The HISTORY of the TAYTAY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
(from the TRUMPET Sept. 1997)
METHODISM came to the people of Taytay, Rizal following a series of eye-opening events that led certain townfolks to examine and search for the true essence of the Christian faith. To mention a few of such events: in the year 1910, the town Roman Catholic priest, Father Valentin Tanyag, had a difference of opinion with Celedonio Medina, the then town music band conductor, with regard to entrusting the band directorship to Felipe Marin. This resulted in the breakup of the town band and the formation of two bands – the Banda Makapare and the Banda Makabayan. The former was composed of those who sided with the priest. The latter on the other hand, enjoyed the support of Honesto Gonzaga, President of the town at that time and the father of the late Enrique Gonzaga, a church layleader.
New Form of Religion
Another unfortunate incident occurred in 1912 when two groups had a rivalry for leadership in the celebration of the feast of San Roque. Followers of both camps vied to outdo the other, scrambling for the possession of the wooden images representing the different saints. These events and other sources of friction between the two groups led some people of Taytay to seek for a new form of religion that will proclaim the true meaning of the Christian faith. The situation was ripe for the entry of Methodism in Taytay.
Two Prominent Rizalenos
Two prominent Rizalenos from Malabon became instrumental in spreading the message of the Gospel to the people of Taytay. They were Judge Pedro Pascual and Pastor Agaton Pascual. Judge Pedro Pascual, who was a town judge served as a strong influence and spiritual guide converting the town people to Jesus through his exemplary life as a Christian and his enthusiastic manner of preaching. Judge Pascual was the first to plant the seed of the Methodist faith among the hearts of the people of Taytay by going around the community during his free hours and sharing with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the seventh annual session of the Philippine Annual Conference of the Methodist Espiscopal Church in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Agaton Pascual, a Methodist student pastor, was officially appointed as Pastor of Marikina and Taytay under one pastorate called the Marikina Circuit. Pastor Pascual conducted evengelistic preaching all over the town with courage, zeal and dedication despite the hostile attitude displayed by many people who initially opposed the new religion. Evangelistic meetings were stoned. Soon, the number of converted souls grew rapidly as people turned away from sin and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Early Converts – the Pioneers
Among the early converts were Pedro Gonzaga, Honesto Gonzaga, Enrique Gonzaga, Vicente Espiritu, Francisco Felizardo, Victorino de Leon, Elino Arboleda, Miguel Esguerra, Leoncio Tamayo, Teodora Araullo, Guillermo del Rosario, Martin Paz, Gervacio Bunyi, the Sanvictores Family and many others. Thus was born the pioneer Methodist congregation in Taytay.
First Methodist Chapel
On June 15, 1914, the first formal worship service was held at the residence of Miguel
Esguerra along J. Asilo St. Pastor Agaton Pascual led in purchasing a lot and in constructing the first Methodist Chapel on that site before ending his term in 1916. The conference year that followed was served by Pastor Regino Martin. It was during this year that the chapel was finally completed and dedicated by Rev. Daniel S. Klinefelter, then Superintendent of Manila District. The period 1917 to 1919 in turn was filled by Pastor Balbino Gatdula, best remembered for his evangelistic preaching at the town market every Saturday evening.
It has been a policy of the Methodist Church that ministers are given yearly appointments by the Bishop who finalized and read such assignments during the annual conference. The matter of ministerial appointments subjected the Taytay Church to controversy when in 1956, the newly designated pastor for Taytay, Rev. Eladio M. Reyes, was not able to occupy the pulpit assigned by then Bishop Jose L. Valencia. The incumbent minister at that time, Pastor David M. Candelaria (assigned to Taytay for ten consecutive years), with the backing of some church members, refused to transfer to his new appointment at Tangos Methodist Church in Navotas, Rizal. After due notice and hearing by a special committee convened for the purpose, Pastor Candelaria was expelled from the Methodist Ministry.
A New Corporation
The group supporting Pastor Candelaria then formed a new corporation named Taytay Methodist Community Church, even as they refused to vacate the chapel and the parsonage. To address the matter, a civil case was filed by Atty. Juan Nabong with the Court of First Instance of Rizal and was eventually elevated to the Court of Appeals.
A New Church Building
During the years of litigation, the congregation under Rev. Eladio Reyes, held worship services in several venues; notably: (1) the premises of the late German Esguerra, Sr., (2) the old building of the Juan Sumulong Junior College, the founders of which consisted of prominent members of the church; and (3) the garage of Atty. Avelino Pascual’s (son of Judge Pedro Pascual) house. Thereafter, the church members, through the help of World Mission, purchased a lot in Barangay San Isidro, where a new church building and parsonage were built in 1963.
Seven years later, during the administration of Rev. Eduardo Cajuiat, the construction of a four-story educational building (now the elementary department of the Taytay United Methodist Christian School) commenced on a 1,500 sq. meter lot across the street where the church was built. Part of this lot was donated by Atty. Avelino Pascual, in memory of his late father, Judge Pedro Pascual.
In 1972, the court handed down its decision on the civil case in favor of the Mother Church, then already referred to as the Taytay United Methodist Church (TUMC). Consequently, the church and the parsonage at Rizal Avenue were acquired back by the TUMC congregation. Both buildings, then in sorry state of disrepair, were improved with the financial cooperation of some members. The parsonage was subsequently inhabited by the assistant/associate pastors assigned to Taytay, while the church was used again for church activities.
The years 1972 – 1976 were trying times for the church. The maintenance of two church buildings and the continuing financial requirements of an unfinished educational building in San Isidro were taking their toll. At one point, the idea of selling the property at Rizal Avenue was considered, but was prevented by members who valued that property for sentimental reasons. Today, the Bayan and Dulo Church Buildings stand as living testimony to the faith and loyalty of the members and to the ever-growing ministries of Methodist constituents in Taytay.
Growth of the Church
The history of the growth of Methodism in Taytay would not be complete without noting the missionary and evangelistic endeavors pursued by TUMC. Through the years, the Taytay United Methodist Church’s mission continued to grow like a fruitful tree, branching out into the neighboring towns of Antipolo, Angono, and Mandaluyong (Highway Hills), and the communities of Villa Lolita, and Amazing Grace (whose congregations eventually became independent), Sapang Pila, Spring of Life, Philec, Floodway and Parola.
A significant aim of the church’s outreach program was the establishment of the Kiddie Garden center, which could be rightfully claimed as the pioneer and continuing leader among kindergarten schools in the town. It has been the main objective of this Center to strengthen the intellectual, moral and spiritual fibers of the children of church members and non-members alike through high quality yet affordable pre-school education. This eventually gave rise to the present TAYTAY UNITED METHODIST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, INC. Since then, the school has earned for itself a distinct reputation as a place for educational and spiritual nurture of elementary and high school students. To some extent, the parents of these students have also been influenced favorably.
The church also became actively involved in the Helping Hand Children’s Project founded with the help of World Vision Philippines, Inc. Under the project, the physical, spiritual, moral, educational and financial needs of about 350 children belonging to 300 families were taken care of . Out of this project mushroomed lives which eventually became fruitful workers in our Lord’s vineyard as Sunday School teachers, UMYF, UMYAF, WSCS, and UMM leaders, seminary graduates, local and mission pastors. Since the time the project has ended, the church, through the Outreach and Witness Ministries continues its mission work.
Over the years, the life of the Taytay United Methodist Church has been marked by further rapid growth in its mission and evangelism, nurture and outreach programs. Because of the strong reliance in the faithfulness of our Lord God, TUMC has been considered as the flagship of the Philippines Annual Conference-East.