The NCCP responded to the invitation of AMPLIFY, an organization born out of a call to be a blessing to the development of inclusive churches in Asia with the representation of Rev. Irma Balaba from the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations of the NCCP. This year’s gathering is held in Taipei, Taiwan in collaboration with Tong Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church from October 25-28 with the theme, Building Bridges”.
Rev. Balaba shares to more than a hundred participants from different parts of Asia and other continents the NCCP”s stance on the LGBT issues and its effort to provide safe spaces for discussion on human sexuality to its member churches. She mentioned, “these current developments among NCCP member churches in terms of its engagement with LGBT issues and concerns poses a great challenge to create more safe spaces for dialogues among clergy and lay people. This will help build bridges to celebrate together the inclusive and encompassing love of God without others being pushed to the margins of unacceptance and condemnation.”
She added, “LGBT is present in each and every sector in every country and in the world- from the working masses, the peasantry, the middle class, indigenous peoples, students and academicians, small entrepreneurs, overseas and contractual workers. Oppression, then based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not solely rooted in the traditions and theological teachings of the Church, but is a product of broader social inequalities that afflict all peoples. Homophobia and discrimination are part of the historical problem based on unjust economic and social relations. In the Philippine context, as we shout for the LGBT rights, we also shout for the rights of the indigenous peoples and farmers who were killed because none of us is free until all of us are free from all forms of oppression.”
“Therefore, to advance social emancipation of the LGBT is not only an agenda of the church people who are theologically trained from prestigious theological seminaries or from those who are highly-esteemed academicians, but rather, we need also to hear the voices of the unheard LGBTIQ+ who are from the lower strata in our society, inside and outside the walls of the church. Through this, our struggle for gender equality based on social justice and freedom of all people from discrimination and class oppression will be made complete as Galatians 3:28 say (NIV): ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor there is male and female, for you are all one in Christ”, she concluded.