The Ekklesia Tou Theou, otherwise known as the Church of God, has marked its second anniversary.
Established on October 1, 2010, the Church of God continues to help push for LGBT issues into mainstream awareness, particularly in the local communities of Dasmariñas, Cavite and of Olympia, Makati City, where it has chapels.
“In just two years, and in spite of our limited budget, by God’s grace we have been able to establish two new communities, one in Dasmariñas, Cavite and the other is in Olympia, Makati City,” said Rev. Fr. Regen R. Luna, SSD CDOS. “We are proud that our church is not just a church for the LGBTI community, as we are also reaching out to straight communities and we now have straight members worshiping together with our LGBT members.”
FOUNDING A CHURCH
Though the Church of God was –technically – established on October 1, 2010, Rev. Fr. Luna said that “we believe that our church was founded by the Lord Jesus Christ in 33 AD according to the Holy Bible (Matthew 16:18, Acts 20:28, I Corinthians 1:1-2, 10:32, 11:16, 11:22, 15:9, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, I Thessalonians 2:14, I Timothy 3:5, 3:15). We believe that our church is the restoration of the church that was founded by Christ. We believe that our church was restored on October 1, 2010.”
As a church “founded by Jesus Christ, and pastor and priest, Rev. Fr. Luna (being) instrumental in its restoration in these last days”, the Church of God is all-embracing – largely exemplified by what makes it different from other faiths, i.e.:
- We believe that homosexuality is not a sin and not a sickness in the context of a loving, committed, responsible and monogamous relationship. We celebrate this belief by conducting relationship blessings and same sex Holy Unions all over the country.
- We believe in the equality of men and women. We celebrate this belief by having bishops and priests that is both men and women.
- We believe in ecumenism or the unity of all Christian churches. We do not believe that other churches are of the devil or our enemies but we believe that they are also doing the works of our Lord; we may have differences in doctrines, dogmas, principles and practices but in the end God will be our judge. We are very active in the ecumenical movement and advocating unity among all Christians.
- We respect other religions as well. Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism and other religions are also ways to connect to the divine and are vehicles of truths towards spiritual enlightenment in short, to be a better human being.
- We believe in the historical creeds of Christianity: the Apostle’s Creed, the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed.
- We believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated by the United Nations and also the Yogyakarta Principles advocating the rights of the LGBT community.
- We believe in the concept of giving that is equally distributed among all members and leaders of the church as this has been the practice of the early Christians or the early church. All monetary or financial blessings of our church are equally distributed among all our leaders and members.
“Every now and then, some of the fundamentalists and anti-gay churches in Dasmariñas have been lobbying outside of our chapel when we hold our seminars and some of our activities,” Rev. Fr. Luna said. “We face them by ignoring them, as long as they don’t hurt us physically or violently stopping our activities we don’t see any problems. These situations have driven us to be more vigilant and more pro-active in spreading our message of hope and unconditional love towards the LGBTI community.
The Church of God focuses on making positive changes, instead. “(We) take pride in the establishment of our non-government organization (NGO) named ‘Bahaghari Dasmariñas’, whose aim is to educate, train and support the LGBTI communities in our locality.”
It is through this that Church of God has been able to conduct at least 120 same sex holy unions all over the country and still counting; and offer free homoseminars in Cavite, with a range of topics including the Bible and homosexuality, STI/HIV/AIDS, human rights, Yogyakarta Principles and same sex relationships.
“Our ecumenical efforts are also successful as we have now at least 19 International Ecumenical Partners from the US, Africa, Asia and Australia,” Rev. Fr. Luna said.
The Church of God’s Ecumenical partners in the USA are: the Progressive Christian Alliance, the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit, the Ecumenical Community Churches, the Society of Saint Dominic Ecumenical Institute and the Union of the American Catholic Churches. In Europe, these include: the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, the International Liberal Catholic Fellowship, Outreach Ministries Sweden. In Africa: the Liberal Catholic Church in Africa. In Australia: Outreach Ministries Australia, Outreach Ministries Queensland, Antioch Communion, Australian Church of Antioch and the Old Catholic Apostolic Church – Australia. And in Asia: Open Doors Community – South Korea, Saint Sergius and Bacchus Theological Seminary, Metropolitan Community Churches, Unitarian Universalist, Independent Catholic Mission in Malaysia.
The Church of God already has approximately 30 active members in its Dasmariñas, Cavite church; with another 30 active members in Makati City, with “both of our communities growing in a steady rate”. It is now having talks to open new communities in Pasay and in Laguna; just as it has plans to host the first Pride Revolution in Dasmariñas to “unify all the LGBT groups in our town into one big event in 2013”.
The Ekklesia Tou Theou (Church of God) is located at Block P Extension Brgy. San Simon, Dasmariñas City, Cavite. For more information on the Church of God, contact Rev. Fr. Regen R. Luna, SSD CDOS at (+63) 9398333407 or (+63) 9054315842; or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; or visit http://www.facebook.com/regenluna, http://www.ettcog.weebly.com or http://youtube.com/ettcog.