The first ever sports fellowship of GCI's Southern Tagalog churches was held last Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the covered court of STI Academic Center in Calamba City. Suggested about two years ago by Tom Sotalbo, pastor of the GCI's church in Rizal, Laguna, the event was finally held this year with four churches competing. About 80 members and guests enjoyed the whole day of cameraderie and sportsmanship featuring volleyball and basketball.
The four churches were from Sta Rosa, Calamba, San Pedro and Rizal. The senior pastors of Binan and Batangas City churches were also present but they had no athletes at this time. Nagcarlan, San Pablo and San Juan, Batangas churches were not able to send representatives, but we hope they will be part of this outreach and fellowship activity in the future.
The Rizal church has an ongoing sports ministry, and the results of the tournament showed that they were well prepared. They won first place in both volleyball and basketball. Calamba placed second in volleyball, while San Pedro was the runner-up in basketball. Ptr Tom revealed that they have long used the sports ministry as an outreach tool, and some members connect with the community through sports.
Although prizes were not part of the initial plan (this being an trial event with minimal budget), donations were received such that the winning teams received a small prize for their efforts.
The positive response to this event showed that there is much interest in sports in our fellowship, and even non-members wish to participate for the simple love of the game. This provides opportunities for fellowship, relaxation, connecting with like-minded sports enthusiasts, and even discipleship as sports can teach perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship and other life lessons.
We look forward to similar activities in the future with participation from more churches. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to glorify Him through sports, and for protection during the games. -- Reuel Avila