The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Central Philippines
The Diocesan Seal
At the topmost portion of the inner versica is the miter which graces most Episcopal Church seals. It stands for the authority of the Bishop ( in Greek being Episcopos, from which the designation Episcopal is derived). The miter on its top the Greek letters IC XC, the ancient acronym for Iesous Christos or Jesus Christ. Below is the Greek word NIKA which means Victor or Conqueror. Put together it proclaims Jesus Christ the Conqueror (of sin and death). The miter is adorned with a design representing the motif of most art works of the indigenous people of Benguet against the backdrop of dominant brown color, the color of the Filipino skin. The context where Christ is proclaimed as Conqueror in the diocese is among the indigenous and other Filipino people residing in the provinces within the jurisdiction.
An unfurled scroll below the miter bears the words Zoe Aionios, life eternal, which Christ promised to give to the full (John 10:10). The words were retained in Greek to amply describe the divine quality of life shared by God in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This message of abundant life given by Jesus is also at the heart of the National Mission statement. The abundant life includes autonomy, the spaciousness in which we grow to be ourselves in relation to others in mutual responsibility and interdependence.
Below the scroll is the shield that resembles that which is found in the seal of the Diocese of Central Philippines. This indicates that this diocese once formed part of that diocese until its creation as a separate diocese in 1989. The shield I divided into four panels. The right topside panel bears the sun and stars found in the Filipino flag and is the seal of the Church Province. This situates us along with the lower left panel with the images of the highlands and lowlands, the miner’s pick and shovel, rice grains and sea with a boat.
The top left panel bears the symbol that graced the ECP’s inauguration as a Church Province. It becomes a constant focus of meditation and judgment as it artistically delivers the message,
“Kapit-bisig kay Kristo: tungo sa kasarinlan, katarungan at kapayapan”, (Arm-in-arm in Christ towards autonomy, justice and peace).
Detail: The Inauguration Logo of the autonomous ECP Province inscribed at the top left panel of the EDNCP seal
“The brown figures are those of a church spire at the same time two arms holding a cross reaffirming that Christ’s mission in the Philippines has to be made flesh into the lives of our people. The two arms working with singleness of purpose represent communion reminding us that we are a community embracing a common history, facing a common challenge and pursuing a common vision. These images suggest KAPIT-BISIG. KAPIT-BISIG is not just the gentle holding of hands by lovers on promenade but a powerful Filipino symbolism that conjures up images of men, women and children with interlocked arms actively affirming their rights. It stirs images of people kapit-bisig stopping tanks in their tracks, of unarmed urban poor digging in their ramshackle (homes) from demolition, or of indigenous peoples standing shoulder to shoulder to defend their ancestral lands. KAPIT-BISIG means strength through self-reliant and collective action. It is vulnerable humans steeling themselves into a powerful bastion by their decision to share anxieties and hopes. It is a bastion fortified and inspired by the cross.
The toiling brown color expresses the particularities of the Filipino race which we hope to offer and contribute to the harmony of nations and never us a license for erecting racial barriers amongst people. It also stands for the land fertilized by the sacrifices of our forbears and present martyrs who have selflessly given their lives in order that our generations and future generations may have life and have it abundantly. It gives due recognition to the solemn reverence that our people have for the land which they culturally equate with life and (over) which God the source of life has called us to exercise stewardship.
Communities of peace are forged in common struggles. This reality is subtly expressed by Artist Taklin Reyes as a dove in peaceful, heavenly blue color which upon closer probing becomes the image of God’s terrible (swift) sword. The flaming red color symbolizes the burning zeal of prophets and heroes. It is the color of martyrdom. It is the color of Christ’s blood shed for us and for our salvation- a jolting reminder that the path to peace is the path of the cross. The road to peace is seldom strewn with flowers but drenched with the red blood of martyrs who have given their lives that others may live.
Philippine history is rich with stories of people’s movements asserting the peace that defends life in all its aspects and justice that accords to everyone his or her right to make life more meaningful. Peace and justice are features of Kingdom as foretold by the prophets and declared on many occasions by Christ. Peace and justice remain a project which every Filipino hopes to participate in building amidst powers and principalities that continually frustrate his or her efforts. It is an agenda which the autonomous Episcopal Church of the Philippines hope to address. Autonomy then becomes a reflection of maturity in the willingness to share the divine nature in traversing the route to the Kingdom. Indeed, His kingdom draws near wherever human communities inaugurate structures of peace and justice.”
(From http://www.episcopalchurchinphilippines.com/lecp2/index.php/north-central-philippines/9-h and Botengan. pp. 64f.)
(Excerpts from the book WITH BIGGER EYES AND HEART IN HEAD, ON BEING ANGLICAN IN POST-WINDSOR TIME by Artemio Masweng Zabala foreward by Frederich Houk Borsch, pp.264-267)
A Brief History
The Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines was born from the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines (EDCP) by virtue of the 1989 joint Convention creating a separate diocese from the mother Central Diocese. With Baguio City as its centre, EDNCP is one of the seven dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
The Diocese has present jurisdiction over six (6) provinces in three regions namely: the mountainous province of Benguet (including Baguio City) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); the hilly province of La Union and flatland’s of Pangasinan (including the cities of San Fernando, Dagupan, and San Carlos) in Region 1; and the lowland provinces of Zambales, Pampanga and Tarlac in Region 3.
Presently, there are about a hundred congregations in the diocese spreed over six deaneries: Mt. Trail, Metro-Baguio, Southwest Benguet, Goldfields, La Union and Zampan Deanery.
By the year 2018, we envision a dynamic and vibrant church of caring, witnessing and mission-oriented parishes.
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines exists to proclaim with integrity the fulfilling of God’s mission in this world by proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God; baptizing, teaching and nurturing new believers, responding to human needs by loving service; and seeking to transform unjust structures of society.
To equip both clergy and lay with arms and instruments that is effective in the ministry through continuous and responsive education and training.
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