The recent Adventist Children's Ministries Philippine Tri-Union Leadership Development Training Seminar, held July 27–29, 2023, in Cebu City, marked a critical milestone in bridging the gap for every child. This three-day event, aptly themed "Bridging the Gap: Every C.H.I.L.D. Matters," aimed to promote a nurturing environment and empower leaders to assure a brighter future for children via care, healing, inspiration, love, and discipline.
The seminar brought together a community of like-minded individuals inspired by a common passion for establishing a caring environment for children, regardless of their backgrounds or orientations, with over 150 delegates from various locations across the Philippines.
Distinguished guest speakers enriched the event, elevating the learning experience for participants. The program encompassed a wide range of topics, including leadership challenges in children's ministries, fostering sound mental health and well-being in young minds, safeguarding children from worldly influences, approaches to Christian music in worship, addressing transgenderism and beliefs, nurturing faith amid the digital era, the role of spirituality in child development, renewing faith and commitment, and empowering children as future leaders, among other engaging subjects.
Melodie Mae Inapan, Children's Ministries director for the Central Philippine Union Conference (CPUC), welcomed delegates from across the region, highlighting the seminar's transformative impact on nurturing ideal followers of Christ. “This class is invaluable. It not only imparts knowledge but also helps us address our children's spiritual needs,” she emphasized. “Our mission is to guide them to mature spiritually and physically and become exemplary individuals for Christ.”
Danita Caderma, Children's Ministries director for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD), underscored the seminar's importance in equipping leaders for a mission-oriented approach. “May you carry back fresh insights and renewed hope to your respective regions,” she encouraged. “With mission as our focus, let us courageously witness and make disciples for Jesus.”
Delegates expressed deep gratitude for the knowledge and empowerment gained. Wanee P. Salayon, from the North Philippine Union Conference (NPUC), said, “This conference has ignited a new passion within me to serve children holistically—spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. As leaders, it's our duty to influence children's lives, and this newfound knowledge is invaluable.”
Janice R. Lloren, from the South Philippine Union Conference (SPUC), highlighted the importance of spending time with God in today's digital world. “I feel empowered to bridge the gap with my children while adhering to biblical principles,” she said. “Every delegate is now equipped to proclaim that every child matters.”
Dr. Orathai Chureson, Children's Ministries director for the General Conference, praised the unity among leaders. “Let us faithfully prepare children's hearts and nurture their faith,” she encouraged. “Our ultimate goal is to hear God say, ‘Well done, my wonderful children's ministry leaders.’”
The seminar concluded with a moving candle-lighting ceremony, symbolizing the commitment to disciple every member of the church and empower the next generation as faithful followers of Jesus, illuminating the path for future generations.