The Ecumenical Witness Sunday or NCCP Sunday is a reminder of that time when the churches in the Philippines finally understood Christian unity as going beyond denominational unity to a broader understanding of unity in the way Jesus understood it – it was a unity that was necessarily characteristic of the unity of God the creator and God the redeemer, “so that the world may know that thou has sent me and has loved them even as thou has loved me” (John 17:23). Ecumenism is a proclamation of this truth. Ecumenism is about the proclamation of the Good News by all who profess and call themselves Christians.
Intricately interwoven in the spread of the Good News is the promise of Jesus Christ of “abundant life” (John 10:10). This also means understanding the existence of barriers to the attainment of abundant life like grinding poverty, corruption especially in high places of government, the plunder of our resources and the forced migration of people under uncertain conditions, among others.
When the churches in the Philippines sought cooperation more than a hundred years ago, it did not only mean the avoidance of duplication of work but also a celebration of the possibility of united witness and service and of the untold gifts such unity can bring. This is the same spirit that is upheld by the annual remembrance of ecumenical witness. While it is to be lived out each day, the ecumenical community — that is to say the churches in fellowship with each other — has seen fit to propose a day to especially highlight it in our liturgical celebration, thereby commending the same to our collective prayers.
On this Jubilee of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, we urge that our intercessions on the observance of Ecumenical Witness Sunday will include thanksgiving for the gift of unity that we have received through the various movements for the renewal of our churches and our society.
May we indeed, be one, “so that the world may know that thou has sent me and has loved them even as thou has loved me.” (John 17:23)
The Most Reverend Ephraim S. Fajutagana
Obispo Maximo XII
Iglesia Filipina Independiente & Chairperson, NCCP
Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr.
October 22, 2013