HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What a journey we had in 2016! Here’s a bunch of stories we shared to our accountability partners here in the Philippines.
Our focus in the year 2017 is to establish Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities in the five provinces of Panay Island. In the last quarter of 2016, we have initiated PAR community organization in the Province of Capiz. We are also praying and working on organizing and establishing PAR Communities in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, and Iloilo.
For the past 5 years, we’ve been praying to start a PAR movement in Western Visayas. We have assigned Twinkle ‘Tala’ Alngag Bautista as our lead person and field manager for this specific task. Tala is a seasoned field team leader who successfully established PAR communities in Bukidnon, Mindoro Occidental, and Kalinga.
This is a part of a protracted, active, nonviolent, radical transformation.
PAR PHILIPPINES: VISION 2020
Imagine. By December 31st, 2020, each of our provinces will have a circle of leaders called Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities! They would serve as the catalysts to organize PAR Teams in their municipalities or cities. These PAR Teams, in turn, would serve as radical transformation volunteers in their respective families, churches, neighbourhoods, barangays, cities or municipalities. The PAR Teams would also get involved in PAR Programs that are relevant to their specific context.
We are operating in 33 out of 81 provinces in the Philippines as of January 2016 — 20 in Mindanao, 4 in Visayas, 09 in Luzon.
These PAR Communities and the PAR Teams they have organized would be the backbone of a national PAR Movement. Then we can see, and we can count on, a well-equipped, efficiently-organized, and effectively-mobilized Peace and Reconciliation constituency.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
For now, let’s work on how we can establish at least one PAR Community in each of the 81 provinces in our country.
So, how do we get there from here?
1. Find a Person of Peace in the province. Many would claim themselves to be the person of peace in the whole province. Beware of that person! He might want to use us in his or her personal interest, be it amassing material wealth or gaining political power. We are simply looking for a person of peace.
This principle is from Jesus’ instruction to the seventy people he sent out:
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” (Luke 10:5-7 NIV)
A person of peace must be discerned and would have the following characteristics:
- Prioritizes Kingdom values in her or his life. Righteousness, justice, peace, and mercy are very important to this person.
- Earns the respect of people. This person’s family and community regard him or her as trustworthy.
- Accepts and welcomes strangers. This person is hospitable.
- Cares about your safety and security. This person becomes your protector.
- Expands your connections to a network of key leaders. This person serves as your ‘public relations officer’.
The person of peace who practice a set of biblical leadership ethics must also be discerned communally. The discernment process will be done in consultation with each province’s fellowship of pastors and Christian leaders. PAR Leaders are respected women- and men-of-peace who are actively modelling a person who demonstrates
- a heart of a servant;
- a soul of a teacher;
- a mind of a manager; and,
- the strength of a leader.
2. Arrange an exploratory meeting with a group of leaders in a given province. These leaders must be endorsed and gathered by the PAR Leader who is also our trusted Person of Peace. The objectives of this meeting are:
- to present the Vision 2020 to the leaders in a given province
- to get a commitment from those leaders to organize themselves as a PAR Community
- to get a commitment from the new PAR Community to gather a minimum of 25 interested participants to go through PAR Seminar Series
3. Facilitate PAR Seminar Series among the leaders. The PAR Community will have to provide the food, lodging and transportation expenses for the PBCI training team of 3-5 people, the seminar venue, participants’ food and lodging, and the cost of training materials. Copies of the Peace and Reconciliation Resource Manual can be ordered from the PeaceBuilders Community by emailing our PAR Consulting Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
4. Facilitate the organization of PAR Communities in every province under the leadership of the PAR Leader or the person of peace. These PAR Communities are groups of community leaders—church leaders, local government leaders, non-government organization leaders, or any mix of these—
- who have expressed interest to have a working relationship with us as a consulting and training team focused on Peace and Reconciliation;
- who have made a commitment to embrace Peace Theology;
- who have invited us to teach them our PAR Seminar Series;
- who have a vision to work with us in developing a PAR Program needed in their area; and,
- who have organized themselves as a catalyst group to organize PAR Teams in their particular province.
5. Assist the provincial PAR Communities in organizing municipal or city PAR Teams. PAR Teams are composed of local volunteers from various communities who are trained for 8 months to be an on-going, rapidly-mobilized teams who will implement their PAR Communities’ programs. The general objectives of PAR Teams are:
- to promote peace and reconciliation in our land by giving skilled, courageous support to communities experiencing various conflicts
- to inspire various parties-in-conflict to discard violence in favor of nonviolent action as a means of settling differences
- to provide various communities with first-hand information and resources for responding to situations of conflict, and to urge their active involvement
- to interpret a nonviolent perspective to the media and to our nation as a whole
6. Develop PAR Program. PAR Communities are encouraged to discern — through prayer and research — the most important and urgent need of their province. This can be done consultation with the Body of Christ and local government units in their province. The output of this discernment process would be a project proposal that can be submitted to appropriate prospective funding partners from the donor community. Examples of PAR Programs include:
- Community Organization
- Peace Education
- Armed Conflict Area Survival Training
- Fact-Finding Missions
- Conflict Transformation
- Disaster Preparedness
- Trauma Healing
- Inter-Faith Dialogue
- Cross-Cultural Communications
- Fair Trade Initiatives
PAR Programs are best implemented by PAR Teams in their own local contexts.
7. Initiate field testing of the new PAR Teams. The PAR Teams will be deployed on the field to test their newly-acquired training. This will be done through the supervision of the the PAR Community. PBCI would serve as technical consultants.
8. Facilitate Training of Teachers to expand PAR Program. Based on the evaluation and learning from the field, PBCI would conduct a Training of Teachers’ Seminar.
9. Encourage the new PAR Community to start a PAR Community in a new province. We need to reach all 81 provinces in our country by 2020. We believe that through faith, prayers, dependence on the Holy Spirit, and exponential qualitative training of PAR volunteers, this will become a reality.
10. Repeat the above process 1-9 in each province. May God bless the spread and multiplication of this PAR Movement.
A NON-VIOLENT, RADICAL TRANSFORMATION
God willing, by January 01, 2021, the PAR Communities in all the provinces of the Philippines would advance as a Peace and Reconciliation Movement with an integrated framework for peace-building, who are organized in partnership with various parts of the People of God, who are mobilized to do ministries of justice and peace in the name of Jesus, and who will lovingly serve all the peoples of our land unconditionally regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political ideology, to the end that our land will experience holistic, radical transformation!
Using an integrated framework for peace-building, PBCI will serve each PAR Community to be equipped in spiritually-energized social discernment and analysis.
1. We will serve each PAR Community by equipping them with certain spiritual discernment skills and social analytical tools to help them understand the issues causing the crises they are facing in their particular province. By having a clear discernment and analysis of their situation, they can make relevant and effective crisis intervention.
2. We will encourage them to look beyond their current crises and to envision a future when there is genuine peace and reconciliation in their particular province. This vision is characterized by the kind of social structures and relationships they would desire. Such long term vision will help them discern the root causes of the crises they are facing and will also help them look through the taken-for-granted facades of social realities that keep the cycle or recurrence of their crises.
3. We will walk with them, in each ‘level of response’ and through ‘the time frame of activity,’ as they move from their crises to their desired change. We will offer how our understanding of shalom transformation (spiritual, psycho-social, socio-political, and economic-ecological) would guide their journey towards their desired future.
May this vision be counted as one of the many prayers for the transformation of our beloved country. May God bring genuine peace and reconciliation among our people and in our land!