RICHIE FERRERA: Welcome back to this special episode of INC News World.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: As we commemorate the 107th anniversary of the Church Of Christ.
RICHIE FERRERA: And joining us now from the INC Media Studios in Honolulu, Hawaii, is Shannon.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Hi, Shannon.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Hi, Richie and Naomi. Happy anniversary from us here in Hawaii.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Happy anniversary.
RICHIE FERRERA: Happy anniversary.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: We’ve seen the Church grow around the world over the last year. And along with that, the words of God have also reached more people during the pandemic than ever before.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: That’s right. It was the goal of the Church Administration to inspire an intensive effort among members to invite their friends and loved ones to listen to the true teachings found inside the Church Of Christ.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And in turn, it led to so many more discovering and learning the teachings that led them on a life changing journey.
WILLIAM RITCHIE (INC MEMBER – MALTA): The one thing which impressed me with the Church Of Christ is we still managed to arrange our worship services. We still kept in touch with the brethren, [places] just closed down, and [yet] they never gave up with us.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Across Europe, restrict pandemic era government restrictions remain in place. People were still able to be introduced to God. And as the pandemic continued to affect every aspect of life, some asked, “Would baptisms in the Church Of Christ continue?”
WILLIAM RITCHIE (INC MEMBER – MALTA): I used to get myself a bit down and I used to think, “I’m not going to be able to have my baptism because the pandemic is going to ruin it. It could be months and months.”
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: The answer was that baptisms continued while adhering to each nation’s COVID-19 protocols. Baptisms continued around the world in 2020 and into 2021, from Malta to Greece. From Lithuania to Denmark. From Vanuatu…
AMANDA (AMONG FIRST TO BE BAPTIZED IN VANUATU): I am so proud to be a member of the Church Of Christ.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: To Haiti in the Caribbean…
FEDNOR TOUSSAINT (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – PETIT GOAVE, HAITI): Now I feel good, and I feel so happy because now I know that God is with me.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: A true baptism that has occurred countless times in countless locations
MIGUEL SANTIAGO (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA): I started my Bible studies in July of last year. So, it’s been a long time coming and one during a lot of hardships, but definitely very blessed.
CARMINE MONDELLO (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – ROME, ITALY): I felt a change inside me. A year has passed, and I’ve made a decision that in God’s will, allowed me to be here today.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: God’s will be done, pandemic or not, because God’s teachings found in the Church Of Christ remain unchanged and true.
KOHLEEN VILLANUEVA (INC MEMBER – PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM): It’s really important that, especially during these dark times of the world, that we shine as light, and we share our faith.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And as light bearers of God’s truth, members of the Church Of Christ continued to invite anyone they could to mostly virtual events. We remain connected well apart. We learn new technology to hear time old truths. For some, for the first time.
EUPHRASIE MOLONGO (GUEST – LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM): Yeah, I find it amazing. There were so many people chiming in, so I find it so great to be able to gather so many people at one point being all of us in a different place but being together. At this moment, I think it’s amazing.
MEHVISH NOMAN (GUEST – UNITED KINGDOM): I think it’s very important to have lessons like this that can be really inspiring and help people feel closer to God.
DANIELLE REID (GUEST – UNITED KINGDOM): I’d love to, like, come again and join because the togetherness of your congregation is still aspiring and amazing.
EDSEL ARGUILO (GUEST – MILAN, ITALY): In this past year, the great opportunity to be part of your evangelical missions, and I’m glad that I have been introduced into your Church and the whole Church is that close with each other. So, I see the brotherhood, I see the family. So that’s very, very inspiring.
KOHLEEN VILLANUEVA (INC MEMBER – PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM): When I saw the reactions of our visitors now brothers and sisters, I felt so happy because this was a way for them to listen to the words of our Lord God.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And around the world, events like My Countrymen, My Brethren, aimed at introducing the church to our fellowmen, concentrated on thanking first responders and essential workers.
JESENIA CANDELARIA (FRONTLINE HEALTHWORKER & RECIPIENT – NEW JERSEY):
This is wonderful. This is absolutely wonderful. Because you know that all your hard work is not being unwitnessed. And also we definitely appreciate it tremendously.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And Welcome My Brethren events around the world are designed to embrace new members of the Church Of Christ into their new Christian families.
KISHA GUINTO (INC MEMBER – LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM): Yes, we’re not blood, but you can find, like family doesn’t mean necessarily blood. It can mean a community of people that really matter to you and that you really love them, and they genuinely care for you. And like people in the Church have proven that.
It’s like a family. And that is the place that I was looking for. To have like a first family in the UK because I was on my own and I found it in the Church Of Christ.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: As more and more accepted the invitation to listen to God’s words, the baptisms continued and lives previously spiraling through a pandemic found peace.
TERRENCE GOLDEN (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): I actually found myself just crying sometimes, you know, not of sadness either. Just, you know, the fact that, you know, I don’t have to go through this alone anymore.
BYRON SPENCER (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – FLORIDA): I feel good. All my sins have been washed away. And I get to start over in life and give my heart to the Lord.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: No matter the age, people like Kenneth, a former Mormon priest, have a newfound hope in life.
KENNETH JOHNSON (INC MEMBER – TEXAS): 70 years old, and I’m not dead yet. I still have something to offer. I had forgotten how to smile, and I could smile again. I really can.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: No matter where we were in the world, many of us have spent this past year socially distant, in quarantine or in isolation. We’ve all felt some levels of loneliness at some point. But like what our new brother mentioned, there are countless new members of the Church Of Christ who have discovered that they actually aren’t alone. And that God is right by their side.
RICHIE FERRERA: Coming up on 19 Years World, the Church Administration’s care and love is felt in endless ways by many around the world. More on INC News World, when we return. Don’t go away.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Welcome back to this special episode of INC News World.
RICHIE FERRERA: We’re taking a look back at another year that the Church Of Christ has endured and even flourished in the midst of the pandemic with the grace of God.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And joining us for this part of the show is Brother Michael from the INC Media Studios, in San Francisco, California.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: Thank you, Richie and Naomi. Yes, we can see that as we approach our 107th year, it was clear that God’s hand was evident in all the successes of the Church Of Christ. Through the instrumentality of the Church Administration, the Church was led onward to further victories. Through their guidance, the members were strengthened no matter where they were. And just as the Administration led the charge in intensifying the works of propagation, the outreach efforts to our fellowmen also intensified.
Oh, my God, this is beautiful…
This is great!
you are you for this is great.
I am almost in tears. I have never seen anything like this before.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: Aid To Humanity and outreach events continued wherever they were safely able from across the Dominican Republic to all over Canada.
ROXANNE SIMARD (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR LE GITE AMI – GATINEAU, QUEBEC): Many thanks to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo and the [Felix Y. Manalo] Foundation. Thank you very much for your generosity.
GREG FERGUS (MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT – HULL-AYLMER, QUEBEC, CANADA): Being the social arm of the Church Of Christ, the Felix Y Manalo Foundation’s significant work in providing services for people to lead healthy and productive lives. It’s key. Minister Manalo, the work of the FYM Foundation does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being such an important agent of change.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: And to our neighbors across continents…
MICHAEL MOODY (PARISH PRIEST – MELTON, AUSTRALIA): The support will offer food and other substance for many in our different communities here in Melton. So, we thank you very much for the response, especially during this difficult time.
YITZHAK PASCUAL MONSANTO (AUXILIARY AND VICAR GENERAL, ST. FRANCIS OF
ASSISI CHURCH – PHILIPPINES): I’m very happy that we show our love for our fellowmen, not because of religion, but because of the intention to help one another.
ZURIN JERRY JUANITO ELLAGA (PRIEST-IN-CHARGE, ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH – PHILIPPINES): I said, “That was really fast.” Meaning when it comes to helping our countrymen, the Church Of Christ is earnest in what they do. And was quick to take action especially for those who are in need. This community will never forget this, especially for those who are from the Saint Francis of Assisi Church.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: Even lending a hand to essential workers during this dire time.
SHAUNA MCCOY HILL (INSTRUCTIONAL LEAD TEACHER – FAIRMONT HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL, WASHINGTON D.C.): I think now the Church and faith is more important than ever. As we see people are going through COVID, some of them are living in, some of them not. Your faith is so strong. And to still have the Church out here on the forefront looking out for teachers is definitely a blessing.
STEPHANIE BOWMAN (FOUNDER – ONE HEART FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN): So first I want to say thank you to the Church Of Christ for choosing One Heart. It reminds me that we’re not alone. We’re never, ever, ever alone.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: And help came to fellow neighbors in more than just care packages.
PHOEBE PANG SIO LAI (ROTARY CLUB PRESIDENT – MACAU): First of all, we would like to say thank you so much to the Church Of Christ for fully supporting us. They informed all their brethren in Macau which the Rotary Club and the people of Macau highly appreciated.
LILET RAFINAN (TERRITORY MANAGER – MISSISSAUGA – CANADA BLOOD SERVICES): Brother Eduardo, you have truly made a difference. Words are not enough to express our sincerest gratitude to you and to all Church Of Christ members. Because of you, you have given hope to many people. Thank you.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: The Church Of Christ shined as a beacon of hope, and leaders within the communities took notice. Iglesia Ni Cristo and Executive Minister – Eduardo V. Manalo Day was declared in the cities of the borough of New Milford, Bayonne, New Jersey.
Therefore, I, James M. Davis, mayor of the city of Bayonne do hereby proclaim that Saturday, October 31st, 2020, to be observed as the Church Of Christ and Executive Minister, Eduardo V. Manalo Day in the city of Bayonne.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: In Shoshoni, Wyoming. The Mayor recognized the INC for its great impact to the town
MAYOR JOEL HIGHSMITH (SHOSHONI, WYOMING): It’s a mayor’s proclamation in recognition of Eduardo V. Manalo Day (Aid To Humanity).
MICHAEL GUERRERO: And in Daly City, California, for its philanthropic contributions.
MAYOR GLENN SYLVESTER (DALY CITY, CALIFORNIA): This organization provides Aid To Humanity in a number of ways for the city of Daly City. That meant bridging the digital divide in our community, especially stricken by this pandemic was our youth and our most vulnerable, our seniors. It was more than fitting to recognize the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, as 2020’s philanthropic organization of the year.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: As the Church approached its 107th anniversary, they also extended their sincerest greetings.
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (U.S. SENATOR – MARYLAND, U.S.A.): I am delighted to extend my congratulations to the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ. As you celebrate its 107th anniversary, its commitment to assisting our young people and helping to feed and clothe those in need has enabled its members to make a difference in the lives of many.
LARRY HOGAN (GOVERNOR – MARYLAND, U.S.A.): In honor of your many years of spiritual leadership, the people of Maryland join together in expressing our congratulations for a joyous and memorable celebration.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: Though separated by oceans or thousands of miles, God’s love was felt by members around the world, through the guidance of the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
RICHARD ESPERANZA (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL – AUSTRALIA EAST): It always just brings us joy and happiness and strength in our inner selves. Strengthen our faith whenever we see our spiritual leader leading and guiding us in our worship services. And that’s why we’re thankful. We’re so grateful to have this kind of technology today, to be able to have this opportunity to be led in our worship services by our beloved Executive Minister.
ROBERT BADANGUIO (HEAD DEACON – SALINAS, CALIFORNIA): Thank God, and again to the Church Administration that they allowed us to use modern technology, even though we haven’t been able to gather ourselves in the house of worship. We are continuously worshiping our Lord God.
STENDLEY PIERRE (LOCAL LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR, INC MEMBER – HAITI): We are so grateful to the Administration because like mentioned, two ministers [sent] here in Haiti, a country far from the Philippines to preach the works of God. That’s already a big blessing and that’s already shown how they care for us and gives us the message to preach us the truth to remove us from the darkness, put us to the light, and we keep praying for him so God can keep him to live a long life, give them strength that he needs to continue leading the flock.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: Our lives drastically changed in 2020 and as a people we strive to continue to adjust to the constantly changing world. But one thing that didn’t change was the care of the Church Administration.
RICHIE FERRERA: As each year passes, though, the struggles we face become more difficult. We know that we’ll always be guided.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And that the guidance of the Church Administration will always be guided by God.
SHANNON SANTAMARIA: In this, it is truly God’s love and mercy to His people. And for this we give all honor and glory to Him.
MICHAEL GUERRERO: No matter what the future holds, we can stand firm and look up when tribulations come. We can bow our heads down in prayer and know that God is listening.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Well, that takes us to the end of this special episode. Thank you once again, Shannon, for joining us from Honolulu, Hawaii.
RICHIE FERRERA: And Brother Michael from San Francisco. And happy 107th anniversary.
And to everyone else watching, thank you for joining us. We hope that you continue to stay safe wherever you may be. Have a great weekend. And God bless.
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