Pastor of largest Nazarene church in Philippines passes away

Angeles City, Philippines

Angelito Agbuya, pastor of Angeles City Church of the Nazarene in the Philippines, passed away 4 September at the age of 67. 

Throughout his life, Agbuya served the Church of the Nazarene in many capacities, including as a professor at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary; president of Philippine Nazarene College (formerly Luzon Nazarene Bible College); founder and president of the Nazarene Academy, the first Nazarene K-12 school in the Philippines; superintendent of the Philippines Metropolitan Luzon District; and senior pastor of the largest church in the Philippines — Angeles City First Church — where he served for 52 years until his death.

Agbuya became the second pastor of the Angeles church after Ronald Beech, who pioneered the church in 1964 with the assistance of U.S. servicemen stationed at the nearby Clark Air Base. During Agbuya’s tenure, attendance exceeded 900 each week and 10 other congregations were planted. 

While serving the Angeles City church, Agbuya was also a professor at APNTS. He began teaching in 1980 as part of a Nazarene Theological Seminary extension program held on the campus each January. In 1983, when APNTS commenced its own classes, Agbuya became a member of the founding faculty.

APNTS President Bruce Oldham recognized the impact Agbuya had on those around him. 

"We at APNTS are mourning today the passing of Dr. Angelito Agbuya, who served the Angeles City Church for 52 years and was a founding faculty member [of APNTS],” Oldham said. “For me, he expressed the powerful reality of God’s work [as] a pastor and mentor for so many here in the Philippines. I, too, was honored to know him as a friend and an encourager. We pray for his family and his congregation during these days of grieving. His influence will continue in the lives of those he embraced and shared the love of Christ. His godly legacy as pastor and friend will live on among us all."

Agbuya served as superintendent of the Philippines Metropolitan Luzon District from 1997 to 2014. He also served as the president of Philippine Nazarene College in La Trinidad from 2005 to 2008. 

Philippines-Micronesia Field Strategy Coordinator Stephen Gualberto thought highly of Agbuya. 

“Rev. Dr. Angelito Agbuya dedicated his life to preaching the gospel, touching the lives of many in the Philippines,” Gualberto said. “It is bittersweet to hear of his homegoing this morning, as he will be missed, but we know he heard those words, ‘well done good and faithful servant.’ We mourn with and pray for his wife and children. May the Lord surround them with his love, peace, and comfort during this time of sorrow.”

In 2016, the Angeles City church presented Agbuya and his wife, Rose, with a Distinguished Service Award during its 53rd anniversary celebration.

Agbuya earned a Master of Arts, a Doctorate of Philosophy, and a Doctorate of Education.

He is survived by his wife, Rose Canieso; their four children, Ammie Rose Gates, Lemuel Agbuya, Faith Joy Agbuya, and Jeriel Agbuya; and five grandchildren. 

A celebration of life was held 7 September at La Pieta Memorial Park in Angeles City, Philippines.

--Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary via NCN News submissions

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