Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated its sixty-eighth founding anniversary last July 15, 2020 at the Seminary Chapel A. Complying with the national protocols on physical distancing, the faculty and staff marked the first time PBTS held its first class session within the premises of Baguio Chinese Baptist Church sixty eight years ago on July 15, 1952.
‘Coping, Maintaining to Adapt’
The event included virtual and personal messages from previous presidents Dr. Joyce J. Abugan, Dr. Alfredo G. Saure, Dr. Leslie Hill. Board of Trustees members, chairperson Maria Theresa Yambao and Alumni Association president Dr. Lloyd Estrada also delivered their greetings through video. Dr. Michael H. Janapin, PBTS academic dean and Dr. Graham Walker, the president of Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary also delivered words of appreciation to mark the occasion.
“Here we are right now, wherein PBTS is rapidly changing its course of direction to the ‘new normal’, coping, maintaining to adapt to the new environment” says Yambao noting the seminary’s adjustment of the mode of theological education to more flexible means through online courses.
“The Corona virus pandemic is just one other symptom of this world that is decaying because of sin. How do we move forward?” says Estrada. “Well, we follow the example of our God. He confronted the chaos and confusion of this world with his love…The graduates of this seminary who we regard as outstanding and great, stand out because of love…love for God, love for God’s world, and love for the church of Jesus Christ.”
Seminary president Dr. Armand M. Canoy delivered a sermon from 1 John 3:1-3 emphasizing that like Christians expecting their transformation into “something more” towards Christ-likeness through faith, PBTS is also transforming into “more” than what it is through faith. “There is still more to PBTS being a seminary in a pandemic situation”, says Canoy. “Today we are very good resident and extension faculty members. But there is more to being resident and extension teachers. Tomorrow, we will be creative, responsive, and faithful online and remote learning teachers….Today we are survivors. But there is more to being a survivor. Tomorrow we will be victors.”
Canoy also includes the creation of a “new entity at PBTS” approved last March 2020 called, PBTS Integral Resource Ministries Incorporated or P.I.R.M.I. “This new corporation or institution under the direction of the same Board of Trustee Members of PBTS will handle all the business side of PBTS. Being a non-stock and non-profit organization does not guarantee tax-exemption anymore under this government. We have to do this because having greater income from facilities than the academic related income, will make PBTS tuition fees and dorm fees a taxable income as well. No one wants that to happen” says Canoy. “As a solution we will register under PIRMI our income earning facilities and abide by the new taxation regulation and expand the business using our facilities according to the guidelines of the government”.
“Seminary today, but there is more than being a seminary, tomorrow” Canoy continues. “It will be a seminary with a capacity to expand in gifting herself from its own facilities and other sides of business…As a child of God I give opportunity for faith. For sixty-eight years the Lord showed himself always providing in different ways. We are his children and with his lavish love we can rest assured, in fact, that we are more valuable than those sparrows.”
The Foundation Day celebration also recognized the retirement of Marilyn Valdez who has worked with PBTS for fifteen years together with Elizabeth Agwayaway who has been with PBTS for forty years working alongside seven of its presidents.
New administrative appointments were also recognized with Dr. Rosalie Jessica Raposa as the new Dean of Students, Dr. Ariston Bacaoco as the new Registrar, and Dr. Waldo Raposa as the new Associate Dean for ABGTS Philippines.
The celebration ended with a prayer of benediction and re-dedication offered by Dr. Robert Munson.