Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Approximately 500 Filipino church members gather for a convocation at the Tranquil Valley Retreat Center.

Inaugural Filipino East Convocation Convenes

Story by Mario Thorp

The Filipino churches of the Eastern part of the U.S. recently convened for a convocation at the Tranquil Valley Retreat Center in Andover, N.J., for spiritual and physical revival and renewal. Spearheaded by the New Jersey Conference Filipino district steering committee, chaired by Emmanuel Jardiniano, pastor of the Filipino English and Filipino International churches, the event had a timely theme of “Go Forward in Unity.” With the theme song, “One Church in Unity,” composed by church members Johanne Veraque Jardinico and music by her mother, Felucille Veraque, voices reverberated through the gym walls with power and glory for the God who unites. President Jorge Aguero and Executive Secretary Mario Thorp opened the convocation at vespers Friday evening, and Treasurer Karen Senecal joined them for Sabbath services.

On Sabbath morning through the afternoon, approximately 500 people worshipped and fellowshipped together, led by speakers Vic Louis Arreola III, the North American Division (NAD) Asian Pacific Ministries director; Jose Cortes, Jr., NAD Ministerial associate director for evangelism; Ronald Obidos, Hope Channel’s Philippines & Back to the Scripture host; and Jason Hovey, Muslim Ministries specialist. Ramon Baldovino, pastor from Potomac Conference’s Filipino-American Capital church in Beltsville, Md., spoke to the youth and young adults.

“So much warmth and fellowship continued through the Sabbath evening for the Social and Cultural night and Sunday for the much-awaited Sportsfest!” says Irma Florendo-Cordero, the communication director for the First Filipino convocation. “Indeed, it was a wonderful and blessed convocation, a weekend to remember and a glimpse of what heaven will be like when the Lord’s children are united in love and in the spirit of servitude. All who came left with a smile on their faces, much joy in their hearts and renewed faith in the Lord who unites.”

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