The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht have been in full communion with the Philippine Independent Church since 1965. Their cooperation has been strengthened in several areas in recent years. Discussions on how to provide Philippine immigrants to Europe with their own church community are now bearing their first tangible fruit.
The foundation of a new Philippine congregation in Amsterdam was celebrated in the city’s Old Catholic church on Sunday 19 June, 2011. Following a six-month ‘trial period’ with monthly services, the time had come to open an official Philippine church community in the Netherlands. To mark the occasion, a special service was attended by some 60 people, including high-ranking guests such as employees from the umbrella organisation of immigrant churches in the Netherlands and members of the Philippine parliament who were visiting the country. Cesar Tabuga welcomed the worshippers, and Bishop Dirk Jan Schoon and Rev. Peter-Ben Smit celebrated the Eucharist. A group of musicians performed during the service, which was followed by a commemoration of the Philippine independence fighter José Rizal, who was born 150 years ago.
Relating to business, the regulations for the new church community were discussed and approved. Finally, the members of the church council were elected.
The new congregation builds on the relations between the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands, the Philippine Independent Church, and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (which encompasses six Protestant Churches). It falls under the jurisdiction of Bishop Dirk Jan Schoon. Services will be held in the Old Catholic church in Amsterdam at 2 pm on the third Sunday of each month, followed by activities aimed at improving the situation of immigrants and paperless citizens in the Netherlands.
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