JUST a few weeks ago, the Asia Reach Ministries (ARM), a Mission Ministry of Midland Baptist Church, celebrated its first year anniversary with the different Baptist Churches in Pampanga and some guest pastors in other provinces of the country.

The ARM is under the field directorship of Pastor Reland Francisco of the Grace Gospel Baptist Church. He is much active in planning and organizing church leader’s conferences and activities and even livelihood programs for pastors and congregations all throughout the Philippines.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Enlightening series of talks on the Bible and other religious teachings were expressed while followers and Baptist members attentively listened.

Rev. Mario Locsin of the Grace Gospel Baptist Church of Cebu City was the key speaker of the talks on Christianity and the kingdom of God.

Worthy to laud is Pastor Vergel Galang who anchored well the talks and other segments of the celebration as well as the indefatigable former Arayat councilor Chona Oronce, Founder/CEO of The Great Source Foundation, Inc.

After such revealing and awakening preaching activity, guests comprised of prominent personalities in the field of politics, civic groups and the religious were invited in front to speak out their messages to the event.

Among the first to express their support to the endeavor was Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio who well-wished the different Baptists Churches for organizing such event. As a former man of the cloth, Panlilio shared his views on religion and Christianism.

The ever active Edwin Santiago, the presiding officer and City Vice-Mayor of San Fernando shared his thoughts on how to live a Christian and worthy life vis-à-vis his life of service to the public. EDSA, a known leader close to the masses was much applauded for his Christian beliefs and viewpoints on the goodness of God to man. With his low-keyed, preacher-like voice, many would see him more of a pastor rather than a politician.

After the manifestations of some of the local officials invited came the second part of the affair. The different Baptists Churches held a question and answer forum-type discussion among the politicians and aspirants who came. I’ve learned that the pastors and their flocks are now more aware of the different political trends and current issues besetting our society.

I can see that our brothers and sisters in the religious community are now more involved. I was told that the purpose of the said activity was to help their pastors and Church members for some guidance in selecting their candidates this May 2010 elections. As they are for good governance, invited some politicians in the likes of three-term former Mayor of Sasmuan town and now Provincial Board Member Catalina Bagasina who represents her ALE Party List (Association of Laborers and Employers). She was asked as to what are her plans and programs as the founder and national president of the labor sector Party List group.

Aleng Lina answered confidently that what she is advocating is on improving the lives and providing for the welfare of workers for she believes that it is also Christian to help improve the way of live of others. Bagasina is known not just for her pro-poor, pro-masses advocacies but on her religiosity and God-fearing attitude.

During the forum, a special guest came in the person of Ms. Susan “Toots” Ople who is running for Senator. She is the daughter of former Senator Blas Ople, the father of the Labor Code. Like Aleng Lina, she stands for the rights and welfare of workers as she vowed to continue what his father has started.

The activity was worth attending. It was enlightening not just on the spiritual aspect but on politics, economy and policies as well. It’s a good thing that pastors are now more aware of what is happening in our society, what are the needs of the people and what do our leaders need to provide.

The forum held was an eye-opener for the electorates particularly those who are in the Baptist religious community. It serves as an avenue where aspirants can express their views, plans and programs for their would-be constituents.

While many are saying that religion and politics would not mix. There are times however when the religious needs to listen and express themselves but not to extent of meddling into the affairs of each others world. The religious, such as the Baptist Churches are also citizens and subjects of the state, thereby deserves to listen and also be heard.

Congratulations to the Asia Reach Ministries (ARM) for an activity that was truly a success in the name of spirituality and good governance.