Iloilo’s United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Ekklesia hosted the city’s first mass for the LGBT community. Done in collaboration with the local chapter of the Bahaghari LGBT Organization, this also came at the heels of the LGBT community’s observance of the second death anniversary of Jennifer Laude, a transwoman who was killed by American serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton.
According to Rev. Alfred Candid Jaropillo, the UCCP through its General Assembly approved a statement called “Let Grace Be Total”, which states that all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, “are all under the grace of God. In the statement, the UCCP churches are encourage to design programs and ministries to the LGBT community to make the church a welcoming, safe community for LGBT people to express their God-given personality. This is our effort to do so.”
Jaropillo – who also credited co-organizer Justin Bionat of the Bahaghari LGBT Organization, Iloilo Pride Team and Outrage Magazine – said that “the response was so heartwarming, especially from straight members of the UCCP in Manduriao, Iloilo City, who even sponsored the snacks, and attended and participated during the service.” This co-participation is “a very welcome move,” he said.
At least 40 LGBT community members from Iloilo City attended the service.
UCCP in Manduriao in Iloilo City already plans to regularly open its doors for the LGBT community.
For those who want to join the fellowship, contact Rev. Alfred Candid Jaropillo at (0998) 561 3659 or Justin Bionat at (0999) 928 5163.
UCCP Ekklesia is located at R. Mama St., Manduriao, Iloilo City. There’s Sunday school at 9:00AM, and worship service following that at 10:00AM.