News Release

Interfaith Luncheon Fosters Unity and Cooperation in Southern Manila

To help advance interreligious cooperation and understanding in Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and nearby areas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with leaders and friends from other faiths at the Las Piñas Stake Center on May 16, 2024.

Representatives from local faith organizations, including the Shrine of the Five Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, United Methodist Church, El Shaddai, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, attended the event.

During the luncheon, these local leaders and representatives from various faiths engaged in meaningful discussions on the importance of strong family relationships, effective parenting dynamics, and the essential role of a faith-based environment at home, among other topics.

Sister Veronica Dela Paz from the Shrine of Five Wounds parish also spoke passionately about the importance of addressing climate change. “Protecting the environment is one way we can thank the Lord,” she said.

Pastor Jun Matundan from the United Methodist Church emphasized that next to God, family should always come first. He highlighted the centrality of family in all aspects of life. Brother Julieto Gedoria from the El Shaddai group also focused on the crucial role of family in spiritual and social life.

Sister Elizabeth Alcantara from the Seventh-day Adventist Church stressed the need to raise a God-fearing nation by nurturing good, moral children.

Las Piñas Philippines Stake President Nomar Nivera expressed his appreciation to all those who attended the luncheon and committed to more discussions regarding future activities to enhance the relationships and initiatives borne from the event.

“The interfaith luncheons provide a venue for us to unite in taking care of God's children and his creation, even if we have different beliefs and doctrines. This is a great opportunity for them to know who we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Nivera said.

Interfaith Relations and the Church of Jesus Christ

Respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all world faiths is one of the hallmarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

From the faith's earliest days, Joseph Smith Jr. elevated the principle of religious liberty and tolerance: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11).

It is important to note that interfaith cooperation does not require doctrinal compromise. Though the Church asserts its ecclesiastical independence and recognizes its doctrinal differences, this does not prevent it from partnering with other faiths in charitable projects. These efforts are based on universal values. A different interpretation of the atonement of Christ, for example, need not diminish the mandate of Christ to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a separation between charitable efforts and doctrinal tenets while, at the same time, sharing mutual concern for those in need. People of good faith do not need to have the exact same beliefs in order to accomplish great things in the service of their fellow human beings.

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