On the Church and Development
21-26 May 1978
From the documents of our Church, past, and those of this quadrennial General Assembly, Cagayan De Oro, May 21-26, 1978 focused on the theme The Christian Presence in the Last Quarter of the Century, we were provided the opportunity to reflect, and faithfully express the meaning of our presence today and in the future.
The reports of our Bishops summon and challenge us to direct our commitment, concerns, involvement, and programs towards the development of people and communities. The process of development must have meaning only if set into motion by the direct participation of people themselves.
Our awareness of the concrete situation has led us to repentance, and the experience of forgiveness is manifested through our definite action to change de-humanizing situations, the brutal effect of which is significantly felt by the poor, oppressed and the dispossessed.
In this context, development becomes a continuous liberating process wherein God’s children respond to and participate in God’s redemptive plan for the world.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit and in response to the challenge of the present, we humbly recommend:
I. The adoption of the following documents herein to the challenge of the present, we humbly recommend:
a. The Statement on Priority and Strategy on Development approved by the NCCP Executive Committee in 1974 and reiterated in 1978.
b. The Epistle to the Christians of Today, written by 30 participants during the study on society and institutions sponsored by the Mindanao Jurisdiction.
II. The adoption of the same documents mentioned above as basic guidelines in the quest for solutions of social problems and in any development programs and projects, which we may undertake.
III. That our Church takes a more unified direction in pursuing programs and projects on development, that in these and in all areas of concern, we should always express our primary task which is Christian witness.
IV. That we reiterate our commitment to the Church Sel-Reliance Program as expressive of the development thrust.
In working for the achievement of these goals, it is recommended further:
A. For the Church on all levels to review the Evangelism and Development program thrusts, re-examine policies on self-reliance, and see whether this is expressive of our development direction during this interim period as we work towards attaining self-reliance rather than dependence of foreign funding.
B. For the Church to have a desk on Research and Documentation for the following basic purposes:
- Gather, collate and document concrete experiences or our involvement in development programs all over the country.
- Systematize these with respective theological reflections, come out as materials that can be disseminated to local churches for Bible studies, devotional guides, Sunday School references, etc.
- Conduct educational programs on development, research, project proposal making, administration of projects and the like.
- Process and evaluate these proposals as monitoring and clearing-house.
- Coordinate and oversee development programs and projects of the Church.
C. Encourage conferences to conduct seminars aimed specifically at reviewing government policies and programs on development, that in all these activities the participation of the broad masses directly affected be encouraged for the attainment of human dignity.
D. Encourage the churches on all levels to set aside in their budget funds for community development programs.
Reference: General Assembly, May 21-26, 1978, Action 78-120 p. 35
The Position Paper is in General Assembly, May 21-26, 1978, Appendix XXIV, pp556-567.