UPDATES on HARRIS MEMORIAL COLLEGE, INC.
(School Year 2021-2022)
Dr. Cristina N. Manabat, Harris President
(Excerpt from the President’s Report to the Annual Conferences Session 2022 )
It is with great joy that I greet you all, our esteemed Bishop and members of this august body!
UPDATES on MAJOR PROGRAMS and PROJECTS of Harris Memorial College
- ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
We started the new school year with an inspiring and meaningful opening worship for the
Basic Education and College departments last September 6th. It was attended by the students, faculty, staff, teachers and school administrators. Afterwards, classes began. We continue with synchronous and asynchronous classes.
We have 80 students (69 student deaconesses, three home missioner students and eight
students taking Certificate in Early Childhood Education – CECE) for SY 2021-2022, compared to 78 students (70 student deaconesses, three home missioners and five CECE students) last school year. We are glad for having two (2) Dumagat college students from RPACE; one student deaconess taking ABCE program, and the other taking BECEd, non-deaconess program, a Grade 12 graduate from Harris.
We are in the process of preparing for the offering of the deaconess and home missioner (D/HM) formation programs in identified Asian countries, with Harris graduates, through distance learning. This is in partnership with the UMW-Regional Missionary for Asia and the Pacific, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the Global Ministries, and the Commission on Deaconess Service. The Task Force on the Deaconess and Home Missioner Formation Program in Asia (Task Force, for brevity) is composed of Ms. Emma Cantor (UMW Regional Missionary for Asia and the Pacific), Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana (Liaison for Asia and the Pacific, GBGM), Ms. Sheila Faye D. Binuya (Chairperson, Commission on Deaconess Service), and Dr. Cristina N. Mañabat, incumbent President of Harris Memorial College. We have several activities lined-up. We shall apply for distance education with CHED.
The music, field education, and practice teaching are the most challenging part of the training of student deaconesses and home missioners. Playing organ or piano during online classes is very difficult due to problem with internet connectivity. Many students use their local church’s musical instruments to comply with their class requirements, while others purchased and use their own keyboards. Class choirs are being done virtually. Truly, it is quite exciting and challenging.
The Sophomore and Junior field education students do their concurrent week-end church appointments in their respective local churches for the whole school year. Students are assigned to prepare and do video recording of Sunday school lessons weekly. These are being used in their church assignments. There is a plan to make this video recorded Sunday school lessons available to local churches. Deaconess faculty members help in conducting weekly consultations with field education students assigned to them, with the leadership of the Field Education Coordinator.
To empower and protect the field education students from possible sexual abuses, a series of webinars will be conducted such as “Anti-Sexual Harassment Law “(RA 7877), “Safe Spaces Act” (RA 11313), and UMC Sexual Ethics Part II during the school year. Also, webinars on confidence building and personality development are scheduled.
The graduating students majoring in Early Childhood Education are assigned in selected preschools connected with The UMC for their practice teaching. They learn to be creative and resourceful in doing practice teaching during this time of pandemic.
Out of 72 enrolled full-time students in college, 45 student deaconesses or 63% enjoy either full or partial scholarship amounting to P1,028,703.99 from sponsors for 1st semester, SY 2021-2022. We encourage local churches to send their young people, who are called to the deaconess and home missioner ministry, to Harris for holistic, transforming and empowering education. We also welcome and encourage student pastors to take their pre-theological studies at Harris. Scholarships are available.
- Christian Discipleship Formation Program (CDFP)
To help achieve the vision and mission of Harris to produce graduates for a Christ-like life and service, several CDFP programs are provided to the students, faculty, teachers, staff and school administrators even during this pandemic, namely:
* Separate departmental virtual chapel services (preschool and elementary, JHS, SHS, and college)
* Spiritual retreats for Harris employees, College student body organization, and college graduating students
* Separate Accountable Discipleship groups (for college faculty, BE teachers, and staff)
* Care group ministry for college students
* Monthly community prayer gathering
* Daily virtual morning devotion led by student deaconesses and home missioners
* Theological forums and special activities such as College Convocation, Harris Anniversary, Christian Emphasis Event, National Bible Week, and the like
- Guidance Programs
To help the students cope with the adverse effects of the pandemic, and to help them with their socio-emotional-psychological needs, several guidance programs are being offered. These programs include: admissions; individual inventory; information/orientation on cyber-bullying and cyber-crime law, webinars on mental health; counselling through tele-psychotherapy, #HarrisCares Helpline, routine interview, student referrals and follow-up; career guidance; testing using free psychological tests – Perceived Stress Scale and HERO Wellness Scale for College students. Also, foreign students are assisted with the processing of their visa and special study permit.
- Health Services
To insure the safety and security of the students and Harris employees, the following programs are being undertaken by the health department of the school.
* Dissemination of up-to-date information on health protocols
* Mandatory possession and use of personal pandemic kit
* Regular supply of face masks and supplementary vitamins to school drivers, maintenance personnel, and business office staff who transacts business outside the school
* Provision of and monitoring of disinfection supplies in all offices and guard posts
* Maintaining the cleanliness of the buildings and surroundings
* Online medical consultation of the students and employees with the school physician and nurse
* Conducted webinars on COVID-19 and disaster preparedness for the students and employees
Majority of the employees work from home. The school provides free transportation to the skeletal workforce who report to work three days a week.
Networking, Partnership and Linkaging
Despite the pandemic, God continues to be faithful and gracious to our school. We are very glad and grateful to God for our generous and faithful partners in ministry here and abroad. Through The Advance Project of our school with the Global Ministries, we regularly receive donations from our partners in ministry. Last year and this year, we received $95,729.34 from Thomas Harris and Clan and $4,760.51 from the God-given oil deposits of the late Rev. Dr. Grace E. Huck who served God through Harris as missionary for more than 30 years. Both these major partners in ministry love our school so much.
Also, we are deeply grateful for other partners in ministry for their continuing prayers and substantial financial support for the scholarship of student deaconesses and home missioners in the Philippines and in the USA. These include the UMW-USA; Scranton Women’s Leadership Center (Seoul, Korea); Union Church of Manila; Harris Alumni Associations in the USA, Canada and the Philippines; Bellaire UMC (Texas, USA); Dr. Afrie Songco Joye (in loving memory of her parents and sister); Mr. Merlin and Mrs. Naomi Martin (deaconess from the USA); Ms. Resurreccion Mercado; deaconess Jeanette Nacpil; Dr. Zenaida P. Lumba (deceased); Magdalena Manahan Javier Memorial Scholarship Fund thru Dr. Ruth Javier-Lorico; and Dr. Narciso Albarracin (USA), our new partner in ministry, in memory of her deaconess mother Josefina Soriano-Albarracin.
Mr. Rodolfo Fernando, the son of the late Brigida Garcia-Fernando (the 1st kindergarten teacher of the Harris Development Center for Children), died recently. He was instrumental in establishing the Brigida Garcia-Fernando Memorial Scholarship Fund for scholarship of our indigent preschool pupils. Currently, the total scholarship raised is $1,983.50 plus P346,630.00.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Our school continues with its outreach programs through the CESDev staff, as follows:
- Dumagat community-based preschool
- Provision of monthly allowance to indigent Dumagat college students
- Feeding program for children
- Leadership training for youth and adults in the community
- Christian education and values formation through extension classes
- Annual Christmas gift giving; Livelihood program
- Setting up of a community library
The Global Ministries-Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, thru Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, donated three boxes of new clothes for indigent children in our outreach areas. The Together in Hope led by Rev. Diane McGehee and deaconess Nida Gonda in Texas, USA donated five balikbayan boxes of hygiene kits. These were distributed to 450 families in five depressed outreach areas of our school in time for Christmas. We thank God for the $10K grant from GBGM for the Dumagat community-based preschool program. This grant is good for three years.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, God has never left us empty-handed. God provided and continues to provide all our needs more than what we expect. We are very grateful for the dedication and commitment of the Harris employees in walking the extra mile and in working hand-in-hand to continue with our ministry of teaching. We are privileged to have talented students who study hard in the midst of the pandemic. They are being developed in all aspects of life through the teachers and the various programs being provided to them. We are grateful to our partners in ministry and the Harris alumni associations here and abroad for their constant prayers and generosity.
I am deeply grateful to the officers and members of the Harris Corporation and the BOT for their continued trust, prayers and support. My sincere thanks to our Bishop, fellow church workers, and local churches for their support and prayers. My highest praise and thanksgiving to God who called me to the deaconess ministry, serving as the 5th Filipino President of my dear Alma Mater, Harris Memorial College. Next year will be my last year of the 3rd term as deaconess President. “Harris, may you live forever. That is our wish, our song, and prayer.” Thank you. May God bless us all.