After three years since the last reunion, GCI Singles from all over the Philippines converged again for the Singles Conference 2020, this time in the beautiful Anda de Boracay, Anda, Bohol. The resort views a long stretch of shoreline with fine white sand comparable to the powdered sands of Boracay Island. Far from the crowded tourists, Anda is located two hours away from Tagbilaran City and an hour away from the famous Chocolate Hills. Forty-three men and women came from the different parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to enjoy the three-day conference that was hosted by a team of organizers led by Sarah Bahinting.
This year’s was theme “Set Apart,” the event focused on the singles’ identities as the Father’s beloved in Jesus Christ and individuals called into communion with him and for his purpose based on Deuteronomy 14:2. The guest speakers were Steve and Jan Hobson -missionaries and professors of IGSL (International Graduate School of Leadership) and our very own GCI Pastor Rex Dela Peña.
The conference kicked-off with praise and worship followed by some fun icebreaker games which were facilitated by Pastor Andrew Rota of GCI Mactan. The singles then were asked to creatively portray how singleness is perceived and treated in their family, church and community in the evening of the first day. This activity was a prelude for serious topics discussed the following days, which were given by the competent guest speakers.
The Hobsons discussed different views concerning marriage and family. They contrasted the different narratives from modern culture, the old covenant and the contemporary church with the new covenant narrative, which reflects the overarching view of the storyline of the Bible towards singleness. They also discussed the myths of singleness in society today. As a fitting conclusion, the speakers pointed out that as Christians who love God, he must be the main goal or focus of everything. He is the ultimate reward and nothing else. The wonderful couple also offered to give a special one-on-one time for counseling for those singles in need.
In the third session of the conference, Pastor Rex de la Peña spoke about biblical stewardship as part of a broader call to loving God and fulfilling his purpose. Furthermore, he imparted a holistic view of stewardship which includes everything – one’s own life, time, relationships, the workplace and finances, and stewardship of the gospel. He also encouraged the participants to know their spiritual giftings to help in building the church up and fulfilling God’s mission.
Participants had the chance to relax and have a fun time as they all dressed up for a Havana-themed mingle event on the last night. They took delight in the live music floating in the air as they danced with their friends and participated in amusing games. Some of them also got to show their talents as they performed with the band.
To cap the conference, a Question and Answer forum was held followed by a Communion, which pictures the beautiful union between Christ and His Bride — the Church.
Overall, the conference was an eye-opening opportunity for many. The environment gave the participants hope, confidence, and a deeper meaning and view of singleness.