Iglesia Ni Cristo Renovates House of Worship in Toronto Area and Holds Humanitarian Event to Celebrate
SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 (TORONTO) – Celebrating its 45th year in the province of Ontario, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), an international religious organization that holds its Central Office in the Philippines, opened the doors of its recently renovated 450-seater worship building at 310 Burnhamthorpe Road, Toronto, during a special worship service on September 22, officiated by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
In February 1973, a small group of members of the Church Of Christ in Toronto began gathering for prayer. The Local Congregation of Toronto was the first congregation of the INC in Ontario, established when the first worship service was held in December 1973.
The property was purchased by the INC in the 1980s to accommodate the congregation’s explosive growth. Over the last 30+ years the property has been the hub of events for the Ontario membership. Over the decades, additional congregations were established throughout Ontario, with over a dozen congregations in the Greater Toronto Area alone, all of which can trace their roots back to the congregation of Toronto.
During the recent renovation, extensive upgrades were made to the main sanctuary of the chapel. The chapel exterior was updated, and soaring spires were added. Voluntary contributions from members all over the world allow for the building and renovation of INC edifices like this one in Toronto, that has elements unique to the local culture and building’s history, but a tribute to INC chapels seen globally.
The day before the chapel dedication, members of the INC in Toronto and surrounding areas also participated in an Aid For Humanity event through the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation. Over 3000 care packages were prepared for the homeless, refugees, new immigrants, as well as clients at local shelters. Filled with winter wear items, including blankets, mittens, socks, as well as food items and hygiene products, these care packages were given out along with free food and entertainment at an event at the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place in Toronto.
Various non-profit organizations including immigrant and refugee centres and local shelters were invited to receive care packages, and ten organizations also received a $1000.00 cheque for their respective communities.
“It is our duty as members of the Church to make sure our houses of worship are kept presentable and well maintained and this renovation turned out beautifully. But it’s also our duty as true Christians to ensure our neighbours here in Canada are being well taken of — through humanitarian aid, or better yet, by sharing the words of God,” said Rod Bruno, District Minister of the congregations in the Ecclesiastical District of Canada 2, which includes INC congregations in Ontario and eastward to PEI.
Recipients of the humanitarian aid noted how exceptional the event was, and how surprised they were to receive this helping hand. “I was shocked. Where am I? Am I in the right place? I’ve been in Canada for more than 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. It was more than I expected. My first impression of you was, where are your churches at, where are your services at, I want to worship with you. It’s not easy being a single mother. I try to give them the best help, the best schools, but it’s very difficult. You need help. Here I feel joy. Here I feel loved,” said Odinga Saxon [pictured].
About the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ is a global Christian Church that upholds Bible-based Christian teachings. It maintains congregations and missions in 143 countries and territories and its membership consists of 133 ethnic groups and nationalities.
The INC continues to fulfill its pledge of sharing the gospel and extending help, to the best of its ability, to strengthen the bond between the congregations of the Church Of Christ and the communities in which they serve – through aid and services, promoting education, socio-economic well-being, environmental awareness and health improvement. This is done with the help of local governments and community establishments, through the Aid For Humanity Program of the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation and also the worldwide volunteer force of the INC Giving Project enacted through the Christian Family Organizations of the Church Of Christ.
Photos Courtesy of Iglesia Ni Cristo Public Information Office