Episcopal Church in Philippines: from mission area to global leader
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
In 1901, Episcopal missionaries trekked to the mountains in the newly acquired American colony, to establish the Missionary District of the Philippines which would later become the independent Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP).
For 350+ years, the indigenous people of this land fended off Spanish colonizers and were never conquered. So when the Americans inherited the land after the Spanish-American War, Bishop Charles Brent, with a policy of not ‘placing altar against altar,’ sent Episcopal missionaries to aid the indigenous peoples who were not Roman Catholic. It’s a matter of mystery why these fierce head hunting tribes openly received the Episcopal missionaries. However, they did, and today the majority of the Philippines’ Episcopal membership is comprised of indigenous people of the Northern mountains.
When the Philippines gained independence from the U.S. in 1946, the new government rule was by and for the ethnic groups of the lowlands, to the exclusion of the indigenous communities. Only in recent years are paved roads finally connecting this region to the nation.
While the ECP gained independence in 1971, its funding still came from the U.S. Seeking to realize their dream of ‘standing on their own two feet’, Filipino church leaders planned to gradually reduce its annual grant subsidy to $0. This proved difficult, due to an instilled mindset remaining from missionary time that the church was a rich institution from which material benefits could be derived, so the church championed income-generating projects. Priests operated shipping lines, water filtration plants, even a movie theatre!
Amidst a crisis (with salaries delayed 6 months), the annual subsidy was scheduled to end in 3 years. Church leaders began to think they must request an extension or prepare for bankruptcy. Miraculously, they did neither. They chose to end their subsidy early - later that year - in order to wholeheartedly focus on the solution: using what they have to support themselves. It worked.
ECP learned firsthand that asset-based church/community development (leveraging existing resources to elevate the community, a.k.a. - ABCD) works. Since then ECP entirely finances its own operations. They also teach this approach to rural, impoverished communities across the Philippines and to Anglican churches across the world. ABCD contrasts traditional development models which focus on what’s lacking & bring in outside resources. Problem here, as Filipinos found, is it instills a mindset of inferiority & helplessness. ABCD mobilizes blessings communities already have.
Smallholder farmers can earn more by processing high quality coffee, provided they have access to the market. One asset these communities have is the Episcopal Church network. We drink coffee every week, at Sunday coffee hour and at home. What’s more -- Philippines’ best coffee is grown in the same community where the Episcopal Church was established in the Northern mountains!
New Orleans Coffee Import Co. connects coffee farmers in the Philippines to coffee lovers in our community. We’re importing and delivering excellent coffee for coffee lovers, churches, offices & events in order to support our fellow episcopalians’ development with our coffee ritual.
Filipino farmers are delighted to share their coffee through church connection, as they collaborate through church co-ops for farming projects. New Orleans Coffee Import Co. is partnering with the ECP for farmer outreach. We’re excited to share this delicious coffee and story of ABCD success with our community.
Purposeful coffee purchasing can transform unjust structures of society, like the traditional way of coffee trading in which farmers are coerced by middlemen loan sharks to sell their crop at an unfair price. Instead, NOCI facilitates a direct relationship between coffee farmers and drinkers. Our mission is to exemplify trade practice grounded in Christ’s love.
We are raising capital now to purchase beans from farmers. We invite you to join us in developing this partnership...
Pray with us. Please join us in praying for success in this mission to build a Christ-centered coffee partnership which empowers the least among us.
Pre-Order Coffee. Pre-order your roasted coffee for home, church, office or event at www.neworleanscoffeeimports.com.
Invest with us. Please contact Kellan at Kellan@neworleanscoffeeimports.com or 504-233-4402 for investment opportunities and business details.