By Ian Zane T. Esparaga | January 20, 2021
Silliman University Divinity School hosted a symposium on ecumenism to kickstart their 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity festivities last January 15.
Bishop Erme Camba, former dean of Silliman University Divinity School, who served as general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and Rev. Fr. Eric Lozada, former academic dean of St. Joseph Seminary in Sibulan and a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dumaguete, were invited as speakers. DM Lorena C. Narciso, youth leader of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente served as the reactor.
Entitled “Oikoumene Dumaguete: The Narrative”, the event features the beginnings and the present state of ecumenism primarily in Dumaguete City and Negros Occidental.
“Fr. Eric and I decided that we give testimonial on our own ecumenical experience, particularly with the organization of the ecumenical fellowship in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental,” Bishop Camba said during the symposium.
The ecumenical fellowship in the city first met on Oct. 31, 2000. Prior to that, Bishop Camba recalled the times when the Protestants and the Roman Catholic churches were not officially related.
“I was brought up with the idea that we should not relate with Roman Catholics. They are heretics from our point of view and the Roman Catholics would call us also heretics,” he said.
Certain problems such as evangelization and the gathering of new members from the other denominations were also tackled, however Bishop Camba highlighted the importance of dialogue between these churches.
“So ang nangyayari agawan ng mga miyembro ng simbahan. What is more important is dialogue, understanding each other, understanding our point-of-views and then working together as Fr. Eric was saying we have one God.”
Jose Arvin “Joop” Miranda of Focolare Movement Dumaguete, who served as the moderator of the symposium, shared that this ecumenism activities’ main objective was to continue the efforts to better the relationships of Christian churches.
“Maintain friendship, share our experiences of life – our triumphs, failures and tribulations. Along the way, because of this more profound rapport, we collaborate on organizing activities together, initiate and assist each others’ projects,” he told tWS.
The event was made possible through Zoom and was shown live in Silliman University Divinity School Centennial Celebration 2021 Facebook page.