[gallery type="rectangular" ids="5448,5457,5456,5455,5454,5453,5452,5451,5450,5449"] On Sunday, October 20, 2013 the Bicutan UU Church in Metro-Manila installed its first minister, Rev. Ma. Theresa (Tet) Gallardo. The church's new chapel, which was dedicated one year ago, was filled to overflowing with people. And, the spirit of the gathering was both inspiring and exciting. Special guest participants in the installation service included representatives of Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist groups in Manila as well as a group of musicians specializing in the indigenous music of the Philippines. Rev. Gallardo joined the children of the church in a beautiful covenanting ritual that reflected the multigenerational commitment of the Bicutan church. Messages of solidarity were read from Rev. Peter Morales (President, UUA), Rev. Brian Kiely (President, International Council of UUs), Rev. Fred Muir (UUA Ambassador to the UUCP), Rev. Carol Huston (President, International Convocation of UU Women) and Rev. Diane Rollert (Minister, UU Church of Montreal). The theme of the service was 'Asserting UUism in the Phlippines." In the installation sermon, Rev. Eric Cherry recalled a message from Matthew 7:16 that good plants are recognized by their fruits:
...to ‘assert’ UUism in the Philippines, you’re going to have to provide some really good fruit. And, when you do, people are going to know that its source is also very good. And, how wonderful it will be when they discover that the source is you. This very church. This very minister. This very congregation – bearing good fruit. And, by it, they will know you.Rev. Gallardo was ordained by the UU Church of the Philippines in April, 2013. She brings decades of professional leadership experience to this new responsibility, as well as deep connections within the LGBT community in Manila. She accepted the installation with humility and grace, and looks forward to the shared ministry that she and this church are poised to pursue. Congratulations and godspeed to the Bicutan church and Rev. Gallardo. May your ministry together be a blessing.