The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) held a gathering to design an adult curriculum on gender and sexuality for UCCP churches “to become a safe, welcoming community for all people (to be able to) express their God-given gender identity,” said Rev. Alfred Candid Jaropillo, who heads a UCCP in Iloilo City.
The sexuality education for adults discussed the need for a holistic approach in the church, as it covered sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, sexual health, sexual rights and gender justice. By August 2017, UCCP – in partnership with UCC-USA – will publish the said curriculum and further conduct training for implementers.
“The LGBTs, as a group of people, have long been an object of ostracism and judgment, ridicule and condemnation by so many in our society. This is largely due to cultural ethos and values that are so patriarchal in nature, legalistic in perspective, pharisaic in world view and self-righteous in outlook. From such perspective, world view and outlook, the LGBT people have no place, since this is a dichotomy (of a) world of only either male or female. There can be no gray areas. It is either black or white. From this paradox the UCCP as a welcoming church believes that all people should be treated with dignity, respect and equality, including LGBT people,” Jaropillo said. “The hopes and prayers of our LGBT sisters and brothers is respect and acceptance, full inclusion in the ministry of the church, representation in higher judicatories of the church and equality, equity and rights in the society as a whole. Basically LGBT clamor for the restoration of their dignity as children of God and as bearer of the Imago Dei.”
The UCCP – which has a pro-LGBT statement, called “Let Grace be Total” – is also calling for the passing of the Anti-discrimination Bill.
For Jaropillo, “when UCCP members… seriously engage the theological and biblical core pertaining to the issue of the LGBT people, the church becomes an all-embracing, loving, safe, nurturing community that allows everyone to celebrate their real God-given selves,” he ended.