The Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines or EFCP was started by the Evangelical Free Church of America or EFCA, who sent missionaries to the Philippines in the early 1950s.
The first missionaries sent by the EFCA were Rev. Lincoln and Phyllis Clubine. The couple arrived in March of 1951 and stayed in Grace Park, Caloocan City, Manila. But not long later, they went back to the USA due to the illness of Mrs. Clubine.
In 1952, Rev. Gordon and June Gustafson arrived and stayed in Mambaling, Cebu City. In one of their family devotions, their helper Lily Handayan, came to know Christ. She later studied in Febias College of Bible and became one of the early workers of the EFCP.
While doing language study in Mambaling, Cebu City, the Gustafsons did ministry in Argao, Cebu, about 66 kilometres Southeast of Cebu City. Among their first contacts were Artemio Quijano, Macrino Llegunas, and Crispin Albarestine, who became the nucleus of believers in Argao and Jampang EFC.
In 1954, Rev. Dennis and Dorothy Anderson arrived and pioneered a church-plant in Mambaling, Cebu City.
In 1956, Madelyn Nelson and Rosalie Secondino arrived and helped the work in Mambaling. And the Andersons moved to Valladolid, Carcar, Cebu, which is 40 kilometres southeast of Cebu City.
In 1958, Rev. and Mrs. Herbert Baker arrived and started a church-planting work in Poblacion, Carcar, Cebu.
In 1959, Rev. Albert and Esther Unrau arrived and reinforced the work in Argao, Cebu. Later in 1966, they went to Lahug, Cebu City and started the church-planting work.
In 1961, Rev. Earl and Angie Miller arrived and started the work in Dalaguete, Cebu, which is 84 kilometres southeast of Cebu City.
In 1962, Rev. Richard and Kay Pixler arrived and started the ministry of Chi Alpha Omega Student Center and Radio Program.
In the same year, Rev. Bob and Althea Carey arrived and pioneered a church-planting work in Dumanjug Cebu, which is 73 kilometres southwest of Cebu City.
In 1963, Rev. Robert and Ruth Steeves arrived and reinforced the work in Barili together with Rosalie Secondino and Madelyn Nelson. Barili is 61 kilometres southwest of Cebu City.
In the same year, Mildred Nelson and Marionne Fry arrived. Mildred helped in the Christian Education Program of EFCP, and Marionne taught at Cebu International School.
FIRST 7 CHURCHES
The first seven churches that were established under the Evangelical Free Church Mission in the Philippines were:
- Argao EFC in 1954, later became Faith EFC;
- Mambaling EFC in 1958, later became, First EFC;
- Carcar EFC in 1958;
- Dalaguete EFC in 1961;
- Dumanjug EFC in 1964;
- Barili EFC in 1964; and
- Lahug EFC in 1966.
These churches then comprised the first EFCP Annual Conference.
FIRST EFCP ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The first EFCP Annual Conference was held in June 1966 at the campus of Central Bible Training Institute in Langtad, Naga, Cebu.
About 30-40 delegates were in attendance, comprising the pastors, missionaries, and delegates from the first seven churches.
The first major decision of the conference was to draft the EFCP Constitution and Bylaws, as well as its Articles of Incorporation. The Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines was incorporated in 1969.
The first charter members of the EFCP National Board of Directors were the following:
- Eutemio Allocod of Mambaling EFC;
- Mike Mañego of Carcar EFC;
- Cecilio de Castilla of Dalaguete EFC;
- Felix Adlawan, Sr. of Mambaling EFC; and
- Fred Cisneros of Lahug EFC.
EARLY INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
The growth and development of the EFCP was augmented by the establishment of early institutions and organizations as follows:
The Philippine Sunday School Publication, now “Philippine Christian Education Publication” or PCEP, was established in 1964 under the leadership of Madelyn Nelson.
The Women Evangelical Free Church Organization or WEFCO was organized in 1964. The following were members of the core group: Mrs. Teofila Saavedra, Mrs. Mamerta Sy, Mrs. Luzvilla Sarmiento, Mrs. Norma Maňego, Mrs. Lily Lepardo, Mrs. Federita Allocod, Mrs. Angie Miller, Madelyn Nelson, and Mildred Nelson.
The Camp Bato Property was purchased in 1964 through the efforts of the early missionaries.
The Chi Alpha Omega Student Center was established in 1964 and among its key people were Rev. Albert Unrau, Rev. Richard Pixler, and Rev. Bob Carey.
The Short-Term Bible Institute or STBI was established in 1967. Among its key people include Madelyn Nelson, Mildred Nelson, Bening Comaling and Angie Miller.
The Radio Program, “Pulong sa Kinabuhi”, started in 1968 with Rev. Tem Allocod as the anchor man.
And the Free Church Youth Movement or FCYM was organized in 1973, with Rev. Prisco Allocod as its first president. He was assisted by Madelyn Nelson and Rev. Joel Villamor.
In the early beginnings of the denomination, the leadership was handled by the National Board of Directors. As the work grew, there was a need to hire a full-time president.
The following were the presidents of the EFCP:
- Tem Allocod, June 1981 to May 1986;
- Mike Maňego, June 1986 to May 1993;
- Prisco Allocod, June 1993 to May 1995;
- Romeo Dorio, June 1995 to May 1998;
- Allan Abong, June 1998 to May 2002;
- Prisco Allocod, June 2002 to October of the same year;
- Ronald Labadan, November 2002 to December 2007; and
- Prisco Allocod, January 2008 up to the present.
The Lord has shown favour in the growth of the EFC mission. In 1973, the ministry expanded from Cebu to Luzon.
Several years later, the work expanded to Mindanao in the following areas: Davao in 1980; Surigao del Norte in 1983; Agusan in 1985; and Cagayan de Oro in 2001.
The work also reached the following areas in the Visayas region: Bohol in 1980; Negros in 1986; Iloilo in 1992; Eastern Samar and Palawan in 2010; and Leyte in 2013.
Blessed with a tremendous growth, the work of the EFCP expanded overseas. Filipino churches were established in the following countries: California, USA in 2001; Nagoya, Japan in 2010; and Hong Kong in 2011.
To date, there are 128 local churches and 10 international churches in the following areas:
Luzon – 25, Visayas – 78, Mindanao – 25, California, USA – 5, Nagoya, Japan – 4, and Hong Kong – 1.
Psalm 126:3 is a fitting affirmation of our celebration of growth.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!”