SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Just like thousands of other churches in the world today, the United Community Church of Christ became another statistic on the list of churches closing, due to decline in membership and people’s growing indifference with religion.
In 2015, the 5.2-acre property on 4443 Hunnicut Dr. in San Antonio was sold for $625 thousand to the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ), an international religious organization that goes the opposite trend on account of its fast-growing worldwide membership.
According to its former owners, the United Community Church of Christ had to close its doors due to their inability to maintain the upkeep of the property that had deteriorated from old age, and more importantly because of the staggering drop in active membership in a city with more than half the population said to be affiliated with religion.
This property in Texas is one of the hundreds of worship buildings the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) has purchased in various states in the USA and in different countries, so that people’s connection to God can be kept alive in communities all over the world. With nearly 40 growing local congregations just throughout the Southern Midwest alone, this newly renovated house of worship, the second in the San Antonio area, opened its doors Saturday, Jan. 27 for a neighborhood who very well would have been stripped of a potential community sanctuary.
For years, Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) members in San Antonio rented space in nearby community halls to worship twice a week. Its members, coming from Austin, Copperas Cove, Edinburg and Houston, used to travel hours to other INC congregations throughout the region just to be able to worship. The growing congregation will now avail itself of the completely renovated 7,500 sq. ft., 275-capacity main sanctuary, in addition to the property’s 3,000 sq. ft. recreational hall and various offices with a conference room. Voluntary contributions from members all over the world allow for the building and renovation of INC edifices like this one in San Antonio.
INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, who just came from pastoral visitations in Moscow, Rio De Janeiro, Mexico City and Mountain View, California will also be dedicating this house of worship. In 2016 alone, the INC dedicated 350 houses of worship worldwide – some of which were in the US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the Philippines; 122 additional chapels are currently under construction or renovation in 2017.
“Many churches that have been established for decades are losing its members, even in communities where religion is prominent in the household. But the INC continues to have programs for all ages that keep them close to God and tight knit in the Church community,” said Robert Pellien, a minister of the Gospel who joined the INC in the 1970s.
“We hope that more residents of the San Antonio area will regularly visit this newly refurbished house of worship, to hear the words of God and simply find something more meaningful, ” said Eduardo Javier, an INC Southern Midwest District Minister.
The Church’s unprecedented growth under the leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo is expected to continue in 2017 with the support of its membership worldwide.
About the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ is a global church comprising of more than 5,500 local congregations in over 130 countries and territories worldwide, with membership of at least 110 nationalities. Its Central Administration is in Quezon City, Philippines. www.iglesianicristo.net.