New School For Ministers in Johnsonville, CT
Inauguration of INC School for Ministers in Johnsonville to help with the growing needs of the Church; A Bay Area man finds new hope after receiving the Holy Baptism in the Church Of Christ, and the INC holds an outreach to help members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in southern Arizona.Show/Hide Transcript
HOST: This week on INC News World; another campus extension of the INC School for Ministers is inaugurated in Johnsonville, Connecticut; more people are added to the Church Of Christ in Northwest California; and a Village Evangelical Mission reaches out to the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Arizona. Your INC News World starts now.
HOST: Welcome to INC News World, I’m Richie Ferrera, coming to you from the INC Media studios in Los Angeles, California. Once home to the twine industry and milling community, Johnsonville, Connecticut has sat mostly deserted since the industrial revolution. But today Johnsonville, a once abandoned town, is bustling with excitement. Brother Jowi Han Solo Figueroa has this story.
CLIFFORD STIRBA (RESIDENT – WINDHAM, CONNECTICUT): I remember when I was young in grade school, we would take field trips out here.
Boston, Massachusetts to Johnsonville in East Haddam, Connecticut
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: Located 126 miles from Boston is the town of Johnsonville in East Haddam, Connecticut.
CLIFFORD STIRBA (RESIDENT – WINDHAM, CONNECTICUT): This was known as the ghost town.
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: Clifford is among many Connecticut residents who has seen first hand the progress of Johnsonville, since it was purchased by the Church Of Christ in 2017, starting a new chapter for this once forgotten town.
CLIFFORD STIRBA (RESIDENT – WINDHAM, CONNECTICUT): Going from what it was to what it is now, you can see these buildings being brightened up by paint. The windows are all fixed, they’re not busted anymore, there’s no more wood boards on the doors. And then, there’s a school, and to see a school here? It’s shocking!
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: Braving freezing temperatures, Clifford joins residents to witness a milestone in the town’s history: the inauguration of a building restored to be the newest extension for the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ School For Ministers.
With congregations now in 156 countries and territories, the Church Of Christ has seen its need for ministers also increase, to care for its growing membership. Answering this need, the Church Administration, through the leadership of the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, established the School For Ministers Extension in Johnsonville, Connecticut with the inauguration of the School For Ministers building, led by Brother Glicerio Santos, Jr. one of the primary helpers of the Church Administration, along with Brother Emiliano Magtuto, Jr., the Director for the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ School For Ministers.
BROTHER EMILIANO MAGTUTO, JR. (DIRECTOR – INC SCHOOL FOR MINISTERS): This building was constructed to house the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ School For Ministers in the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America, signed by our Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: In its 45th year of educating future ministers, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ School For Ministers has its main campus in Quezon City, Philippines. But there are now nine overseas extensions: Washington D.C.; Sacramento, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; Ladybrand, South Africa; London, United Kingdom; Rome, Italy; Toronto, Canada; Sydney, Australia; and now here in Johnsonville, Connecticut. Students from across the northeast will study this year in the Johnsonville campus, then later on in the main campus in Quezon City, Philippines to complete their degree in Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism.
MICHAEL SHOHDY (MINISTERIAL STUDENT – PREPARATORY YEAR): This place, first of all, is very wonderful. It’s quiet, peaceful, so it already sets a tone for how we should incorporate ourselves in our studies. We should be focused in a peaceful quiet environment, so that we can learn better.
WESLEY FEBREY (MINISTERIAL STUDENT – FIRST YEAR): First, I would like to thank our Almighty God for giving us this opportunity to be able to be part of this momentous occasion. Because this is not an ordinary thing.
ALEX LOVE (MINISTERIAL STUDENT – PREPARATORY YEAR): Johnsonville, it’s a great town. So far all the people have been very nice to us, so we’re happy to stay here, and we’re happy to spread the word of God to them.
BROTHER EMILIANO MAGTUTO, JR. (DIRECTOR – INC SCHOOL FOR MINISTERS):
The youth of the Church saw that they should enter the Holy Ministry. They heeded the call of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, our Executive Minister, because of the great need of the Church Of Christ for ministers all over the world. The students here in Johnsonville, when the time comes, after graduation and of course, for some of them, after their ordination, they will be assigned to different parts of the world. Particularly here in the U.S.A., there is a need for more ministers here in the United States of America.
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: With a school for higher learning established in Connecticut, residents, like Clifford, will see this community continue to flourish and grow.
CLIFFORD STIRBA (RESIDENT – WINDHAM, CONNECTICUT): The future of this place just became a whole lot brighter.
BROTHER JOWI HAN SOLO FIGUEROA: To learn more about the Church Of Christ and find a local congregation near you visit incmedia.org. Brother Jowi Han Solo Figueroa; Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network; Johnsonville, Connecticut.
HOST: In recent years, the percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group continues to rise and [continued in graphic]
[ON SCREEN GRAPHICS]
78% of these “nones” were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood. Pew Research Center
HOST: But we meet two individuals who left one faith and found the true one later in life. Michelle Peredo has the details.
MICHELLE PEREDO: Antonio grew up in a religious household.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): Well I was introduced, when I was younger, to Catholicism. My grandma, a couple of my aunts, they were the religious ones in my house.
MICHELLE PEREDO: Later in life, he was also introduced to different religions.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I got to spend time with a lot of people who introduced me to Buddhism, introduced me to so many other things. That kind of opened my mind and just wanted to be spiritual, not really religious in any way.
MICHELLE PEREDO: And life wasn’t always easy for him.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): About four years ago, I started to lose everything. Three years ago, I lost my mom.
MICHELLE PEREDO: But God had a plan for him.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): There was a brother by the name of Arthur Jackson who welcomed me into his life. And then I was introduced to Brother Robbie in my life. And he introduced me to his children, his life and everything just as open heartedly as Brother Arthur.
MICHELLE PEREDO: It was with this new friendship that re-sparked his interest in the Church Of Christ. And as part of God’s plan, after learning about the true words of God, he found a new hope and purpose to his life. And things started to turn around for him ever since.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I’m grateful to just have a chance to really fully rebuild my life. And I’m thankful to God that I have a second chance at life.
MICHELLE PEREDO: Christine, who was also born Catholic, had many questions about her faith.
CHRISTINE AQUINO (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I had a few questions like, I always wondered what happens after you die?
MICHELLE PEREDO: But she had the opportunity to tag along with a friend to attend a worship service while traveling through Hawaii.
CHRISTINE AQUINO (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I went to my first worship in Honolulu, Hawaii. I had a few questions like “Why this? Why that? Why do you have to dress up? And why do you have to go to Church every week?”
MICHELLE PEREDO: And as her curiosity about the Church grew, she decided to do some research of her own.
CHRISTINE AQUINO (RESIDENT – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I went on the website incmedia.org. And I got my information and it said if you want more information to email this specific email. And so when I did a member of the Church of Christ actually replied back to me, Christine, Sister Christine. And so she gave me all the information.
MICHELLE PEREDO: Once again, she decided to attend another worship service closer to where she lived.
CHRISTINE AQUINO (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): And when I learned about it, I really wanted to have that and I wanted to be a member and go to the holy city.
BROTHER ESTEBAN INOCENCIO (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA): Through the help and grace of God, many received the holy baptism today. Activities such as this that we are conducting, the My Countrymen, My Brethren, the evangelical missions, it came from the Administration. So, we will always remain united because through our unity with the Administration, we firmly believe that that’s how we would be able to bear abundant fruit when we remain united.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I’m grateful to the brothers and the brethren of the Church [Of Christ]. I’m thankful because even though I lost my mom, I had lost my home, I had lost my car and everything is to have my hope, my faith. And I had to find the courage to rebuild. And somehow I did. And I’m here.
MICHELLE PEREDO: And it’s with this renewed hope that continues to inspire members of the Church Of Christ to share their faith so that they too may know the true God.
LUIS ANTONIO MARQUEZ (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA): I dedicate to hopefully help, at least one more become a member. And then hopefully they can do the same. I don’t know how much life I have left on this earth, and I just want to make sure that I, at least, help one person into the light. If I can do that, then I can die happy.
MICHELLE PEREDO: Through the intensive efforts of the brethren in inviting their friends and loved ones to hear the words of God, the District of Northwest California was able to bear abundant fruit in the start of the new year. For more inspiring stories, log on to incmedia.org. Michelle Peredo for the Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network; San Jose, California.
HOST: The Pascua Yaqui tribe of southern Arizona is one whose native faith has merged with Catholic traditions over the centuries. Their tribal flag even bears a crucifix, a cultural representation of their tribal faith’s evolution. But there has been a new faith introduced to the Pascua Yaqui. Darlene Pangilinan has the details.
Darlene Pangilinan: In Tucson, Arizona among those attending the Village Evangelical Mission held at the Pascua Yaqui Resource Centre was Pascua Yaqui tribal member Stephen Ray Williams.
Stephen Ray Williams (Tribal Member – Tucson, Arizona): So, I’m a tribal member myself, but I had ended up volunteering for the Aid to Humanity event and they had invited me to the San Carlos event, the San Carlos Indian Reservation. And I went and attended there with one of my friends and on my way back, we had talked about doing it for the Native Americans here in Tucson, Arizona.
Darlene Pangilinan: The Aid to Humanity event, held at the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in 2019, inspired both members of the Church Of Christ and Native American tribal members across the region.
Stephen Ray Williams (Tribal Member – Tucson, Arizona): I spoke to the Pascua Yaqui tribe, the council members there who have access to this facility that we’re using and they granted us the request that I had asked for.
Darlene Pangilinan: He connected with the Church Of Christ congregation in Tucson, which was looking to collaborate with the Native American population in Tucson for the Village Evangelical Mission, which provided free clothing, free entertainment and other household necessities to members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe and residents of Tucson. But most importantly, the event shared the words of God.
Manny Enos (Tribe Member – Tapawa, Arizona): I usually go to church on Sundays but I found that leaflet and I said “I’m gonna go in there, I wanna see how this Church is.” Because I go to Christian church, I go to Native American Church, I go to sweat lodges. And I just want to find out how other churches worship.
Darlene Pangilinan: Native American guests were able to compare and contrast the faith of their ancestors, with that, of the Church Of Christ.
Manny Enos (Tribe Member – Tapaway, Arizona): When he read the Bible about the Philippines, the islands and it’s in the Bible, I was amazed because it’s in the Bible. So, it’s got to be true you know. I was like, when the pastor was preaching, I could feel it in my heart you know, that he’s telling the word and the words are in the Bible. This is not, nothing that somebody just made up.
Stephen Ray Williams (Tribal Member – Tucson, Arizona): So, I believe that it’s very important for the tribal members and for anybody that isn’t even a part of the tribe, to get the true meaning of who God is and what He’s about to do.
Darlene Pangilinan: And what God is doing, is calling more people into the true Church Of Christ. Stay tuned for more news about faith on INC News World, on incmedia.org. Darlene Pangilinan; Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network; Tucson, Arizona.
HOST: Now it’s time for the segment “Solid Through The Ages.”
HOST: Today we’d like to greet Policarpio Ferrera, my dad, a happy birthday! He is a grandfather, a published author, and a proud member of the Church Of Christ. This week he celebrates 80 blessed years! If you see Policarpio in the Local Congregation of Eagle Rock, make sure to greet him a very happy birthday!
And if you know of anyone celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Solid Through The Ages.”
HOST: Well, that does it for us on INC News World. Tune in every Friday for new episodes of INC News World on incmedia.org. I’m Richie Ferrera, on behalf of the entire INC News World team thank you for joining us. Have a great weekend and God bless!