A letter from Paul Matheney in the Philippines
New Building, New Life
Christmas this year brought something wonderful and inspiring to our church in the Philippines. We have been attending a small church in the village of Greenbreeze. The UCCP Greenbreeze church is about 20 years old now. It was grown slowly from a house church to a church on a slab with a roof, to the church it is today, with sanctuary and walls. Our Christmas gift this year is a new building and a beautiful sanctuary. Beginning in January 2012 a new tiled and finished interior encased the new sanctuary, which can hold twice the number of worshippers as before. The pews are already filled.
When we first started attending this church over seven years ago the congregation had few members and a very low budget. The budget was too low to be accepted by the UCCP as a full-fledged congregation. Since its startup it was a mission church in need of support from other churches. There was even a chance that the UCCP might drop their support because it was taking so long for it to become self-supporting. In the past five years everything has turned around. Membership has doubled and financial support has tripled. They have joined together to finally build the church they have dreamed of from the beginning. The exterior is in need of a coat of paint, but the interior is fresh and beautiful. In May the conference recognized the UCCP Greenbreeze during their assembly as a full congregation capable of supporting mission, rather than only receiving help. The entire assembly of over a thousand representatives sang the doxology. It was wonderful.
I have to admit I loved worshipping at our church surrounded by fields of grass and the air flowing through the trees and into our place of worship. Nonetheless, being in a sanctuary when the atmosphere is ready for prayer and song means a lot. The quality of our life together is increased and serves as an invitation to the people who are moving into the neighborhood.
We are experiencing a new day in Greenbreeze. Please pray for us and rejoice in what God is doing through us. We have much to be grateful for.
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 203