Giving an old story new purpose

Ellery Paraso Ortiz is proud of his family's long, involved history as Methodists, which stretches back to 1902, three years after the first Methodist church in the Philippines was planted in Manila.

A scholarship funded by the churchwide World Communion Sunday offering is helping him pursue a deeper understanding of his church's heritage from a Filipino perspective. It's an understanding he plans to share with others, so that a remarkable heritage can inspire a resilient future for his church and nation.

After earning two history degrees, Ortiz now focuses his attention on Methodism and church history. He wrote a published paper in 2009 on the church's role in the development of Filipino nationalism during the first two decades of American rule there (1898-1918). During his research, he discovered a need for more documenting and publishing of church history with Filipino perspectives and "with a different kind of methodology…to offer pastors, deaconesses and laity a different way to view their ministries," he says.

His own life has been steeped in ministry from his childhood in Manila, having served in leadership roles at local, district and conference levels. And he married a deaconess. "We are not economically blessed," he says, "but blessed with time and talent for the Lord."

Ortiz chairs his annual conference's Archives and History committee. "We are praying to organize the United Methodist Historical Society of the Philippines."

Studying at the University of Santo Tomas, where he is learning to be "meticulous and critical in research and analysis," has broadened his awareness of historical sources and modern perspectives. More than anything, he wants to "document this part of the world and it make it known."

The World Communion Scholarship, funded by our gifts on World Communion Sunday, may help Ellery Ortiz make known worldwide the story of Filipino Methodism in ways that can inspire new, indigenous perspectives on ministry and mission.

John W. Coleman, Director of Communication, Eastern Pennsylvania AC

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.

When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Give now.