Starting in Baguio, our group took a jeepney (a popular form of public transport) up the long and windy road to Central Kibungan, where the road ends. We hiked in the mountains on a small path that led us through rice paddies, terraced gardens, and swinging bridges. This path is what the people living in the mountains use to commute to the city to buy necessities, attend school, and sell products. After three and a half hours, we reached our destination: a small cluster of homes, a school, and a building that hosts informal Christian Science services and meetings – it is ‘informal’ as they are not listed in the Christian Science Journal, yet have been meeting as a Christian Science congregation for decades. We met with members from the Central Kibungan Group and the New Polis Group, getting to hear healings, gratitude, problems they are facing, and progress. They asked us to sing hymns with them so they could learn the tune of some of their favourites. Everyone gathered at one of the homes for a meal, and off to bed we went.
The following morning, the community once again ate together. We then started our next trek in the mountains up to the Liwen-Ewa Group. This journey was five and a half hours, and was on a path that is not heavily traveled.
After eating lunch at the First Reader’s home with other members, we saw their Church and headed to Baguio City for the Wednesday Evening Testimony meeting. The service concluded and our group was able to introduce ourselves and share about our organisations. We mingled with the members as we ate dinner in the church.
It was remarkable to see Christian Science being practiced and lived in the remote mountains of Beguet, Philippines. It was truly a demonstration of healing and the fulfillment of this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound” (559:8-10).
The next day was spent with the outreach program of the Baguio Church. We were given a tour of their new church building, and headed to a government development centre for young men. We spent time with a group of about 10 teenagers, hearing about some of the issues they face, talking about God, and participating in a few activities to help us relate to one another. Some of the boys attend the Baguio Sunday School, and it was great to hear them speak about the importance of God in their lives. After saying goodbyes, we headed up to Happy Toes: a daycare run by members of the Baguio Church. We played with some of the kids and met up with other members of the Baguio Church. It was beautiful to see how warm, loving, and joyful the Baguio Church and Church-members are. They are so open and willing to share Christian Science with others. We all felt very welcomed into their church family, and felt Spirit!
The Centennial Event started on Saturday, and it was great to see so many guests come from all over the Philippines. The program included sharing the history of Christian Science in Manila, Baguio, and the groups in the mountains. We sang hymns, heard about Christian Science nursing from the Tenacre group, had a talk given by John Quincy Adams III, saw a presentation and short film from the Longyear Museum, and had a Q&A session with Mr. Adams and
Jerome, a local Journal-listed practitioner, about the Christian Science Practice. On Sunday, the Sunday School students gave a performance of hymn singing, and we heard a bit about Lorilyn’s job as the Communications Coordinator for the Clerk’s office of the Mother Church in the Philippines. We then shared about Crystal Lake Camps with a little camp show.
Overall the event was extremely inspiring. It was wonderful to witness the sense of togetherness amongst all of the churches, groups, societies, and organisations. The sense of community and family was very apparent, and the love and joy for Christian Science was seen and felt by all. We are so grateful to have been invited to attend this event, and look forward to more sharing, healing, and collaboration with our Philippine family.
– Becca DeNicholas, CLC Director