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BLD’s Organizational History

The history of Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community goes back to a group of about 20 couples who, with the late Fr. Pascual H. Adorable, S.J., wrote to the Marriage Encounter Philippines (MEP) to recognize them as one of the five sectors of the MEP. Prior to this, the BLD pioneers were part of the “ME-Buklod ng Pag ibig Community of Encountered Couples”.

The name “Bukas Loob sa Diyos”, proposed by Bro. Angel J. Navarette, is actually an expansion of, and is taken from the word “Buklod’-Bukas from Buk; Loob from Lo; and Diyos from D. it was decided upon during a recollection held on January 24, 1984, as the leaders came together in prayer to discern to community mission. Unlike its mother community, Buklod ng Pag-ibig (BNP), which retained its focus on the conduct of Marriage Encounters and its healing charism, BLD extended its apostolate to include the conduct of life In the Spirit Seminars and other Encounter programs, like the Family Encounter (FE) and Youth Encounter (YE). They were later to include Singles Encounter (SE), Solo Parents Encounter (SPE), and Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar (YLSS) to the list. They conducted their first LSS in the last quarter of 1983 under a 13-week format and held their first prayer meeting on February 7, 1984. In April of the same year, they formed their first Bible Reflection Group, and conducted the community’s first Family Encounter.

Bukas Loob sa Diyos Foundation, Inc. was incorporated shortly after, and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on December 12, 1984.  The community’s by-laws were formulated, approved and ratified on May 23, 1985.

Incorporators and trustees of BLDFI were as follows (listed according to the year they attended the ME):

Fr. Pascual H. Adorable (in the Charismatic Renewal since 1972)
Benjamin F. Gadi (1981)
Vicente A. Cruz (1981)
Jaime O. Rivera (1981)
Angel J. Navarette (1981)
Manolo A. Santos (1982)
Gregorio B. Abreu (1982)
Jacinto G. Mantaring (1983)
Antonio B. de los Reyes (1983)
Federico R. Agcaoili (1984)

The trustees then served concurrently as Ministry or Apostolate Heads, and also as Elders of the Community.  The primary ministries then of BLD were Marriage Encounter, Family Encounter, Buklod Panayam, and Youth Encounter. The growth Ministries included the Life in the Spirit, Bible Reflections, Parenting, Witnessing and Outreach, while the Auxiliary ministries included Coordinatorship and Prayer and Music.

On April 16, 1985, Fr. Ado appointed the first formal Council of Elders as follows:

Goyito and Cory Abreu
Rico and Telly Agcaoili
Tenteng and Lourds Cruz
Sonny and Bai de los Reyes
Lando and Menchu Geronimo
Jogy and Lorie Mantaring
Jaime and Cely Rivera
Manolo and Fely Santos

On June 19, 1985, the first covenants sealed by almost 100 couples took place at a Community Assembly.  This has become the reckoning date for the BLD Anniversary.  Also held in June 1985, was the first retreat of the Council of Elders (COE) in which the prophecy in Isaiah 58 was given to the Community. This prophecy gave way to the creation of the Community’s Breaking the Yoke of Poverty Program (BYPI) in December 1985.  The year 1985 also saw two communities spring from BLD, namely, the Pag-ibig sa Diyos (PSD) Community which was formed by Benjamin and Luz Gadi, and the God Shepherd (GS) Community which was formed by Jaime and Cely Rivera. The ensuing 2 years saw the conduct of the first Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar (YLSS) in 1986; the creation of the Teaching Ministry on July 31, 1987; the prophecy of the establishment of a Covenant House on August 10, 1987; the formation of the Mark 10 group on December 5, 1987 and the opening of the Jala-jala district in December 1987. On various dates up to 1990, Manoling & Letty Paglinawan, Roger & Zeny Mina, Harry & Bessie Rodriguez and Eliong & Leah Sison took the place vacated by Tenteng & Lourds Cruz, Goyito & Cory Abreu, Jaime & Cely Rivera and Manolo & Fely Santos.

In the Emergence process institutionalized in 1993, individual members participated in the discernment of leaders who will constitute the Council, now called the Council of Servant Leaders (CSL).  From among those nominated by the general membership in the first phase of the discernment, the top 20 or so were convened to select among themselves those who will head the different centers, institutes or sectors – the second phase of the discernment. The results from the first and second phases of the discernment were then used as inputs, among others, for the final discernment and selection by the Spiritual Director.  Not a democracy or an autocracy but a theocracy, the Spiritual Director, acting through the Word and the Spirit, discerns and chooses the leaders to constitute the Council of Servant Leaders, as he is led.  Among others, the rules likewise state that a servant leader should go on a sabbatical leave after serving for 2 terms of 3 consecutive years each.

From the ensuing emergence that took place in November 1993, the following were chosen as members of CSL to serve from 1994-1997:
Sonny de los Reyes, Head Servant Leader
Bill Farinas, North Sector
Dodo Javier, Central Sector
Roger Mina, South Sector
Jun Eala, Institute of Parish and Community Development (IPCD)
Art Panganiban, Support Services Center (SSC)
Andrew Regalado, Breaking the Yoke of Poverty (BYPI)
Ding Sanchez, Christian Discipleship Formation Center (CDFC)
Eliong Sison, National Prayer Movement of the Philippines (NPMP)
Joey Velez, Marriage and Family Life Center (MFLC)

During this period, the Covenant of Communion (COC) was reviewed by the leaders and members at large conventions convened for the purpose. It was also during this time that institutes and centers were organized to serve the larger church, and BLD Manila was divided into three sectors, namely, North, Central, and South Sectors. At the same time, Ping and Vangie Tacad donated a large tract of land in Dasmariñas Cavite on which the BLD Covenant House now stands.

In 1996, Kiko Josef and Nonoy Zagala were tapped to replace Bill Farinas and Art Panganiban who had to leave the community to respond to a call of duty. (Art Panganiban was subsequently appointed as one of the justices of the Supreme Court.)

During this period, some members and leaders were led to form other communities such as the “Salt and Light Community”, and CROSS (Charismatic Renewal of Single-Hearted Servants) by some single members in pursuit of their own charism and mission. Many members were likewise led to serve their respective parishes where they offered programs similar to that of BLD.

Emerged leaders for the period 1997-2000 were as follows:

Sonny de los Reyes, Head Servant Leader
Jun Delarmente, BYPI
Jun Eala, IPCD
Alex Ebarvia, DGMC
Jun Gabriel, MFLC
Eppie Ocampo, CDFC
Ric Pascua, CAMC
Eliong Sison, NPMP
Andrew Regalado, BYPI
Ding Sanchez, CAMP

From our inception as a community until his death in 1997, Fr. Ado (Fr. Pascual H. Adorable, S.J.) has always been the Spiritual Director of BLD.  For a brief period after Fr. Ado’s demise, Bishop Crisostomo Yalung took over as BLD Spiritual Director. Then, in February 1998, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) designated His Excellency, Bishop Angel N. Lagdameo as our Spiritual Director, in response to a letter from BLD which His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin referred to the CBCP.

During this period, the foundation for a BLD Global Structure was set in place and BLD Manila started to operate as a separate full-term district in 1999. Consultations for the revision of the Covenant of Communion were also conducted in order to reflect the global representation of full-term districts by creating the position of District Servant Leader (DSL). The five emerged Servant Leaders together with the DSL then constitute the Community Council of Servant Leaders (CCSL).

The members of the ECSL during the period 2000-2003 were the following:

Jun & Rita Eala, Head Servants
Gerry & Celia Cunanan, Management
Ray & Susan Fragante, Evangelization
Jun & Buding Gabriel, Districts Development
Jay & Techie Llantada, Formation
Pat & Cindy Lubaton, Mission
Tony & Angelet Suiza, Pastoral

Coincident with this emergence, Ric Pascua became the President of the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Foundation Inc. (BLDFI), while the Christian Discipleship Formation Institute (CDFI) was created.

In March 2001, Kiko Josef was called upon by the Spiritual Director Arch. Angel N. Lagdameo to succeed Pat Lubaton, Servant Leader for Mission, who resigned from the Council for health reasons. When Josef became the Servant Leader for Formation while concurrently serving as head of the CDFI, Jay Llantada took over the position of Servant Leader for Mission.

Another Emergence in 2003 selected the members of the Executive Council of Servant Leaders (ECSL) whose term ended in 2006.  They were as follows:

Bogie & Margie Lorenzo – Evangelization
Kiko & Aida Josef – Formation
Mon & Nene Lim – Management
Boy & Nena Salud – Mission
Dodo & Paulette Javier – Pastoral

Together with the ECSL, the following eight emerged District Servant Leaders (DSL) constitute the Community Council of Servant Leaders (CCSL):

Ricky & China Gallaga – Bacolod
Efren & Margette Sarmiento – Cebu
Mike & Pat Manalaysay – Davao
Eliong & Leah Sison – Manila
Richard & Lee dela Fuente – Newark
Doming & Charito Santos – San Pablo
Andy & Belle Escaño – Toronto
Bong &Bing Biong – Zamboanga

As was suggested by some members to the Spiritual Director, Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, and agreed upon by the other members of the Council, the position of the Presiding Servant Leader was rotated on a 7-month basis among the five servant leaders.

In 2003, another community, Serviam Charismatic Community, sprung from BLD.  In his very touching letter to Antonio B. delos Reyes dated March 11, 2003, Cardinal Sin writes: “After a prayerful process of discernment… The name I wish to give your group is ‘Serviam Charismatic Community.’ For the sake of peace and communion with the universal Church, let us allow the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Community under the spiritual directorship of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo to keep that name.”

As mentioned earlier, there are three categories of districts, namely: a) full-term districts (FTD), b) full-fledged districts (FFD), and c) districts-in-process (DIP).  Full- term districts are those which have met the required number of teachers, sharers, worship leaders, and covenanted disciples and are, therefore, able to run their own districts and ready to go on mission.  Full-fledged districts, on the other hand, can run their own districts but are not yet mission-ready.  Districts-in-process are the mission areas which are run by CORE Groups, but are under the administration of corresponding full-term districts.

Each full-term district is represented in the global council by a District Servant Leader or DSL. The ECSL (the five emerged leaders) together with the DSL from the different districts constitute the Community Council of Servant Leaders or CCSL.

Last January 2004, the BLD Community held its first Inter-District Conference (IDC), with district leaders and spiritual directors from the different districts in the Philippines, Hong Kong, United States and Canada in attendance.  The theme of the event was “Moving with the Spirit in Community” – a fining exhortation for all BLD districts and members in the light of the growing challenges for a truly global community. As the BLD global community focused itself on the challenges and opportunities brought about by the IDC in terms of its mission, structure, and programs, His Excellency, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, of the Diocese of Jaro and our beloved Spiritual Director reminds everyone: “We are to be faithful to the Lord, and only to the Lord, because we are His servants. ”

In 2006, another General Emergence was held and the following members of the Community Council of Servant Leaders (CCSL) were appointed by the BLD Community Spiritual Director, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, for a three-year term up to June 2009:

Executive Council of Servant Leaders (ECSL)
Bogie & Margie Lorenzo – Evangelization
Cris & Nel Aldiosa – Formation
Lito & Jasmin Abastillas – Management
Jun & Baby Delarmente – Mission
Dan & Ludy Andres – Pastoral

District Servant Leaders (DSL)
Norman & Gigi Campos – Bacolod
Ferdie & Corie Jakosalem – Cebu
Ed & Leclec Pacana – Davao
Jun & Rita Eala – Manila
Rene & Sally Castañeda – Newark
Doming & Charito Santos – San Pablo
Pat & Rose Canlas – Toronto
Tony & Bevs Clarito – Zamboanga

Archbishop Lagdameo also appointed the following Cluster Shepherds: Mike & Mitch Montero for Vancouver-Seattle and Ramon & Malou Alano for Reno-San Francisco-Sacramento.  In December 2006, BLD Rockville Center (Long Island, USA) became the latest addition to the 8 existing BLD Full-term Districts with Albert & Denia Meneses as its first DSL.

In March 2007, Eliong and Leah Sison were appointed to replace Cris and Nel Aldiosa who had to resign for health reason. The ECSL was then re-organized as follows:

Bogie & Margie Lorenzo – Evangelization
Jun & Baby Delarmente – Formation
Lito & Jasmin Abastillas – Management
Dan & Ludy Andres – Mission
Elionq & Leah Sison – Pastoral

On February 22 – 24, 2008, BLD conducted its 2nd Inter-District Conference with the theme Stewardship & Servanthood: “The Call for Faithfulness to Jesus Christ” at the BLD Covenant House, Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines.  It was participated in by 160 district leaders, representing 22 Districts from the BLD Global Community.  In his message, His Grace says: ‘BLD must keep on opening doors for the Lord and opening hearts for service …we are all Stewards and Servants. The gifts that God has given to each are meant to be shared with others”

On May 9, 2009, Archbishop Lagdameo approved the final version of the BLD Statutes, which was earlier approved on July 13, 2006 ‘Ad Modum Experimenti”.  Revision of some sections of the Covenant of Communion were also approved in 2009, principally Section 8 – BLD Community Organization and Functions, Section 9 – BLD District Organization and Functions, and Section 12 – Governance and Process of Emergence after preparation and consultation by the incumbent ECSL.

In mid-2009, a General Emergence was held and new global leaders of Servant Leaders and District Stewards were appointed for a three year term. Archbishop Lagdameo appointed the following members of the CCSL and Shepherds of District Clusters:

Executive Council of Servant Leaders (ECSL)
Eliong & Leah Sison – Evangelization
Ed & Malou Malay – Formation
Raul & Mari Garcia – Management
Jojo & Koi Jalandoni – Mission
Dan & Ludy Andres – Pastoral

District Servant Leaders (DSL)
Ted & Marivic Lacson – Bacolod
Ferdie & Corie Jakosalem – Cebu
Ed & Leclec Pacana – Davao
Boy & Nena Salud – Manila
Richard & Lee dela Fuente – Newark
Rene & Cherry Bacani – Rockville Centre
Levi & Helen Florido – San Pablo
Robert & Cely Kitane – Toronto
Arsie & Maggie Tipoe – Zamboanga

Shepherds of District Clusters:
Alex & Mel Ebarvia – Vancouver-Seattle
Ramon & Malou Alano – Reno-Sacramento
James & Malou Catral – AFP-PNP

25th Foundation Anniversary Celebration

On June 19, 2010, BLD Manila and the whole BLD Global Community celebrated its 25th foundation anniversary with the theme from Luke 5:4 – “Put out into the deep waters and lower your nets for a catch.”  In his message, Archbishop Lagdameo said: “In faith we see the hand of God guiding every step in every level of BLD, simply because BLD is ‘open inwardly to God.’

On February 4 to 6, 2011, BLD conducted its 3rd Inter-District Conference (IDC) with the theme “Being grateful for the seed and the good soil” at the BLD Covenant House, Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines.  It was participated in by 220 district leaders and spiritual directors, representing 36 Districts from the BLD Global Community. The primary output of the 3rd IDC is the launching of a new Vision and Mission of the BLD Covenant Community which was crafted by the global leaders of BLD in consultation with the community members.