Rev. Emiljun Rapada Awarded for Excellence in Religious Ministry
Rev. Emiljun Rapada, one of the pastors of the Unificationist community in Elizabeth, New Jersey, has been recognized for excellence in religious ministry by the Garden State Filipino-American Association (GSFAA).
Rev. Rapada was one of eight awardees, along with individuals honored in the fields of medicine, politics, media, education, nursing, accounting, and parenting, in a ceremony held on December 16, 2017, at the Renaissance Hotel.
Emiljun Rapada, fondly called “EJ,” has been in the religious ministry since 1992, when he was still a college student taking his degree in computer engineering in the Philippines. He was the assistant regional director of the Family Federation for the Cagayan Valley Region in 1995 until becoming regional director in 2000. Then, after working for five years in the Philippine government in the Office of the President as an information technology specialist, he emigrated to the United States to join his wife in New Jersey in 2005.
In 2011, he became the community director of FFWPU in Clifton, New Jersey, and assisted then-District Pastors Bishop Pablo and Dr. Anne Iparraguire in organizing the satellite community of Elizabeth in 2013. He later became the education director and youth pastor in Elizabeth after it was recognized as an official church community. Currently he is the assistant pastor of the Elizabeth Family Church, pastoring to more than 40 diverse families. He graduated from the Unification Theological Seminary in New York with the degree of Master of Arts in Religious Studies with a concentration in Non-Profit Leadership.
Rev. Emiljun Rapada was an ordained pastor of the Association of Christian Evangelists (ACE) Inc. founded by Rev. Dr. Gaudencio Soriano, a member of the American Clergy Leadership Conference and one of the first ministers who defended True Father from injustice and religious persecution in the mid-1980s. Pastor EJ has been instrumental in organizing local and international conferences on ecumenism and interfaith among religious leaders. He is currently the administrative bishop and treasurer of the ACE Board of Trustees. He was elevated to the title of bishop in 2015, becoming the youngest in the association and supervising close to 20 local ministries.
He took part in the 360,000 Couples International Holy Marriage Blessing in 1995 with Christine Mourad, who is of Lebanese descent. Rev. and Mrs. Rapada are the parents of four daughters and one son.
Besides his volunteer ministry works, he is also the current president of the Filipino International Community of America (www.ficaonline.org) and the national youth director of the Universal Peace Federation USA (www.us.upf.org) headquartered in New York City.
Contributed by Christine Rapada