Adventist Church in South Philippines strengthens ties with Muslim Communities
Zamboanga Peninsula Mission (ZPM) - the church’s regional office for south western Mindanao and the Muslim-dominated islands of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi hosted the first ever Adventist-Muslim Relations fellowship meal at ZPM’s function hall last September 20, 2018. The said event was graced by 32 prominent figureheads of the Muslim community of which 14 are ustadz (teachers in Arabic), 11 are imams (worship leaders), and 7 are panglimas (tribal leaders). The delegation was headed by Ustadz Sarabi Camsain, president of the Ulama Council of Ipil, and Hon. Farida Dangpalan, a member of the municipal council of Ipil. Central to the Fellowship’s agenda was to promote camaraderie and foster cooperation in areas of interest.
Before the meal, ZPM President Dr. Elvin R. Salarda took everyone down memory lane and lauded the visitors on the role of the Muslim ancestors in protecting the ‘people of the Book’ in Biblical times, stressing that when Abraham died, Ishmael (Muslim) offered an abode to Isaac (Sabbath-Keeping Christians) as what older brothers should do. Salarda added that if we ought to bridge the gap between Christians and Muslims, Adventists may serve as a catalyst to bring the two polarized groups together. Southern Asia- Pacific Division communication director Pastor Mamerto Guingguing II echoed Salarda’s sentiments adding that since the two groups have many things in common they could create a common platform whereby Christians and Muslims could reach out to each other.
In an applauded response, Hon. Dangpalan hailed this event as “momentous and historic” noting such event as exemplary. UCI Chair Camsain had his moments when he called the Adventists as the Muslims’ younger siblings that are mature in their relationship to Allah because they abhor drinking liquor and gambling - acts that are called out for total abstinence by the Holy Qur’an.
The friendship ceremony was celebrated with a Halal-prepared meal where everyone was treated to complementary Muslim and Adventist foods.
This writer chanced upon a Muslim participant who said “We look forward to inviting you the soonest. It is so compelling to know that I have brothers and sisters on the other side. Meeting them and being recognized as their older brother put every Muslim here on a higher sense of honour.”
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.