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ANNIVERSARY SPEAKER: LEONOR MAGTOLIS BRIONES

The Dumaguete City Church has played a central part in my whole life for the past seventy-five years.

I spent my childhood years in the loving care of the UCCP Church in Guihulngan (now a
city) . From Grade V to Grade VI I studied
in Hibbard Institute, a church-related school founded by the Malahay family whose children studied in Silliman Institute (now University). I graduated as class salutatorian and proceeded to finish my high school studies, also in Hibbard Institute, where I graduated as class valedictorian.

During my elementary and high school years, the study of the Bible was part of the curriculum. I spent my Sundays studying the Bible during Sunday School, as well as the Daily Vacation Bible School during summer vacations. All these activities were coordinated with the UCCP.

Going to church for worship services, Bible studies and singing in the choir are part of the wonderful childhood memories I treasure as a childoftheUCCP. IalsoattendedRevivalevents in the mountains with a lady church member who would bring food and conduct church services for hill people who could not afford to go down to the lowlands. These experiences taught me that everyone is equal in the sight of God—men, women, rich and poor alike. My playmates were childrenfrompoorfamilies. Earlyinmychildhood I learned how to get along with people from differentincomeclasses,different practices,and different ways of life.

I then went to Silliman University for my college studies. Once more, I had Bible studies along with subjects in accounting and finance. I had the good fortune to be mentored by great Bible teachers like Dr. Rustico Paralejas who made the Old Testament more exciting and fascinating than the best action films. Mrs. Mack, the wife of Dr. Henry Mack made the Book of Acts a living adventure story of early Christianity.

As a college student, I gravitated towards the Town Church, as the City Church was called then. My life revolved around Sunday School, choir practices, youth activities and conferences in

many parts of the province, including Siquijor. We would also spend time on Sunday afternoons visiting the prisoners in the Provincial Jail and the sick patients in the hospital.

By the time I proceeded to the University of the Philippines and eventually studied in England and the United States, my UCCP values were strongly internalized in my daily life. No amount of suffering, crises, and personal difficulties could shake my faith.

Whatever I am now, I owe largely to the teachings of the UCCP in my early childhood, youth, and adulthood. I learned to love the Bible and draw inspiration from its stories, messages and admonitions.

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