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Peace Church Philippines begins


Peace Church Philippines gathers regularly at the home of Christina and Darnell Barkman, Mennonite Church Canada workers in Philippines. Here they take part in a Thanksgiving meal.

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October 12, 2012
-Deborah Froese

Winnipeg, MAN. — Darnell and Christina Barkman left Canada several months ago as Mennonite Church Canada workers with Integrated Mennonite Church (IMC) of the Philippines. Their goal: to plant a peace church in Metro Manila, Philippines. 

Since 2008, Mennonite Church Canada has appreciated a deepening relationship with IMC, a connection enhanced with the partnership of Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) based in Davao, Mindanao. PCBI is the ministry of Dann and Joji Pantoja, Mennonite Church Canada workers in the Philippines since 2006. Together, IMC and PCBI envisioned a congregation that would actively spread God’s message of peace and reconciliation and rebuild broken relationships, both inter-personally and nationally.

This vision is taking root. Peace Church Philippines has begun to gather regularly in the Barkman home. “We love spending time getting to know this amazing group of people who are so eager to be the church with us,” Christina Barkman reports.

Although some of their new friends were introduced to them by the Pantojas and other mentors, they have been making additional connections. With the two young Barkman boys in tow—Makai, 6 months and Cody, age 2—Christina is getting to know other mothers and their children at the local playground. Darnell is making new friends in the complex where they live, by spending time in communities around the city, and by engaging in one of his favourite activities twice a week—playing basketball.

Recently, several of their new friends and church members took part in a Canadian-style Thanksgiving feast at the Barkman residence.

“We praise God for the friendships that are developing!” Christina Barkman exclaims. It’s easy to read her excitement between the lines of email reports.

The Barkmans have been in the Philippines since June of this year, and are eagerly anticipating growing this new peace church.