, Delfin Andres, Liberato Bautista and Brenda Jurado as officers for the next biennium.
On April 18-20, 1980, the 16th Biennial Convention was held in Taytay, Rizal where Liberato Bautista as president, Gideonmi Epistola as vice president, Lidy Nacpil as secretary, and Forencia Santos as treasurer were elected.
The Pananaw was established in 1980. Another newsletter, Tanglaw was established in 1981.
In the North, the Baguio Youth Formation (BYF) was formed (1981-1898). During the times of political upheavals, the UMYFers adhered to the balance of the personal faith and social holiness. Thus, the 13 Hakbang sa Pananampalataya was implemented. To cap, UMYFers were involved at EDSA People Power Uprising as evidenced by the organizations’ statement supporting EDSA in 1986. Also, the National UMYF Philippines made a position to a Nuclear-Free Philippines in 1986. The UMYF Constitution of 1982 was adapted and was later revised in 1988.
The 17th Biennial Convention held on April 12-18, 1982 was convened at Gulod sa Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas. Elected officers were Adora Angels, president; Gideonmi Epistola, vice president; Michael Santos, secretary; and Henry Caluya, finance officer.
During the 17th Biennial Convention when the constitution and By-Laws was amended by the 1982 Constitutional Drafting Committee composed of Gideonmi Epistola, (UMYFP National Officer), Adora Angeles (PAC), Henry Caluya (NPAC), Michael Santos (MPAC), Myrna Kim Bautista (PAC), Jay Supetran (SWPAC), Benjamin Bibay (MAC), Liberato Bautista (Ex-Officio).
Within the biennium, Michael Santos and Gideonmi Epistola resigned from their positions. Elizabeth Rifareal and Arturo Umlas succeeded them.
The 18th session of the UMYFP Biennial Convention was held at Union Theological Seminary, Cavite on April 2-7, 1984. The newly elected leaders for the biennium were Elizabeth Rifareal, Solomon Benigno, Jr., Darryl Rodriguez and Nancy Caluya.
Again, in the course of the biennium, Elizabeth Rifareal and Darryl Rodriguez resigned from their positions. Nancy Caluya took the presidential position while Solomon Benigno, Jr. assumed the position of the vice president, Noel Estrabo, executive secretary, and Erwin Esteban, finance officer.
The 19th Biennial Convention was held in Wesley UMC, Olongapo City on April 17-30, 1986. Officers elected for the next biennium were Daniel Ela, president; Jumn Benigno, vice president; Leo Felix Jurado, executive secretary and Pepito Samson, Jr., finance officer.
The 20th Biennial Convention was held in Bolinao, Pangasinan on on April 23, 1988. A newly revised constitution was adopted. Elected officers were Dr. Pedro M. Torio, Jr., president; Leo Felix Jurado, vice president; Lani Potes, executive secretary; Arleen Ibay, finance officer; Alan Ted Villanueva, ECSA department head; Gideon Q. Gallo, Organization department head; Joy Tolentino, Education department head and Esther Elizabeth Tacadena, Finance department head.
Resignation occurred at the middle of their term and during the interim, the NUMYFP council elected Norberto Ramos, Jr., as acting president until end of the term in 1990.
The 21st Biennial Convention was held on April 1990 in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya. Elected officers were Dominador Peralta, Jr., president; Norberto S. Ramos, vice president; Lani Potes, executive secretary; Arleen Ibay, finance officer; Rixon Garong, Organization department head and Egmedio Equila, Jr., ECSA department head.
The UMYF became a founding member of Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP) in 1990. The birth and conceptualization of Asian, Methodist Heritage network in 1991 is borne out of the leadership of National UMYF-Philippines and National MYF-Korea. In relation to this, there was an Asian Methodist Youth Seminar 1992.
The 22nd Biennial Convention was held on April 1992 at San Nicolas, Pangasinan. A leadership vacuum occurred which yielded no election. A National Steering Committee has been formed with the following members: Dominador Peralta, Jr., Edgar Raymond de Jesus, Lani Potes, Edward Santos, Joy Tolentino and Ellery Ortiz.
Like any organization, the UMYFP also experienced leadership challenges. The “Dark Years of Transparency and Accountability” of 1993 and 1998 remains as somber lesson and reminder to the UMYFP to adhere to the call to know Christ, and make Him known. In response, the UMYF Constitution of 1998 was made. This was later amended on 2007, ratified on 2008, and was further amended on the 33rd National Youth Conference 2014 in Green Papaya Resort, Silang, Cavite.
The adjourned 22nd Biennial Convention was held on April 1993 in Tarlac, Tarlac with electing National officers as its primary agendum. Elected officers were Dr. Dorbein Neil Peralta, president; Alex Gonzales, vice president; Nimia Castillo, executive secretary; Grace Supetran, finance officer; Robaida Reyes, Education department head; Paul Adurru, ECSA department head and Benjie Palaganas, Organization department head.
The 23rd Biennial Convention was held on April 6-10, 1994 in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Elected officers were Joey Celzo, president; Rommel Julian, vice president; Julius Homer Teodoro, finance officer and Paul Adurru, ECSA department head. The national council later elected Romel dela Cruz, executive secretary, Xylene Rinomos, Education department head, and Juvilyn Manuel, Organization department head as additional members of the Executive Committee. At the middle of the biennium, the vice president decided to resign and answer the call of being in the full time ministry.
The 24th session of the Biennial Convention was held on March 28-April 3, 1996 at San Jose, Ibajay, Aklan. Elected officers were William Tolentino, president, Juvilyn Manuel, vice president, Marissa Colorado, finance officer, and Romeo Dollente, ECSA department head during the first council meeting.
On April 1997, Juvilyn Manuel called a Constitutional Convention into order. Mr. Floyd Castro was elected as the chairperson of the convention.
When conference year 1997-1998 started, Mr. Dollente and Mr. Tolentino was considered resigned by the Executive Committee in the council (3rd NYCM) due to several reasons. The same council elected Mr. Paul Lazarte as vice president to fill the emptied position.
On April 12-17, 1998, the 25th Biennial Convention convened in Linao UMC, Tuguegarao, Cagayan, and ratified the newly revised UMYFP Constitution and By-Laws.
Only Annalyn Peralta was elected by the said convention, assuming the position of the executive secretary. Four of the six elected members of the Commission on Elections resigned during the course of the convention.
The 1st Annual Youth Council Meeting of the ensuing term (1998-2000) elected the following young people as additional members of the Executive Committee: Rolando Ramos, president; Jerome Omana, vice president; Christian Pascual, finance officer; and Johnny Ramos, organization department head. Mr. Rolando Ramos resigned halfway through their term and the remaining officers decided to reorganize. Results of the reorganization saw Annalyn Peralta becoming the president, Jerome Omana as vice president, Johnny Ramos as executive secretary, and Christian Pascual as finance officer.
The 26th National Youth Conference (former Biennial Convention) for biennium 2000-2002 was held in April 8-12, 2000 at Cagayan de Oro City. Dulceneah-Lyra dela Cruz was elected as president and Nezer Soriano was appointed as finance officer on conference year 2001-2002.
The 27th National Youth Conference was held in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on April 9-13, 2002. There were four elected members of the Executive Committee for biennium 2002-2004, namely, Gideon Salatan, president; Jonathan Marcos, vice president; Edward Jovenal, Organization department head; and Hesed Soriano, Ecumenical and Church-Society Affairs department head. Michelle dela Cruz was elected as finance officer during the 1st National Youth Council Meeting held in San Fabian, Pangasinan.
The 28th National Youth Conference was held in Leyte State University, VISCA, Baybay, Leyte on April 12-16, 2004. There were seven elected members of the Executive Committee for the biennium 2004-2006 namely, Mayette Oria, president; Mark Julius Ramel, vice president; Frances Mae Marasigan, executive secretary; Beryl Coloma, finance officer; Ronald Soriano, Organization department head; Nelson Sonio, ECSA department head; and Jonah Bohol, Education department head.
The 29th National Youth Conference was held in Lajendenjoy Beach Resort, Bangantalinga, Iba, Zambales on April 24-28, 2006. There were seven elected members of the Executive Committee for the biennium 2006-2008 namely, Mighty Rasing, president; Abigail Fabrigas, vice president; Eva Grace Jainar, executive secretary; Frances Mae Marasigan, finance officer; Jeed Lussel Oria, Organization department head; Flormar Della, ECSA department head; and Earlie Pasion, Education department head.
Also, during this NYC, a formal call to hold a Constitutional Convention was approved. The Constitutional Convention then took place at Malolos City, Bulacan in July 7-8, 2007. This biennium launched the first National songwriting composition of UMYFP, Awit Kay Yahweh.
Apart from the administrative and organizational reforms, the UMYFP remained active in campuses through the SMACK (Student Methodist Active in Campuse Kirk) and campus ministry conferences were also organized.
The 30th National Youth Conference was held in San Nicolas UMC, San Nicolas, Pangasinan on April 21-26, 2008. The NYC also ratified the newly revised UMYFP Constitution and By-Laws. The organizational positions were revised and are as follows: President, Executive Vice President, BEA – Vice President, MEA – Vice President, DEA – Vice President, Executive Secretary, Finance Officer, and Working Departments (Ecumenical and Church-Society Affairs Department Head; Christian Nurture and Formation Department Head; Information, Communication and Resource Department; and Finance). The Annual, District and Local level have the same composition of officers except Area Vice Presidents.
There were seven elected members of the Executive Committee for the biennium 2008-2010, namely, Earlie Pasion, president; Ismael Fisco, executive vice president; Bertrand Aldous Santillan, area vice president – Baguio Episcopal Area; Lorraine Ann Rabago, area vice president – Manila Episcopal Area; Oliver Inis (area vice president – Davao Episcopal Area; Jesse Aaron Felicitas, finance officer; and Joy Bohol, Information, Communication, and Resource department head.
The 31st National Youth Conference was held in Obrero UMC, Davao City on April 19-24, 2010. Joy Eva Bohol was elected president of the organization for the biennium 2008-2010. Together with her were John Samuel Ramos, executive vice president; Shiella Marie Cortez, MEA vice president; Rey de Dios, BEA vice president; Melody Tioaquen, DEA vice president; Donwayne Cogay, finance officer; and Phoebelyn Carreon, ECSA department head.
On the 32nd NYC held in Salinungan, San Mateo Isabela on April 16-21, 2012, Floreuce Dale Cancio was elected president. Other elected officers were John Samuel Ramos, executive vice president; Denise Anne Escusa, MEA vice president; Jennylyn Feliciano, DEA vice president; Kristein Joy Villanueva, executive secretary; Relinjoy Pabrua, finance officer; Claire Pasion, ECSA department head; and Donnabel Estipular, finance department head.
Joanna Brenia Dacles and Tomas Jerico Aliwalas were appointed as BEA vice president and ICR department head respectively during the 1st NYCM of the biennium at Knox UMC.
During the biennium, John Samuel Ramos and Kristein Joy Villanueva resigned.
The 33rd NYC was held in Green Papaya, Silang Cavite on April 6-10 2014. Joanna Brenia Dacles was elected president. In her team were Kevin John Maddela, executive vice president; Noe Cenal, MEA vice president; Lemuel Sanchez, BEA vice president; Jeremiah Edward Bohol, DEA vice president; Maylyn Obedoza, finance officer; and Venus Mae Gatdula, ECSA department head.
Czarina Ramos was appointed as executive secretary during the 1st NYCM at Mexico, Pampanga. Maylyn Obedoza resigned and was replaced by Roger Anselm Meneses during the 2nd NYCM at First UMC – Dagupan Temple, Dagupan.
The Global Board on Higher Education Ministry conducted a Chaplains’ Summit where SMACK (Student Methodist Active in Campuse Kirk) was tackled. After the summit, SMACK no longer pushed through.
On the 34th, NYC held in Penafrancia Resort, Naga City, Camarines Sur on April 11-15, 2016, the 2016-2018 biennium had its newly elected officers. The elected president was Kevin John Maddela and in his team were Venus Mae Gatdula, executive vice president; Eileen Maglanque, MEA vice president; Cherry Malyn Into, DEA vice president; Richard Mel Caplis, executive secretary; and its ECSA department head, Larren Jo Basilio.
Mariel Kathryn May Rodriguez was appointed finance officer during the 1st NYCM at Taytay, Rizal.
The conference year 2017-2018 witnessed the ratification of resolutions affirming the UMC Stand against Death Penalty, and solidarity with people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Acquired Immunodeficiency (AIDS).
On the 35th NYC held in Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City, Benguet on April 5-9, 2018, Larren Jo Basilio was elected as president. Jarom Fronda (executive vice president), Joshua Elison Cadiz (BEA vice president), Russnyl Jared Panopio (MEA vice president), Jenny Rose Unak (DEA vice president), Christiane Eunice Romero (finance officer), and Patrick Santiago (finance department head) were also elected.
To strengthen the taskforce, Nhorbert Simbanan, Lorena Descanzo, and Danica Ann Rabago, were appointed executive secretary, CNF department head, and ECSA department head and respectively during the 1st NYCM held in Mt. Atiaon Prayer Mountain, Ramon, Isabela.
However, due to personal concerns, Christiane Eunice Romero and Patrick Santiago resigned from their post. Irene Gabrielle Mungcal took the role as finance Officer.
The conference year 2018-2020 witnessed immersion with the Manobo tribe, educational engagements on the senatorial elections, and releasing of NEC’s statement the issue of rape and on sexual exploitation. This continued to empower a new generation of young people who are alert and responsive to the call of the church and society.
The 36th NYC was set to be held on April 29-May 3, 2020, however, since December 2019, the news of the Coronavirus Disease has widely spread globally which pushed back mass gatherings and big events due to the virus’ highly transmissible behavior. On March 17, 2020, the Philippine government declared its first lockdown as the world was declared under a state of emergency with a pandemic caused by COVID-19. The lockdown lasted for many months and surpassed the supposed to be last day of the biennial term.
The turnover of leadership of the NUMYFP was greatly affected as the pandemic made it difficult to gather physically. At the same time, youth conferences held online were questioned as they were not provided in the organization’s Constitution and By-Laws. Due to the inevitable postponement of the 36th NYC, the NEC 2018-2020 became the 2nd National Steering Committee of the NUMYFP, headed by Larren Jo Basilio.
On September 27, 2020, the NUMYFP gathered for a Special Meeting via Zoom Communications to discuss the organization’s turnover of leadership and to appoint the 3rd National Steering Committee. Later on, the appointees deliberated for the necessary positions. The appointees were Coleen Isabel Agapinay as the head, Joshua Elison Cadiz as the associate head, Lemuel Jan Rosano as the secretary, Russnyl Jared Panopio as the finance officer, Princess Paula Juan and Weena Ann Agustin as episcopal communicators for BEA and DEA respectively, Gabrielle Audrey Barroga as representative for internal affairs, and Loubert Shame Junio as representative for external affairs.
On February 13, 2021, the 1st All Leaders Meeting was held via Zoom Communications where Russnyl Jared Panopio resigned due to personal concerns and Libbyflor Mercel Cancio and Paola Gellika Santos were appointed as finance officer and episcopal communicator for MEA respectively. The 2nd ALM was held on August 21-22, 2021 and the 3rd ALM on February 26-27, 2022 via Zoom Communications as well. Majority of the meetings were held online.
On December 2021, the organization held the Centennial celebration of the Christmas Institute with the support of the Philippines Central Conference.
The conference year 2020-2022 continued the organization’s institutionalized programs online while prioritizing the physical and mental health of the young people amid online and isolation fatigue. Educational webinars, fellowships, voters’ education for the presidential elections, and advocacy workshops were highly attended during this time.
Awit Kay Yahweh
The Awit Kay Yahweh songwriting competition heads and themes are as follows:
AKY 1 (2006-2008) Tugon ng Bayang Pinili, Abigail Fabregas
AKY 2 (2008-2010) Sigaw ng Bagong Henerasyon, Joy Eva Bohol
AKY 3 (2010-2012) Himig ng Kapayapaang May Hustisya, Shiella Marie Cortez
AKY 4 (2012-2014) Humayo Tungo sa Pagbabago, Denisse Anne Escusa
AKY 5 (2016-2018) Ikatlong Siglo ng Papuri, Larren Jo Basilio
AKY 6 (2018-2020) Epainos – God Beyond, Jarom Fronda
The winners of Awit Kay Yahweh 1-5 are Tanging Awit by MidPAC, Breaking Walls by NWPAC, Puso by NWMPAC, Sa ‘Yong Paghayp by Tarpac and Tides by WMPAC respectively.
Awit Kay Yahweh 5 initiated the first ever Music Camp themed “Selah” in Orani UMC, Orani, Bataan on February 2018. AKY 5 launched the first collaborated song composition of UMYFP, Bayan Mong Pinili.
Pursuing and Understanding Social Holiness (P.U.S.H)
The Pursuing and Understanding Social Holiness (P.U.S.H) or ECSA (Ecumenical and Church-Society Affairs) Camp has been a regular activity by the NUMYFP which includes community immersion and exposure program. It offers great opportunities for young people to seek, learn, and discover what it means to go outside the four corners of the church. The camp always aims to reach the least, the lost and the last as the young people go hand-in-hand and in solidarity with the community. For many years through this program, many young people have stood up and committed their lives as bearers of God’s light and love by serving God through serving the people. Indeed, the ECSA Camp embodies the vision and mission of the Church. The following were the themes/focus, heads, and venues for P.U.S.H:
P.U.S.H. 1 – Gender and Sexuality and HIV Awareness, Venus Mae Gatdula, Kapatiran-Kaunlaraan Foundation Inc.
P.U.S.H. 2 – One in Christ (Lumad immersion), Larren Jo Basilio, Davao del Norte
P.U.S.H. 3 – One in Christ (three-day immersion with indigenous people), EMPAC
P.U.S.H. 4 – Coaching of Social Principles, Danica Ann Rabago, NEPAC
The Songwriting camp, in line with Awit Kay Yahweh 6, held at Mexico UMC, Mexico, Pampanga entitled EPAINOS: God Beyond showcased the talents of many UMYF in writing songs for our Lord, Jesus Christ. The next generation of songwriters were produced as well as spectacular songs of praises made from their very young heart using different genres and different emotions. Awit Kay Yahweh 6 officially replaced the songwriting competition to songwriting camp.
Pananaw Literary Workshop
The Pananaw literary workshop trained the young generation to express their pananaw (viewpoint) in things around them. Many young people do not know how to talk their feelings out, and many prefer doing it poetically—and so the workshop was made in order to help the Methodist young people to freely show their language of communication through artistic writing.
Pananaw Literary Contest and Awarding
The Pananaw team launched a literary contest with the expressed goal of providing an avenue for young UMYF writers to express themselves in different written means. This not only displayed their talents but also let them realize that such actions can be used for the glory of our Lord. Winners were awarded during the 4th National Youth Council Meeting.
Christmas and Summer Institute
Institutes remain a staple in the UMYF life. The institutes were themed as follows: Hiraya: Ang Pag-usbong ng Pangarap, Lakbayan: Ang Pagsunod sa mga Yapak ni Hesus, and Padayon: Patuloy ang Paglalakbay. However, Summer Institute 2020 was cancelled due to the national health emergency, COVID-19.
The diversity within group remains a challenge and a blessing. The UMYFers are called to remain vigilant to the call to know Christ above all else. And, as exhibited through the years, only by being in constant relationship with Jesus himself that an individual and an organization can be truly redeemed, equipped, and edified to respond to the lofty call amidst the noise of personal agenda, biases and desires.