New entity aims to use their expertise as a tool for mission, leaders said.
The Philippine Adventist Scientist Association (PASA) has officially been established after a group of 42 people, including 37 scientists, met for the first National Adventist Scientists Conference on May 20-21, 2019 in Palawan, Philippines. The purpose of PASA is to motivate and empower Adventist scientists to use their profession for the church’s mission, leaders said.
Besides electing the PASA officers, those who attended the meeting had the stated objectives of promoting the goals of science as done by Christians, recognizing the contribution of Adventist scientists to the church and community, as well as reminding church members of their mission in their respective fields of expertise.
Initiated by Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) vice-president Bienvenido D. Mergal, the idea of PASA arose from the Geoscience Research Institute Committee (GRICOM) goal of establishing a database of scientists in every division territory.
“Because of that [GRICOM goal], I thought of organizing a Philippine-wide Adventist scientists association,” Mergal said. “Being married to a scientist, I feel that scientists here in the Philippines are the most neglected group of people. I believe that if we organize and equip these people, then they can be a good instrument and part of the mission.”
Guests at the first PASA meeting included James Gibson, director of the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, based in the United States. Most of the attendees were scientists, but also some administrators were present, including SSD president Saw Samuel.
Guest speakers presented on the topic of science as done by Christians and the ethics of human cloning.
Some of PASA’s future projects include the publishing of a yearly scientific journal as well the organization of annual scientific conferences.
“We intend to make PASA a premier scientist portal for Seventh-day Adventist scientists in our division territory if not worldwide,” said newly elected PASA president Jose Oclarit. “We are planning an annual scientific conference, and to publish an Adventist science journal. This journal should be peer-reviewed, and we are planning a worldwide circulation for it.”
Additionally, PASA officials and members said they would like to welcome more scientists in the future.
“What makes me happy is the vision [Adventist scientists in the Philippines] have, which is to use this group as a tool for evangelism,” Mergal said. “It is about reaching out through science and becoming an active instrument in God’s work.”
The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.