The beginnings of Silliman University Church date back to the coming of the American Presbyterian missionaries to the Philippines in 1899. Two years later, they established the Dumaguete Mission Station in January of 1901. Seven months later, Dr. and Mrs. David and Laura Hibbard founded Silliman Institute.
At the start, the regular services in Silliman were organized together with the first classes. An outreach evangelical congregation in the town apparently existed as early as 1903 but the plan to have a regular church organized materialized only upon the establishment of the Presbyterian Church of Dumaguete on December 6, 1911. This church, which later would become known as the Dumaguete Evangelical Church, was composed of both the Dumaguete townspeople and the Silliman Community. This event marked the official founding of a Protestant (Presbyterian) church in Dumaguete (later to be known as the Dumaguete Town Church).
However, in part because of the difficulty of maintaining under one structure two congregations (in the town and the school) which had different ministries and curricular interests and using different languages for worship, and, too, because the town church had become part of an independent Philippine Presbyterian church apart from the Presbyterian churches in the United States to which, through the latter’s Board of Foreign Mission, Silliman continued to belong, the two groups eventually were reorganized as separate congregations in 1916 with Dr. Paul Doltz serving as the first Pastor of the Silliman Student Church. This church, the Student Church, eventually became the Silliman University Church – a church ministering to all Sillimanians, regardless of their denomination and religious affiliations.
Since its founding, Silliman Church had always had Silliman students, faculty, staff and alumni as its central concern. Its program had been a very active one putting emphasis on its evangelistic witness. Yet despite its Presbyterian background, the students are given the freedom to practice their own religious beliefs and are instead provided with opportunities to broaden their spiritual horizon and translate their faith into active commitments.
John 14:6, Matthew 4:19, Acts 1:8To proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in Silliman University and the larger community, to invite all into a life of discipleship and dynamic witness.
Motto: Proclaiming Christ and Discipling for Dynamic Witness
Note on context: ‘While we think globally, we act locally.’
We are a congregation that primarily serves the Silliman University community and its neighbors.
Our programs are directed to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and communities that we relate to. We invite those who are in the immediate and worldwide community who share the passion in this ministry in Silliman to join us.
Silliman University Church will be all of the following: A Worshipping Church
We shall be a congregation whose vibrant worship becomes a living testimony of our faith in God whose love and grace was revealed fully in the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Through worship we proclaim and invite persons to put their faith in Jesus Christ, the Via, Veritas, Vita. (Romans 19:9-10, Philippians, 2:9-11)
An Inspiring Church
We are a community of believers who will accentuate the positive to inspire each other in our journey of faith. While we acknowledge the pains of the world, we rest in the assurance of our Lord who said: ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)
A Serving Church
We endeavor to be a serving church. Service in the name of the Lord, in the church and in the world shall be one of the marks of maturity of our faith. We shall embrace with joy the calling that we are a people sent by God to serve. (Mark 10:45)
(And) An Equipping Church
We shall be a church that equips each other in the faith so that everyone shall grow and mature in a Christ-like manner and we shall be able to function as the living Body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Everything we do as a congregation shall put Christ at the center and should be in accordance with His Spirit. (Colossians 3:17)Biblically-Rooted
We should be able to articulate the Biblical foundation of all the programs we pursue. (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21)
Decisions and directions are based on our faith on the living God who is present and activate in the world through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 17:19-20)
The joy of Christian living is felt not in isolation but in shared experiences within the community of faith. We intentionally seek fellowship through small groups and programs that provide opportunities for us to know each other deeply. (Acts 2:42)
We exist to serve. Just as Jesus, our Risen Lord came not to be served but o serve we live a life that minister to each other and to the world around us. We serve in name of our servant Lord. (Romans 12:5)
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