Pray for the Philippines
The pastor of a new UK Filipino Baptist church which will be commissioned on Sunday has asked for prayer following Typhoon Haiyan.
The Revd Virgilio Pansacala leads the Filipino International Church, based at Whitley Baptist Church in the North Tyneside, and said many of the congregation’s 26 families have relatives and friends from the areas worst affected by the devastating storm, including Tacloban. He invited the UK Baptist family to pray.
‘Please pray for the relatives of the members of our church. Some of them have had no communication, and still don’t know what has happened to their families,’ said Pastor Virgilio.
‘Of course please pray for the relief work, and how they will rebuild their lives.’
He added there hadn’t as yet been news from his wife’s family.
‘Many of rural areas have badly affected but not been reported in the news. And it’s difficult for the Filipino community here in the UK, because communication is so difficult.
‘Even my wife’s home town, we have had no communication. We know that they were evacuated, but 90 per cent of the houses have been wiped off. It’s a very difficult time.’
Sunday’s commissioning will still go ahead despite the uncertainty. ‘It is good to be together, and we will take a collection to help back home,’ said Pastor Virgilio. ‘The only thing we can tell our people is to keep praying, keep trusting the Lord.’
The congregation has been meeting at Whitley Bay Baptist Church for a number of years. Around a decade ago the NHS attempted to fill gaps in its nursing staff by attracting trained personnel from overseas. Six Filipino nurses arrived at the church one Sunday and were quickly integrated in the life there.
Over time their husbands and children came to the UK to join them, including, Virgilio, the founding pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church in Montalban Rizal.
Led by him the group of Filipinos asked permission to meet regularly as a congregation worshipping in their own language of Tagalog. The congregation has grown and draws from across the North Tyneside region including the City of Newcastle upon Tyne and South Northumberland. Pastor Virgilio says there are around 2,500 Filipinos in Newcastle.
Following the commissioning service it will become a member church of our Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Northern Baptist Association (NBA) in its own right. The Revd John Claydon, Regional MInister for the NBA, has been closely involved in the whole process and will be leading the service on Sunday. The church will then continue to meet, under its own leadership, on Sunday afternoons in the premises of Whitley Bay Baptist Church.
Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines from November 8th, killing an estimated 10,000 people and leaving 600,000 more displaced. 9.8 million people now need urgent aid.
The Disasters Emergency Committee launched an appeal: http://www.dec.org.uk/
BMS World Mission has also launched an appeal and is working through Asia Pacific Baptist Aid.