Nature’s Worst Reveals Humanity’s Best
VANCOUVER–The People’s Worship/Pagsambang Bayan in Vancouver did not miss the attention of Rev. Rex Reyes, Jr, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. In his message to the solidarity gathering for the people and communities affected by typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, he declared that to honour those who have perished in the aftermath of the storm, to be in solidarity with the survivors and to be thankful for the chance to be able to do something, no matter how small, for the needs of the disaster-struck areas, all these were good and noble.
Fr. Expedito Farinas, the new rector of the St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, generously hosted and led the People’s Worship. Accompanying the people through the service were Rev. Brad Newcombe of Lakeview Multicultural United Church, Rev. Deb Hinksman of Ellesmere United Church, Frs. Denis Godley and Dennis Morgan of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, with Beth Dollaga of the Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights as the Presider.
“Sorrow can not overpower resilience,” Rev. Newcombe shared in his Reflection. He added that typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan showed that “nature’s worst has revealed humanity’s best.” The story of the storm was not only in the painful images watched by millions of people worldwide but it was also in the images found in the power of ordinary people, Filipinos and non Filipinos, inside and outside of the country, extending help and support.
Justice Bentayen was the Bible bearer. Liberty de Vera and Vic Espiritu did the readings. The offertory was gathered by Fely Farinas and Randy Bentayen, a collection which will be sent to the Philippines Operation Paglingap of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines to help rebuild the affected communities. (Operation Paglingap and its work is accessible on www.nccphilippines.org and/or www.actalliance.org ). Symbolic offerings of bread, plant, and water were taken to the altar by Mayon Marcelino, Rica Taroy and Rev. Heidi Brear. Angela Bonilla, a French Kindergarten teacher offered her gift of music by playing the piano for the service.
Rev. Farinas opened St. Mary’s Anglican Church as one of the many drop-off points for materials in kind for the survivors of the Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. Fr. Farinas was also involved in the Nov 24th Day of Solidarity which raised money for Sagip Migrante/BALSA and for two other groups.
Sagip Migrante/BALSA (Bayanhinan Alay sa Sambayanan) is the national and multi-sectoral relief and disaster response of people’s organizations in the Philippines. It undertook the organized, people’s initiative to distribute relief goods through a national relief caravan from Manila, Bicol and Mindanao to the disaster communities of Samar and Leyte as well as missions to Panay Island. While relief continues, rehabilitation is already starting with people’s groups helping communities rebuild their homes and schools.
The solidarity expressed in prayers and support in the people’s worship in this little Eastside church is reflected in the many forms of action in many communities in Vancouver and elsewhere.
(Canada Philippines Solidarity For Human Rights, PRESS RELEASE)