Here’s a Bible trivia, “How many fish did the disciples catch in the Sea of Galilee when Jesus appeared to them after resurrection?” (John 21). Perhaps we would react, “Who would bother to remember the number of fish they caught at that moment?” We’d rather remember Bible verses than figures, right? It was also my reaction when in an exam in our New Testament course in the seminary, our professor fondly included objective questions on top of essay which no one would think of being asked like this number of fish. The answer is 153! I never dared took note of this figure but only the event of the disciples catching so much fish after obeying Jesus’ words of casting again the net after a night of fishing and not getting even one fingerling. The account in John 21:4ff describes, “Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.” Later when they were already on the shore, Simon Peter hauled the net full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them and that though there were so many, the net was not torn. Amazing indeed!
The number 153 signifies abundance, overflowing blessing, surprise, beyond expectation – a resurrection moment, reviving hope in the disillusioned disciples who were still grieving over the loss of the Great Teacher. Jesus caught them by surprise at their workplace. The story says that it was in the Sea of Tiberias (also Sea of Galilee) that this event took place indicating that the disciples left Jerusalem and went back to their hometown in the north, that is, Galilee and returned to their former occupation of fishing. Perhaps it was their way of moving on and getting on with their life after that short stint with Jesus, their Master. Confident perhaps that being veteran fishermen they could bring net load of fish on shore, they got none. O how disheartened they must have been but alas, Jesus appeared to them and showed them another area where they could fish. “Cast the net to the right side of the boat…” Something they must have ignored or taken for granted being already
daybreak, time to quit and turn back. Jesus taught them anew of keeping the spirit of hope alive drawing from the mercies and grace of God. Not by their own knowledge, skill and wisdom but by the guidance of God.
If I am to draw symbols on the figure of 153, I would say the One God in Three Persons continues to provide for us through the five fingers in each of our hands and feet. God’s Triune presence, Father, Son and Holy Spirit continues to abide in us through what our whole body can do for God’s glory. God’s Triune presence continues to sanctify us, setting us apart for God’s great purpose that all creation would bow down and worship God in Jesus Christ. Sanctification is the process of making us holy, cleansing us and molding us to the person that God wants us to be which God has revealed in Jesus Christ who was a person for others. To be sanctified is to be transformed in the likeness of Jesus Christ who preached about the kingdom of God and lived this out by healing the sick, giving food to the hungry, light to the blind, setting the captives free. Transformation does not occur overnight nor without any pain. Transformation also happens in the work that we do, hence, we work not only to earn a living but we work in order that the process of God’s sanctification in the Holy Spirit would come into fruition.
Imagine what life would be without working. Life would have no meaning at all for we find meaning in the day to day work that we do whether inside or outside the home. Work somehow provides a structure in our daily activity and enhances our being creatures of habit. Work exercises our bodies developing all of our muscles, making it to function well. The work that we do each day becomes then a means to bring out the good in us, the image of God in us. This only happens, though if we allow God to coach us and hold our hands, our mind and our spirit.
Times are uncertain. We seem to be in the brink of a great global change with economic downturns happening in countries and regions in the world. In Asia, at the onset of the new millennium, then now in the US with recession getting to be felt in the local level. Increase in prices of oil and basic commodities threaten the households. Big multinational companies shutting down operations in the country would add to unemployment rate. Our dreams could be shattered into pieces because of this economic crisis getting us to lose our jobs. What then are we to celebrate on this Sunday of “Pistang Kabuhayan?” The unchanging promises of God leading us to continually declare with deep conviction that “God will provide! That even if I lose employment outside of my home, God would lead me to do something worthwhile with my hands, for God’s work of sanctification in my being is not done yet!” We celebrate the love of God in what our hands findeth to do which we will do with all our might!
COME, CELEBRATE GOD’S PROVISIONS!
SCCD holds Annual Church Elections. The Annual Church Elections in SCCD was held on April 20, 2008 incorporated in the Sunday worship service. The newly elected officers in the various elective positions include Roger Cantada, Remy Gabriel and Willie Ramos for the Board of Elders; Aileen Agapay, Jo Anne Samonte and Teena Saquilayan for the Board of Christian Education; Nanette Barzaga and Monina Frani for the Board of Deacons; Raymond Fauni, Cecille Mendoza and Allan Samonte for the Board of Trustees; Evelyn Sapida as Financial Secretary, Violy Fauni as Church Treasurer and Shirly Fauni as Auditor. Installation Sunday will be on May 25, 2008 together with the new set of officers of the Church Recognized Organizations. The said election was handled by the NOMELEC with Elder Emma Acuna as chairperson, Trustee Ramon Reyes as vice chairperson, Ruby Sapida as secretary and members Susan Mabbatung and Jayjay Tumitit with the CYF.
Kids’ Sports fest prepares way to VCS. The Children Sunday School staff organized a two-day Kids’ Sportsfest on April 16-17 in various places to stimulate interest of children in coming to church on weekdays this summer break at the same time encourage them to attend the Vacation Church School. Events included board games such as chess, dama, table tennis and outdoor sports namely basketball, swimming and other water games, and a native sports “kadang-kadang” (walking with a coconut shell as shoe.) Divided into three teams, Green, Red and White, the Red team bagged the most winning point in basketball, water game of universal walk and kadang-kadang. The Green team bagged the swimming event and the table tennis with Jhun Mark Santos and Christian Luna as players. Venues aside from the SCCD Multi-Purpose Hall were the nearby covered court of Malagasang 2-G and Marycris swimming pool. At the helm of this Kids’ Sportsfest are Pastor Grace Fe Inocentes assisted by Sis. Jane Santos. SCCD was blessed with two table tennis donated by the CYAF and Milan Fauni. Coming up soon is the Adults Sports this summer.
VCS centers on Jesus’ healing stories. With this year’s VCS theme of “Jesus, Thank You for Healing Me” the children will surely be hearing stories of Jesus’ healing ministry and get a deeper understanding of what it means to be healed. The VCS was ushered in by the church-based classes in SCCD ground catering to about 170 children taught by 17 teaching staff. Children came from various places, some commuting and walking to church while those who are from afar were fetched by the church utility vehicle. The teaching staff included a number of senior high schoolers assisting the more experienced ones and the biggest class was Gr. 1 reaching to as many as 35 kids. The 2nd week of VCS will be in two outreach sites, Simborio and Mary Cris Phase 3 and 4. Overseeing this ministry are Pastor Grace Fe and Sis. Wilma Pelagio with the women’s group attending closely to the children’s snacks. Donations to VCS amounted to P6,500.00 thus far.
LCSMC Annual assemblies attended. Being election year, annual assemblies of the different CROs in the conference featured the election of new set of officers in different dates. Presidents elected were Bro. Ric Samocino from UCCP Tejero for UCM, Sis. Neri dela Cruz from UCGS Bacoor for CWA and the Church Workers Organization also had theirs on April 21-23 at UTS, Dasmarinas. Officers were Rev. Perfecto Gianan, president, Pastor DG Gallo, vice president, Pastor Bea Hernandez, secretary, Pastor Glo Estrella, treasurer, Pastor Leo Rosete, auditor. Elected as well were the two representatives for the forthcoming United Church Workers Organization Assembly in July 2008 within Metro Manila with the United Metropolis Conference as host. The 10th Annual Session is set on May 15-17 at UCCP Cosmopolitan Church in Manila.
Discovery Class Batch 2 receives new members. The 2nd quarter batch of Discovery/Membership Class conducted on April 19 and 26 had two graduates namely Erlinda Ancheta and Jennilee Carlos with short write-up each below. They were formally received during worship service on April 27, 2008. The next batch is scheduled sometime July to September when prospective members had been identified.
Welcoming New Members of SCCD Erlinda Ancheta. Ate Linda as she’s fondly called has been attending worship services at SCCD since they moved to nearby Goldenville II Subdivision in 2000. Married to Arturo Ancheta, they both hailed from Cagayan Valley and are members of the local UCCP church in their hometown at Claveria. She has three grown children who are all professionals namely Arlene, Romeo and Joey, the youngest of whom is a seaman while the two older ones are gainfully employed in industrial establishments. Her second child Romeo is married to Jingle, a faculty of the DLA who gave Ate Linda her sole grandchild at the moment. “I’m now living in Cavite which I now consider as home, therefore, SCCD has also become my spiritual home,” Ate Linda remarked in the Discovery class session.
Jennilee Carlos. Since 2004, Jennilee has been frequenting SCCD Sunday worship services upon invitation of Sis. Wilma Pelagio and as soon as her older sister Geraldine Siervo became a member of this church community. She had her older child, Diana Jhoie Cadapan dedicated at age 3 in SCCD almost two years ago. Now she has a second child, Cedric Andrei born in December last year and was constantly prayed for because of some health problems upon birth. Jennilee, whose husband is Teodoro Cadapan Jr., hopes to find a job soon as caregiver.
Opening of Classes:
June 9, 2008 School Building Construction Phase 3 ongoing. The phase 3 of DLA school building construction which covers the west side rooms made permanent with 2nd floor to be completed is currently going on. This started on March 31, 2008 with a starting building fund of about P350,000.00. To date construction in progress on this area has amounted to P470,000.00, 32% of which was sourced out from the BTFT (Building Thru Five Thousand) fund campaign. Thirty three persons have participated, thus far, in this campaign not to mention the two anonymous donors who gave significant amount towards this school building project. As of April 30, 2008, a total amount of P159,394.00 has been received from the BTFT campaign. SCCD is truly blessed with generous members, friends and loyal supporters both here and abroad!