The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) continues to intensify its outreach projects amid the Covid-19 pandemic
Date Posted: September 10, 2020
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church Of Christ), an international religious organization now established in 158 countries and territories, continues to help communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the distribution of goods, food, care packages, including face masks, to the establishment of eco-farms to help create job opportunities, the Church continues to extend a helping hand to those in need in the United States and other countries.
After the Aid To Humanity event on May 9 and 10 this year, which saw the donation of essential goods to 525 beneficiaries in the local communities, an INC Giving event for the distribution of 5,000 reusable and washable face masks and other care packages followed on July 22 to 27 to commemorate the Church’s 106th founding anniversary. Both events were held in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The Church, during the July 22 to 27 event, channeled donations to public schools, nursing homes, and elderly facilities, including the United States Postal Services (USPS) office in Fort Washington, Maryland. It benefited at least 688 recipients.
The INC Giving event was done to support the implementation of the mask requirements among states’ residents to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
On August 12 to 16, the Church Of Christ marked the first anniversary of the Aid To Humanity US and Canada Tour, with the distribution of 3,000 face masks and 680 care packages filled with groceries, hand sanitizers, and paper towels, in the DMV region (Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia).
Following the shutdowns and complying with the stay-at-home orders issued across the country, Church members continued to practice their faith, promptly shifting to online worship services. All congregational gatherings and activities remain virtual, and individual members continue to observe health restrictions and protocols in public places. They are also active participants in the contact tracing efforts launched by the states’ health departments to help in isolating those infected with the novel coronavirus.
In Shoshoni, Wyoming, in a 163-acre eco-farm developed by the Church, about two grow rooms of mushrooms are harvested per week, providing a source of income to many residents. This site and its counterpart in Scenic, South Dakota, with a capacity for 16 indoor grow rooms, are the first eco-farm projects established by INC in North America.
Aside from these, there are 37 other eco-farms worldwide, which include a 1,255-acre site in Ladybrand, South Africa, under the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, the charitable arm of the Church Of Christ. According to the Church’s General Auditor, Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr., these eco-farm projects aim “to give work or livelihood and housing to those in need in different countries.”
The Iglesia Ni Cristo, under the stewardship of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, and through the help and guidance of the Almighty God, is unceasing in its socio-civic projects globally, reaching out to the different sectors of the community, especially the marginalized.
The INC is now established in 158 countries and territories, and its members belong to 147 races and nationalities worldwide. Its members continue to be exhorted to live according to the biblical teachings the Church upholds, which include respect for the law. — Courtesy of INC Public Information Office
Iglesia Ni Cristo donates 10,000 face masks to students of 12 schools in Southern Canada
Date Posted: September 21, 2020
In Aid To Humanity events on September 8 and 9, the Church Of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo or INC), through its socio-civic arm, Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, in partnership with the INC Giving Project, donated over 10,000 face masks to a dozen selected schools in the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and one in Alberta.
This was in time for the resumption of in-class learning in schools in these said provinces, but with safety protocols in place, such as wearing face masks, for the students and teachers to avoid contracting and spreading Covid-19.
This timely effort provided additional supply of the said PPE for the teachers and students of the following institutions: (Manitoba Province) Andrew Mynarski VC School, Ecole Leila North Community School, Greenway School, Sargent Park School, and St. John’s High School; (Saskatchewan Province) Carlton Comprehensive, Hope’s Home Child Care, Humboldt Public, O.M. Irwin School, Pleasant Hill Community School, Winston Churchill, and W.P. Bate Community School; (Alberta) Wainwright School.
Brother Sidney R. Santos, supervising minister of the Ecclesiastical District of Manitoba, oversaw this project, leading the volunteers—all members from the District—in preparing, transporting, and distributing the donations.
Rhonda Dickenson, the Student Service Coordinator for Beautiful Plains School Division in Neepawa, Manitoba conveyed her thanks for the “very generous donation of over 1000 masks” that will help nearly 1,300 students in their school division.
This is the first-time donation on behalf of the Church Of Christ, and we are very appreciative of the efforts made by the local folks to make this happen for the children in our schools. I would just like to express my appreciation to Brother Eduardo Manalo (Executive Minister of the INC) for this generous donation to our school division,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Pleasant Hill Community School in Saskatchewan, through their social media platform, extended their appreciation to the Church Of Christ for the said donation.
Recently, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, through its member-volunteer from Manitoba donated goods and clothing to the Indigenous Peoples in the communities of Berens River Watershed. Councillor Clinton Keeper of the Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Manitoba expressed his gratitude on behalf of his community.
“We hope our students get back to school this fall and many of our students will be clothed head to toe with your very generous donations,” he said in a letter. “Our people at Little Grand Rapids greatly appreciate these gifts and your generosity. It is surely a lesson for all of us to learn from your efforts and how an act of kindness and giving such as this brings so much light into the world.”
The Church Of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo), led by its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, has established a strong presence in 158 countries and territories. Aside from its primary mission to proclaim the pristine gospel of salvation as recorded in the Bible, the Church conducts Aid to Humanity to extend medical and financial assistance to people affected by calamities and disaster and to those in need. — Courtesy of INC Public Information Office
An Administration of God, by God, and for God’s people
God is truly the One guiding this Church through the administration He placed in it
By MARLEX C. CANTOR
THE SUCCESS of an organization is often attributed to its leadership. Those engaged in religious studies assert that that is true even for the Iglesia Ni Cristo. That could be the reason sociologist Jayeel Cornelio considers what he calls the “charisma” of Brother Felix Y. Manalo and those who succeeded him as Executive Minister as a factor contributing to the Church Of Christ’s success. (“The rise of INC: ‘Stricter religions grow stronger’,” July 26, 2014)
For its faithful members, the reason for the Church Of Christ’s success is simple and clear: God is truly the One guiding this Church through the administration He placed in it. A review of the biblical prophecies about God’s last work of salvation will show that His promised help and guidance not only were fulfilled in His Messenger, Brother Felix Manalo, but also continued to be fulfilled in those who succeeded him in serving as Executive Minister of the Church in these last days—Brother Eraño G. Manalo, who held such capacity for 46 years until his passing, and Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, who is now on his eleventh victorious year of administering the entire Church.
UpheƖd by God’s righteousness
God’s testimony to His Messenger, “I am with you,” is followed with His promise, “I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:9–10 King James Version 2000). God’s righteousness is the gospel or His words written in the Holy Scriptures (Rom. 1:16–17; II Tim. 3:14–15). True to form, Brother Felix Manalo did not teach man-made doctrines but relied solely on the pristine teachings of God in the Bible. His well-remembered words, “Believe not Manalo, but the Bible” indicate that he did not draw people toward himself but to God.
Such a firm conviction to “exalt the law and make it honorable” (Isa. 42:21 New King James Version) has been carried on to this day by ministers and ministerial workers of the Church led by the current Presiding Elder, Brother Eduardo Manalo. The Church today adheres firmly to the very same doctrines that were taught before. In fact, the same Bible lessons prepared by Brother Felix Manalo and Brother Eraño Manalo continue to be taught in its worship services around the world.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo’s strict preservation of and adherence to its Bible-based teachings—no matter if they run counter to certain popular religious beliefs or secular view—is probably what prompted Mr. Cornelio to describe its doctrines as having a “convincing dimension and character” to which he also attributes the Church’s success (“The rise of INC: ‘Stricter religions grow stronger’,” July 26, 2014).
Persecuted but vindicated
The advice “Fear not” in God’s prophetic pronouncements to His Messenger and the Church in these last days indicate how daunting their work would be. Isaiah 41:14 NKJV describes God’s new Jacob as “worm” in the eyes of detractors—“small and weak” (Good News Bible), scorned and despised (Ps. 22:6 New International Version). God’s last work of salvation would be met with persecution and opposition.
Nevertheless, along with the warning came the promise of vindication. God vowed that this “worm” would become “a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth” that would crush “mountains” (Isa. 41:15 NIV). God’s words are likened to a sharp weapon, a double-edged sword that can destroy false beliefs (Heb. 4:12; II Cor. 10:4–5). Therefore, as promised by God, His Messenger in the last days—equipped with the true knowledge of His words—would crush false belief systems likened to “mountains.” To illustrate how this has been realized, here is what an article from another magazine narrated:
“When the Iglesia first came to public notice, the nation literally sat up. The Catholic faith in particular, was greatly unnerved to the end that secretly pilloried the Iglesia Ni Cristo in no mean terms. Among the gossips retailed by the fanatics was that the INC does not believe in Jesus Christ and some such unwarranted charges that its followers trampled upon the Cross. … these absurdities only reveal the weakness of the Catholics who in reality felt being threatened. More so, because of the series of defections in the Catholic church in contrast to the growing number of people trooping the line to the Iglesia. The diminution of the Catholic church is best illustrated by the growing strength of the Iglesia which incidentally draws much of its following from the Catholic faith.” (“Iglesia Ni Cristo: A New International Religious Order,” The New Republic Free Press, January 1983, pp. 29, 24)
Through the years, the Church has faced various persecutions from many other adversaries, but as prophesied by God, they all have ended up “as nothing, As a nonexistent thing” (Isa. 41:12 NKJV) for, in spite of it all, the Church did not weaken but has kept on thriving.
Rising to the peak of gƖory
As God’s last work of salvation, the Church Of Christ that emerged in the Philippines is destined to further growth and worldwide expansion. When God’s glory has been revealed in the east, His name would be revered in the west (Isa. 59:19). As prophesied, God’s mission would not just be confined to the Far East; it would also reach the Far West (Isa. 43:5–6 Moffatt Translation). Almost 50 years since this prophecy was first fulfilled—through the first worship services in Hawaii and California led by Brother Eraño Manalo—the Church is, as of publishing this writing online, in 158 countries and territories all over the world. As its membership keeps on increasing, more ministers have been ordained, more Church officers have been added, and more houses of worship have been constructed year after year.
This steady rise of the Church to further victories illuminates the truth that Brother Felix Manalo is indeed the fulfillment of the prophesied angel or messenger from the east in Revelation 7:2–3. In that prophecy, the messenger and his co-workers in sealing God’s servants are described as “ascending” (moving onward to greater heights) and “with a loud voice” (with great power and might). Such analogies—which are fitting descriptions to the continuing upward climb of the Church’s progress—are also what a nonmember-author wrote about the same biblical prophecy:
“The ‘Angel Ascending From the East, Having the Seal’. The word ‘angel’, used symbolically in the revelation, means ‘messenger’ or ‘message’. This angel or message carries the seal of the living God.
“Some translations read, ‘ascending from the sunrising’. This is a truer translation. It appears that the manner, rather than the locality, is emphasized. As the sun arises with its rays at first oblique and comparatively powerless, but increases in strength and glory until it reaches its zenith, so the work of this angel or message moves onward with ever-increasing influence until its work closes in strength and power, the whole earth being ‘lightened with his glory’. Revelation 18:1.” (Unfolding the Revelation, p. 76)
An irreversibƖe work of God
The Church Of Christ in these last days will never turn away from Him but will continue spreading the true gospel of salvation to all the world. For, no less than God Himself declared that this Church is His handiwork and its success, irreversible:
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth … Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” (Isa. 43:5–6, 13 NKJV)
Thus, it’s no surprise that even outsiders see even brighter prospects for the Church in the future. An associate professor of Intercultural Studies for the Asia Graduate School Of Theology wrote:
“The Iglesia ni Cristo is a New Religious Movement which started as a small seed in Manila, Philippines, and has grown to become an international movement with branches throughout the world. … The future of the Church seems secure as it works to keep newer generations of children actively involved and reaches out to attract new converts. It is unlikely to fade into obscurity.” (Understanding the Iglesia ni Cristo: What They Really Believe and How They Can Be Reached, pp. 15, 30–31)
An irreversibƖe work of God
But the greatest victory which God promised to this Church is salvation on Judgment Day. It is to this end that the Executive Minister—from past to present—has labored so much for the Church. As the one whom God entrusted with His administration of the Church today, Brother Eduardo Manalo is all the more determined and dedicated to lead God’s people in these last days toward spiritual maturity and perfection, as did his predecessors who also took inspiration from these words of Apostle Paul:
“I have become its minister, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, … warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.” (Col. 1:25, 28–29 Holman Christian Standard Bible)
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Thankful and hopeful at all times
By ALEJANDRO R. SINO CRUZ JR.
FOR 106 YEARS, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) has experienced how the Almighty God fulfilled His promises to His Messenger in these last days, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, and to His last work of salvation. He promised to be with His Messenger, to strengthen, help, and uphold him with His righteous right hand (Isa. 41:9-10). And He certainly did so as manifested in the tremendous growth and expansion of the Church.
This same guidance and help have continued uninterruptedly even up to the present administration of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo. Because of this, members around the world offer thanksgiving to God, especially for another year full of blessings to the Iglesia Ni Cristo. They continue to uphold this holy endeavor despite the pandemic that is currently devastating the world.
There is no denying that the situation of the world has gotten worse. The pandemic is bringing grief and fear to many people. At the same time, calamities, social unrest, and widespread unemployment are compounding people’s problems. Despite these, why do members of the Church continue to thank the Lord God when they themselves are experiencing the same? They learned from Apostle Paul what true Christians should do:
“Whatever things may happen to you, continue to thank God. God wants you to do this, because you are united to Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:18 EasyEnglish Bible)
Members of the Church Of Christ are the ones “united to Christ Jesus,” for they are members of His body or Church of which He is the head (Col. 1:18; Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation). Hence, they continue to thank God whatever may happen to them, for this is His commandment to them. Apostle Paul emphasized that God is the One Who wants true Christians to do this. That is why, amid the difficult situations in the world, they continually fulfill their thanksgiving to God.
The Church has experienced not a few adversities. Ever since Brother Felix Manalo first preached about it in the Philippines, it has encountered various persecutions. In addition, it weathered various crises—the Second World War, local armed conflicts, global economic recessions, and severe calamities. Currently, brethren across the globe are striving to cope with the pandemic disease that continues to claim hundreds of thousands of lives, affecting people from all walks of life.
However, through it all, Church members witnessed how the Almighty God cared for His people in these last days. That is why they remember all the kindness and blessings God had bestowed to them. With His help and guidance, they are able to continue their worship and service of Him. When they cried to God for help, He was always there for them. He healed them of their sicknesses and kept them alive; His favor for His people is for a lifetime (Ps. 30:8, 2-3, 4-5 Unlocked Literal Bible).
What God expects
For their thanksgiving to be meaningful, true Christians fulfill what God expects from them. This is what Apostle Paul exhorts them:
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast and immovable. Always abound in the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is not in vain.” (I Cor. 15:57-58 ULB)
Members of the Church Of Christ strive to “be steadfast and immovable” in their divine election. God expects them to “always abound in the work of the Lord.” That is why, even at the present time when life is so burdensome, they are unwavering in their participation in the multifarious activities of the Church.
In spite of the lockdowns or community quarantine, the brethren do not stop, but instead, all the more dedicated themselves to attending their worship services. And to make sure that all brethren are able to continue worshiping God, the Church Administration decided, for the time being, that the brethren conduct household worship services where either a biblical message is read by the head of the family or the preaching of God’s words can be witnessed through video streaming technology.
In some of these worship services, the Executive Minister himself preaches God’s words—through video streaming—to the brethren gathered in their homes in whatever part of the world they may be. One of such occasion was held on May 10, 2020, in commemoration of the 134th birth anniversary of Brother Felix Manalo, as well as the 40th anniversary of Brother Eduardo Manalo’s ordination as minister of the gospel.
Even with the ongoing pandemic, the brethren remain persistent in sharing the true faith. They use the social media and other online platforms to invite their loved ones and friends who are not yet members of the Church to watch, listen to, or read the materials that convey biblical teachings upheld by the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Even in the confines of their homes, Church members continue to participate in various activities organized by the Church Administration through the Christian Family Organizations (CFO). The CFO facilitates, through online conferences, talent shows, livelihood and awareness seminars, art and physical fitness activities, to name a few.
The brethren hold such zeal for God knowing that their “work in the Lord is not in vain.” They firmly believe that training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come (I Tim. 4:8 Common English Bible).
Put all hope in God’s grace
While waiting for the promised eternal life, Iglesia Ni Cristo members understand that they may still experience trials and hardship as they are still in this world. That is why during the thanksgiving worship service on July 19, 2020, the Executive Minister taught the brethren that whenever life is heavy and hard to take, they should “bow in prayer” and instill in their hearts and minds that they should “wait for hope to appear” (Lam. 3:28-29 The Message). Brother Eduardo Manalo emphasized that God’s loyal love is immense and He is good to His servants who patiently waits for and diligently seek Him (Lament. 3:32, 25 MSG).
During the said worship service, the Executive Minister announced the theme of Church activities for its 106th year of establishment: “Put All Your Hope In The Grace That Will Be Yours” (I Pet. 1:13 Easy-to-Read Version). The sacred gathering was held at the Central Temple with an attendance of only 10% of the worship building’s seating capacity, in compliance to the community quarantine guidelines set by the government. The holy occasion was streamed live, thus witnessed by thousands of local congregations, which also made sure to follow health safety protocols.
As the Church celebrates its anniversary on July 27, 2020, members all over the world will never forget to thank the Almighty Father for all His blessings and lovingkindness. Wherever they are or whatever situation they may encounter, they will be one in heart and mind in offering their sincerest thanksgiving to the Lord God. They are neither discouraged nor upset by life’s setbacks—instead, they “expect God to act”—for even though they went through hard times, they “shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do” (Ps. 42:11 Living Bible).
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Darwin Congregation reaches out to international students
By XYRIE PASUQUIN and MARK ANDRO T. MILAN
Date Posted: July 15, 2020
With the easing of stay-at-home measures implemented by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19, brethren from the Local Congregation of Darwin, Ecclesiastical District of Australia West lent a helping hand to international students at the Filipino-Australian Association of the Northern Territory on June 20, 2020.
International students, whose jobs and studies were affected by lockdown restrictions, received relief goods to help them with their daily necessities. They expressed appreciation for the love and support the brethren showed them. The brethren, on the other hand, felt glad for the opportunity to once again be able to extend help to others in their community.
The outreach activity was held under the auspices of the Church’s Aid to Humanity project, in fulfillment of God’s command to help those in need. ― With reports from INC News Section
Church members in Manitoba give relief packages to senior citizens
By ERIC PEREY and MARK ANDRO T. MILAN
Date Posted: July 15, 2020
Bearing in mind that there is a higher risk for older people to be infected with Covid-19, brethren from the Ecclesiastical District of Manitoba in Canada collaborated with the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc. in an Aid to Humanity activity for the benefit of senior citizens on June 19, 2020.
Strictly observing the precautionary health measures, select Church members went door to door at Five One Five Elgin, a residential building at 515 Elgin Avenue, Winnipeg, handing out food, toiletries, and other essentials. Beneficiaries expressed their heartfelt thanks to the brethren who, they said, took time to prioritize them.
“People here don’t have enough food, especially during this time that we have Coronavirus. We have a lot of seniors living here that have mobility issues and, on top of that, are experiencing poverty,” Malaya Marcelino, Manitoba Legislature representative, said. “[The Iglesia Ni Cristo] has a very good mission of community outreach … their commitment is that this is not the first time that they would be reaching out at this building. I’d like to thank the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo because of this initiative … Thank you so much for your commitment to the community.” ― With reports from INC News Section
Backyard gardening, a hit in King William’s Town
By KWAKHANYA TEYISE and ANTONIO G. CAÑAVERAL JR.
Date Posted: July 15, 2020
The Gulayan sa Bakuran (backyard gardening) project launched by the Church Administration motivated the brethren from the Local Congregation of King William’s Town in the Ecclesiastical District of Southern Africa to be more productive while staying at home. What started out as a hobby, the activity became a steady source of income for some families.
Ayanda Mapuna and Liyanda Ngcaku, from Zinyoka village, have been tending their own backyard gardens even in the past. The project gave them the idea to grow more varieties of fruits and vegetables, such as onions, carrots, cabbage, butternut, pumpkin, spinach, turnips, chillies among others. A bountiful harvest would mean more food in their table and additional income for their household.
Reginald Ngcaku, said, “This shows that the Church Administration always looks for ways to better our welfare. We are not left on our own even in these times of crisis.”
The brethren promised that they will always unite with the aims and purposes of the Church Administration and participate in all Church activities. ― With reports from INC News Section