by Pastor Abel Vergara | WMC Communication Director
October 26, 2023 – 11: 22 AM
In an extraordinary virtual assembly, the South Philippine Union Conference (SPUC) constituency delegates comprising 452 ordained pastors, lay leaders, SSD delegates and other institutions united in unanimous accord via Zoom to finalize the dissolution of SPUC as an ecclesiastical body or its operation effective December 31, 2023 and herald the inception of two distinct entities: the Southwestern Philippine Union Conference (SWPUC) and the Southeastern Philippine Union Mission (SEPUM).
At precisely 11: 22 AM on this momentous October day, the digital screens of delegates bore witness to a historic decision that will significantly alter the course of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines. The collective vote to divide SPUC and establish SWPUC and SEPUM came after a period of careful deliberation, reflecting the changing spiritual landscape and the diverse needs of the region.
This transformative decision was born out of the necessity to streamline administrative operations and align the church’s mission more effectively with the unique dynamics of the southern Philippines. SWPUC will cater to the southwestern regions, while SEPUM will shoulder the spiritual responsibilities for the southeastern areas, ensuring a more targeted and customized approach to ministry.
The shift signifies a substantial evolution within the church, illustrating its commitment to adapting to the evolving needs of its members. By devolving power and decision-making to the local level, this restructuring aims to foster a stronger sense of community and congregational engagement within these newly formed unions.
Pastor Arnel L. Benasahan, President of the Western Mindanao Conference, one of the ordained ministers participating in this historic Zoom session, offered his perspective, “The bifurcation of the South Philippine Union Conference signifies the fast growth of God’s work in Mindanao. This momentous decision represents a significant step towards the mission of the church. It will empower the church to provide a more meaningful spiritual service to the diverse people of Mindanao with its distinctive character and belief.”
As the South Philippine Union Conference gracefully exits the stage, making way for the Southwestern Philippine Union Conference and the Southeastern Philippine Union Mission, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the region stands at the threshold of a new spiritual chapter. The transformation promises a more agile and responsive church, poised to address the unique and evolving needs of its devoted followers throughout the southern Philippines.