More links to other
Christmas Institute locations
Christmas Institute originated in the Philippines back in 1921 through the Methodist Church. About 62 students and church workers from the Manila District gathered for the "Christmas Epworth League Institute" in Sibul Springs, San Miguel (Bulacan) under the leadership of Rev. Joshua F. Cottingham, then District Superintendent of the Manila District.
In 1981, "CI" was adapted into the United States with the support of what became known as the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists (NAFAUM) to provide an ethnically relevant atmosphere for Filipino American youth and young adults to grow in their Christian faith, fellowship, discipleship, and service. The first stateside CI took place in the California-Pacific Conference, soon expanding to the California-Nevada Conference (encouraged to start their own CI location by 1986). In 1991, Cal-Pac and Cal-Nev combined efforts to have their first joint CI. The next joint CI effort between Cal-Pac and Cal-Nev occurred in 1996, becoming the first "national" Christmas Institute in the US, bringing together delegates from California, Washington, Illinois, and Texas.
CI was launched in the Pacific Northwest in 1999 after three consecutive years of sending youth groups from the Seattle-area down to California each December. Under the pioneering vision and leadership of Rev. Alfredo S.P. Agtarap (pictured left), CI-PNW was quickly supported by the PNWAC Caucus of Filipino Clergy (WAFAUM), and congregations from Beacon United Methodist Church (Seattle, WA), Ronald UMC (Shoreline, WA), and the Filipino Ministry at Silverdale UMC (Silverdale, WA).
CI-PNW strives to maintain the original essence of CI created in the Philippines while incorporating new and innovated ideas that nurture and support our Filipino American youth and young adults in the Pacific Northwest. This includes social awareness and service opportunities integrated within our local and global communities. All expenses for CI-PNW are covered by camper registration fees, scholarships, donations, fundraising efforts, and support from the Pacific Northwest UMC Conference.
May 2007 marked the historical birth of NAFAUM's national effort through Paglago (growth) to gather representatives from all existing CI locations in the United States at that time: California-Pacific, California-Nevada, Pacific Northwest, South Central, Northeast, Southeast, and North Central Jurisdiction. Funding was made possible through a grant from the UMC General Board of Discipleship.
This collaboration resulted in identifying elements common and essential to all CI's throughout the states, affirming our mission/vision, and acknowledging the diverse needs for each area to address. By strengthening the connection of all CI teams within the USA, the collective is now better equipped to be accountable and accessible to each other, offering guidance and resources to other areas -- especially those attempting to start a new CI in their respective locations.
The National CI Reunion in 2013 came at the tailend of the 2013 NAFAUM Convocation held in July and was geared to be a celebration for people of all generations and locations who have been impacted by the ministry of Christmas Institute throughout their faith journeys. CI-PNW Leadership played an instrumental role in this national gathering, having representatives from CI-PNW on the NAFAUM-YP core planning team, leading workshops, sharing faith testimonies, providing technical support, and offering general involvement and participation. CI-PNW was able to send 4 representatives to this gathering at Redondo Beach, CA, aside from the presence of other CI-PNW alums who have since relocated. Stay tuned for more developments from our NAFAUM-Young People with regards to expanding upon more collective CI activities and fellowship.
What type of gatherings qualify as a "Christmas Institute?"* 1) A Christ-centered, faith-based ministry -- CI originated through what is now The United Methodist Church
2) Target population includes Filipino and Filipino Americans (but it is not exclusive) -- CI's roots began in the Philippines
3) For young people (youth and young adults) -- Other ministries geared towards children and/or older adults are not "CI"
4) Occurs between Christmas and New Year's -- Spring, Summer, or Fall camps are not defined as "CI" *from the notes taken at the National CI Leaders' Gathering in May 2007