Integrated Mennonite Churches, Philippines
|Integrated Mennonite Churches, Inc.|
Luzon, Philippines 
177 Tabia Street, Barangay Salac Lumban, LAG 4014
Regina Lyn Mondez email@example.com
Edgardo Docuyanan, Bishop Moderator Integrated Mennonite Church of the Philippines, Inc. P.O. Box EA-220, Ermita, Manila (63) 2-6283380 firstname.lastname@example.org
Number of Congregations
Early MCC presence
In 1946, Mennonite Central Committee started relief work in the Philippines. Their work was primarily based in the province of Abra. Their notable accomplishments include the construction of Bangued Christian Hospital in Bangued, Abra and the Abra Mountain High School (now known as Abra Mountain Development Education Center) in Lamau, Bucloc, which is in use to this day. Though their focus was not on missions, the service of the MCC workers attracted some locals to their faith. By 1950, MCC left the Philippines after turning over the hospital to another Christian group.
Origins of the MNI
Around this same time, Felonito Sacapaño and Marcelo Masaoay worked together to do missionary work with the Tingin tribes in Northern Luzon. In 1956, Masaoay decided to move from the city and devote his time to missionary work with these tribes. In 1965, Sacapaño developed Missions Now Inc.(MNI) MNI worked with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to provide economic support to the people of the Philippines. MNI also worked to meet the believers spiritual needs.
In 1971, Sacapaño traveled to the US to share the work that he had done with MNI. This trip brought increased awareness about Filipino Mennonites to the Western Mennonite world. By July of 1971, the General Conference Mennonite Church endorsed MNI. A year later, Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (EMBMC) sent James Metzler who went on to form 22 pioneer churches and mission points. By 1978, MNI had 2,000 believers, 22 congregations, and 48 supported students. In 1979, EMBMC and MNI collaborated on building the Philippine Mennonite Biblical Institute (PMBI), a bible school that has been important in the development of key Filipino Mennonite leaders.
Later MCC Work in the Philippines
In 1977, MCC reopened its operations in the Philippines. Their operations mainly centered on peace and reconciliation work, with some work in community and economic development. Though MCC continued to work in the Philippines, their interaction with the Integrated Mennonite Churches, Inc. was limited.
Split with MNI and the Creation of IMC
October 6, 1987 Felonito Sacapaño died and his son, Sammy Sacapaño, became the leader. Sacapaño decided to lead MNI in a new direction and split from the Mennonite church. While many followed Sacapaño, some still wanted to be part of the Mennonite church. Those who remained formed the Integrated Mennonite Churches, Inc. (IMC) on October 23, 1991 With Gervacio Baluacas as their first president. In this time, IMC formed spiritual youth camps, conferences, and leadership training for future pastors.
Ordination and Further Fractions in the 21st Century
In 2000, Howard Witmer of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference ordained the first bishops of the IMC. Bishop Ambrocio Porcincula became the first moderator for the board of bishops until 2009. In 2006, IMC hosted the Holy Spirit in Mission Conference and the International Missions Association in Lumban. 45 guests from 16 countries took part in these conferences, expanding the IMC’s connections to the wider global community. In 2008, there was a split over financial and leadership issues resulting in another group, the Integrated Mennonite Conference of the Philippines, Inc. Through conversation, some members requested to be a part of IMC again.
|1948||MCC builds Bangued Christian Hospital|
|1950||MCC leaves the Philippines. Sacapaño and Masaoay start missionary work|
|1965||Sacapaño forms MNI with help from MEDA|
|1971||Sacpaño goes to the US to share and connect|
|1972||EMBMC sends James Metzler to the Philippines. He starts 22 churches.|
|1987||Sacapaño dies, his son splits MNI from the Mennonite church.|
|2000||Five Filipino bishops ordained.|
|2006||Holy Spirit in Mission Conference and International Missions Association meeting hosted my IMC.|
|2008||Split with the Integrated Mennonite Conference of the Philippines, Inc.|
Key Individuals in the Life of the Church
Founded Missions Now Church, the Philippine Mennonite Biblical Institute, and Faith Woodcrafts. Started a bible study group with his wife in 1952, which grew to become MNI. Sacapaño became affiliated with Mennonites through a trip to the US to find a partner for MNI. Died October 6, 1987.
Bishop Adriano Fernandez
Connected with MNI in 1968. Had military training but was called by God to go to a Bible school, eventually transferring to a Mennonite Biblical school where he learned the Mennonite teachings of non-resistance and the gospel of love. Serves in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
Bishop Jose Basa
Met Sacapaño in 1968 and joing because of his appreciation for the Mennonite biblical teachings, especially about baptism. He is the pastor of a church in San Fabian, in the province of Pangasinan.
Pastor Felix Sotto
Got to know the church through Bishop Basa in 1987 when he decided to go to the Mennonite School of Theology in San Jose City, Neva Ecija. Was Assistant pastor of Lipit Christian Church from 2005 until 2007 when he became head pastor.
Bishop Ramon Bansan
Joined MNI in 1971 while he was a pastor of a small independent church in Castañeda, Nueva Vizcaya. He joined the Mennonites due to their loving and peaceful nature. He has embraced non-resistance. He Fimly believes that all Christians should have fellowship with other groups of believers. Bishop Bansan now oversees the IMC Central District.
Bishop Edgardo Docuyanan
Introduced to the Mennonite church by Bishop Bansan while doing missions work for another evangelical group. He appreciated the emphasis on equality among believers and servant leadership. In 1988, Bishop Docuyanan joined MNI. He is now the Bishop Moderator of IMC and is involved with the global church including being a member of the MWC General Council.
Was determined to become mayor of Lumban but after attending a sermon by Sacapaño, he was called by God to denounce his worldly ambitions. Even without official biblical training, Porcincula went on to serve as associate pastor in the Lumban Mennonite Church. He then became the secretary/treasurer for the IMC, IMC chairman, and even IMC Bishop Moderator until 2009
Mondez became a follower of Christ through a MNI run youth camp in 1976. He converted from Roman Catholicism, got an education at the PMBI as well as from a secular school. He was a pastor in the Conservative Mennonite Church until 2000 when he joined the IMC where he has been a pastor and is currently treasurer of IMC.
Challenges Facing IMC
1. Carrying the message of peace in a time fraught with violence.
2. Issues with members leaving. Members from 3,500 in 2009 to 701 in 2012 http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Philippines
Future Plans of IMC
1. A larger Mennonite presence in Metro Manila
2. A national office in Manila
3. Strategic planning, corporate financial management, and leadership programs.
4. To be a catalyst for peace and reconciliation work in the Philippines
- 2006 Mennonite World Conference Directory for Asia/Pacific
- Philippines Membership
- Video of the History of Mennonites in the Philippines
- GAMEO article on Mennonites in the Philippines
Mondez, Regina. "The Mennonite Church in the Philippines." In Churches Engage Asian Traditions, edited by John Lapp and Arnold Snyder, 259-275. Intercourse, PA: Good Books ;, 2011. This book gives a synopsis of the biography on key figures, historical background, and the current aspirations of Mennonite communities in various parts of Asia. This has been a significant resource written by a member of the IMC community who I later interviewed.
Metzler, James, and Richard Thiessen. "Philippines." GAMEO. October 1, 2010. Accessed December 4, 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Philippines. Overview of IMC’s history and has some important quantitative information. This source helped link me to further sources that I has helped kick start my research on the Integrated Mennonite Churches.
"Philippines Membership." Mennonite World Conference. Accessed December 4, 2014. https://www.mwc-cmm.org/mwc_map/country/1170#. This is a Mennonite World Conference site that gives an approximation of the population of IMC churches and members. I have been trying to find several sources on the current population of IMC members. The sources I have found have shown the same numbers for several different years, which has made me skeptical.
Baniaga, Benjamin. "Summaries from MCC Annual Workbooks." In Where Will They Sit?: The Life and Work of Mennonite Central Committee in the Philippines. Philippines: Mennonite Central Committee Philippines, 2005. Goes through the history of MCC involvement in the Philippines. Before finding this book, I had looked through many MCC accounts of their time in the Philippines. This book provided a convenient way to see all of these stories in context, without having to search through multiple sources.
"Asia and Pacific." In MWC World Directory 2012, 17. 2012. Another resource I used to figure out the population of IMC members as well as the contact information and address of the IMC headquarters.
Various articles from the Missionary Messenger The articles I read were primarily from leaders and members of the Filipino church, whether it was IMC or MNI at the time. These first person narratives were important to understand the lives of church goers as well as what kinds of things they were talking about at the time, sometimes when reading from a historical viewpoint, its easy to overlook things that were important in peoples lives.
Mondez, Regina. Interview by Levi Yoder. E-mail. November 24, 2014. I emailed the Author of the article on the IMC in Churches Engage Asian Traditions for an interview. The questions I raised focused mainly on confusions I had in her article. I also asked about certain topics i deemed important which were not any readings I found.
Spirit in Struggle.
"Sacapano, Felonito (1918-1987)." Mennonite Weekly Review, December 31, 1987. Obituary for the founder of MNI. Useful for information about his life that I couldn't find in other sources.
Rudy, Jon. "Dialogue of the feet: a Mennonite sojourn through Mindanao: a trip to survey MCC's inter-faith relationships in Mindanao's trouble spots." Conrad Grebel Review 26, no. 3 (September 1, 2008): 72-90. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2014).