News Release

PH Religious Groups Honor Elder Bangerter's Contributions to Interfaith Dialogue

Elder Steven R. Bangerter, Philippines Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recognized on May 23, 2024, by Uniharmony Partners Manila, Religions for Peace, and the Manila Church People Ecumenical Fellowship for his exemplary leadership and selfless commitment during his years of service in the Philippines.

At an interfaith luncheon in Makati City celebrating the third anniversary of the One Ecumenical Family Fellowship, the interfaith groups presented Elder Bangerter with a commemorative plaque of appreciation for his efforts to promote peace and understanding among people of different faiths and beliefs in the Philippines. He was honored for inspiring "countless individuals to engage in meaningful conversations and collaborative actions across religious lines."

“Because Elder Bangerter is finishing his term in the Philippines and is moving to another mission, we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest and utmost gratitude to him,” said Dr. Pablito “Bong” Baybado, Jr., coordinator of Uniharmony Partners Manila.

After more than five years of service in the Philippines Area, Elder Bangerter has been assigned to serve as the First Counselor of the North America Central Area Presidency, alongside Elder Randall Bennett, President, and Elder Ricardo Gimenez, Second Counselor.

A plaque of appreciation was presented to Elder Bangerter. It was signed by 12 representatives of religious groups, all of whom are deeply involved in promoting interreligious dialogue and fostering interfaith relations in the Philippines.

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I like the notion that this is a celebration of one ecumenical family. I love that it is connected to and, really, at its foundation, all about oneness,” Elder Bangerter said.

“Every time we have been with you, we have been re-energized. Every time we have been with you, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in all he taught has grown more deeply. We felt it from you, and you have been part of us,” he added.

One Ecumenical Family Unity Statement

The event also featured the Unity Statement prepared and signed by representatives of eight Christian groups in the Philippines in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country.

According to their statement, these groups desire continued interfaith cooperation to help fight poverty, protect the exploited and oppressed, and promote basic human rights in the Philippines.

“We commit to defend the sacredness of life and the fundamental rights of every human being; support gender equality in morally legitimate ways and promote efforts that advocate a more prominent role of women in the church and society,” the statement read.

“We furthermore commit to social justice and a simpler way of life; engage in peacebuilding and protect our sovereignty; and address consumerism and climate change. We pledge to pursue all these common advocacies as expressions of faith in our respective traditions and in the spirit of ecumenism,” it added.

The nine signatory religious groups of the Unity Statement include the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs (CBCP-ECEA), CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (CBCP-ECMR), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), and the Iglesia Unida Ekyumenika (IUE).

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