I join with the voices of the leaders from the world-wide Church and from the Old Catholic Churches in Union with the Archbishop of Utrecht in praising and giving thanks to God almighty for the ministry and leadership of Archbishop Joris Vercammen as he retires from his prestigious office starting today. And on behalf of all the bishops, clergy and people of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, I extend to him our greetings, prayers, and best wishes through the Right Revd Antonio Ablon whom I designate to personally represent on our behalf in this Retirement Service to honour and recognize the immense contribution of Archbishop Joris Vercammen to the life, work and witness of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ being the leader of the Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands and the primate of the entire Old Catholic Churches spanning over for two decades.

The Iglesia Filipina Independiente is truly blessed with the official and personal friendship with Archbishop Joris Vercammen that enriched further the concordat relations with the IFI and with the Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands in particular and with the whole Old Catholic Churches in general. This relationship that dates back in 1963 through Obispo Maximo Isabelo de los Reyes Jr. and Archbishop Andreas Rinkel is considerably heightened with the inspiring encouragement, motivation and leadership of Archbishop Joris that brought the IFI and the entire Old Catholic Churches towards greater cooperation in doing common works to pursue the mission of the Lord Jesus he entrusted to his Church.

Today, as we give honour and recognition to this great and outstanding church leader, I pray that may the good Lord continue to bless and keep Archbishop Joris in his love, and this love “may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight” (Phil 1.9b) to enable him, in another capacity, to continue to inspire us all in the work of pursuing together God’s mission and of promoting full unity in Christ’s Church.

The Most Revd Rhee M. Timbang

Obispo Maximo

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