Unity Games Around the World |INC News World
Richie Ferrera: Welcome to This World. I’m Richard Ferrera, coming to you from the INC Media Studios in Anaheim, California.
Today, we bring to you a special edition of Around the Globe. The excitement continues as we leap to various locations, bringing you an inside look to the most highly anticipated sports events in the Church Of Christ– Unity Games. Let’s check it out.
Richie Ferrera: Our first stop takes us to the nation’s capital and the ecclesiastical district of Washington, D.C. for another action-packed event held at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf, Maryland. As players prepare themselves for a day of friendly competition, members were aware of the timely preparation needed to launch a successful sporting event.
Rolando Gonzales (Event Coordinator, Temple Hills, Washington, D.C.): We took over more than a month of planning and preparing for this activity where we could hold as many sports as we can because we have so many activities that we want the brethren to take part in. And it’s just nice to see that all of the brethren had an opportunity to participate no matter what sport they chose.
Jian Lazaro (INC Member, Bowie, Washington D.C.): We also coordinated and played recreational volleyball and basketball.
Richie Ferrera: The event brought energy and enthusiasm as participants like Jian, avid to compete in friendly competition with fellow members and friends.
Jian Lazaro (INC Member, Bowie, Washington D.C.): I was able to play with my friends, childhood friends. It was great, got to see friends from different locales.
Alex Larkin (INC Member, Temple Hills, Washington D.C.): Our team had weekly practices, so every week we would meet up actually here at Capital Clubhouse and we would practice. We’d do rallies and drills.
Richie Ferrera: And while competition was in the air, team players were reminded of the importance of upholding good sportsmanship.
Jian Lazaro (INC Member, Bowie, Washington D.C.): When you’re in a game, of course it’s competitive, but when you get into the groove of things, we’re all friends here in the district. Everyone’s friendly.
Rolando Gonzales (Event Coordinator, Temple Hills, Washington, D.C.): The brethren got to be competitive especially in the things that they are good at. But when we’re competitive, we’re still trying to hold on to that Christian unity, that love of the brotherhood. So we get to really put our Christian values to the test. And we really got a chance to see the brothers and sisters. They really showed that unity and love for one another.
Richie Ferrera: And despite some having to travel long distances, members were unhindered to show their support in joining this fun filled event.
Jian Lazaro (INC Member, Bowie, Washington D.C.): I like meeting new people. I like seeing friends. So it was great. Always having a group activity especially when sports is involved.
Alex Larkin (INC Member, Temple Hills, Washington D.C.): There’s a lot of team building and you know, it was a team effort in the end and it was really nice to also be able to socialize with other friends while at this event.
Brother Aldrian Guingab (Minister of the Gospel, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C.): For some, it’s not easy because we have our busy schedules and we have our many responsibilities. But to our beloved brethren, it’s moments like this when we truly receive the blessings we need from our Lord God. Because not only are we receiving the joy, but also this unity with the Church Of Christ, the Church Administration, and also helping us to all the more fulfill our obligations to our Lord God.
Richie Ferrera: Heading along the East Coast, our next visit takes us to the Ecclesiastical District of New Jersey… where the Unity Games continues to bring in the action as members from across the district gathered at Iron Peak Sports and Events in Hillsborough to join in the fun showcasing their athletic skills. And after being recently baptized in the Church Of Christ, Mackenna was among those to participate in the Unity Games.
Mackenna Powel (Newly Baptized Member, Wrightstown, New Jersey): It feels amazing because I’m very sports savvy. I played softball in college, so I’m very athletic, very into sports. I love it. Like, it’s so amazing to me. Everyone is so close. It’s such a tight knit group– every locale. Yeah, there’s like different teams, but you can just tell that we’re all so close knit together and we all just love each other and play among each other.
Richie Ferrera: It was through the Unity Games that participants were united in fellowship for a day of friendly competition.
Katrina Maranan (Inc Member, Winslow, New Jersey): Honestly, it was a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without everyone else on the team, all the other coordinators. We all pretty much did our part when it came to pulling the rosters for each local
RJ Cayusa (INC Member, Winslow, New Jersey): Because sports aren’t played by one person only. It’s supposed to play multiple people and they’re supposed to communicate together. So these games level up our communication with each other. So it was very good.
Brother Royal Moline (Ministerial Worker, North New Jersey, New Jersey): Here in the District of New Jersey, even though our activity started very early in the morning, when you pulled into the parking lot, you could see dozens, even hundreds of brethren waiting outside just to come inside for our activity. You can see that the brethren wanted to be here. They wanted to unite in this activity.
Richie Ferrera: Lively cheers echoed all throughout the large gymnasium as the games reached the playoffs and championships.
Katrina Maranan (INC Member, Winslow, New Jersey): Everyone is just united when it comes to… There’s such good sportsmanship, even if it’s competitive.
RJ Cayusa (INC Member, Winslow, New Jersey): I made so many new friends just bonding over basketball, volleyball and being able to talk about our many duties in the Church and also just being able to come together and just spend time together.
Mackenna Powel (Newly Baptized Member, Wrightstown, New Jersey): It just shows me exactly how we are together. So seeing everyone come together and actually witness that unity and the unity among everyone is spectacular today.
Richie Ferrera: Not far off, another Unity Games took place as we take our next visit to the ecclesiastical district of New York. Known for having a multitude of Major League teams, the spirit of sportsmanship was also shown among the attendees.
Bryan Leary (INC Member, New Hampshire, New York): It’s just a lot of energy, obviously. It’s live. You can feel how loud it is in here, how much everyone is so into every single game. And it’s just a great motivator to hear people that actually care, you know, cheering for their family members. It’s great.
Richie Ferrera: The event was conducted over a two-day period that began with a bowling tournament held in Westport, Massachusetts, followed by a full day of activities held at the Long Plex Sports Center in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Members of all ages participated in the various competitions, including basketball, volleyball, speed cubing, Scrabble, sports-stacking, and even gave the opportunity for newly baptized members like Brandon the chance to compete in a friendly game of chess.
Brandon Berg (Newly Baptized Member, Bellmore, New York): This is the first competition I ever joined. It’s nice to see us getting together like this and being able to meet each other and talk and it’s nice to get to know people from other districts.
Richie Ferrera: Families and friends joined in the fun, showing their support and team spirit and cheering on the participants on the playing field.
Jordan Polintan (Event Coordinator, Rockland, New York): These activities are a great way to unite the brethren. It really encourages team spirit and everyone is just excited to play with each other and it all the more strengthens the love of the brotherhood.
Brother Ivan Diaz (Minister of the Gospel, Ecclesiastical District Of New York): So when brethren come together like this from different parts of the district, no matter how long the distance is, and they come here and they see the brethren from all other local congregations and they just gather together and just play for the love of the brotherhood.
Bryan Leary (INC Member, New Hampshire, New York): Like everyone has a good attitude. No one is trying to hurt each other. I think everyone’s energy is very positive, so it’s nice.
Richie Ferrera: From New York, we head west to the Ecclesiastical District of Northern Midwest… where harmony and camaraderie was displayed among team players as members gathered at the Romeoville Athletic and Events Center in Romeoville, Illinois. The Unity Games also gave the opportunity for members like Aelan to bond together through a game of volleyball.
Aelan Nartatez (INC Member, Bloomingdale, Northern Midwest): Every Sunday or Saturday, we would spend like two hours practicing with each other. You know, us and the guys just playing volleyball, working on our skills and growing as volleyball players.
Brother Joseph Penwell (Minister of the Gospel, Minneapolis, Northern Midwest): The preparation for the Inter-District Unity games starts with the district so that each district can prepare themselves not only physically, but also to prepare themselves spiritually and mentally.
Richie Ferrera: And while being scattered across the vast regions of the district, the members were undeterred in showing their full support as team players.
Exie Nasis (District Buklod Officer, Bloomingdale, Northern Midwest): Even though our district is very wide, far apart. But we can make the practices together because if we practice together, then we do have a team.
Aelan Nartatez (INC Member, Bloomingdale, Northern Midwest): With the Unity Games, the brotherhood, it’s able to unite us from different districts. I know I just made a couple of friends here that I would have never met without Unity Games, and it’s just fun to meet new people here.
Richie Ferrera: While aiming to take home the gold, members were reminded of the significant importance of team play– promoting unity.
Brother Joseph Penwell (Minister of the Gospel, Minneapolis, Northern Midwest): So it’s good that it promotes unity amongst all of the brethren. When they go back to their locale, They have something to talk about, something to enjoy until the next time we are able to meet together again.
Richie Ferrera: From Northern Midwest, the Unity Games continues to generate excitement as we head further north to the Ecclesiastical District of Edmonton. Adrenaline and anticipation all add up to members from across the district together for this long awaited event and a fun filled day of friendly competition.
Richie Ferrera: The activity began with a parade ceremony, with each member showing support and team spirit, and despite some having to travel over six hours to reach the venue, members were eager to show their support, filling the venue with laughter and cheer from players to spectators. Held at the Saville Community Center, players brought their A-game as teams faced one another in a friendly match-up game of basketball and volleyball.
Richie Ferrera: True unity and active participation echoed and roared throughout the event, creating lifelong memories. From North America, we take our next visit across the world to the Ecclesiastical District of Nagoya, Japan. The heat is on in the western region of the Ecclesiastical District of Nagoya, Japan. Kicking off at Iwakuni Sports Park in Yamaguchi Prefecture, members from the local congregations of Hiroshima, Fukuyama, Imabari, Kurume, Okayama, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka hit the road early, with some even leaving the night before to reach the event on time.
Engelbert Escobar (INC Member, Imabari GWS, Nagoya, Japan): In preparation for the Unity Games, although we traveled far, coming all the way from a distant island, regardless, we were able to be here for these kinds of activities being conducted inside the Church [Of Christ]. Because in this way, we are able to show our intense unity being launched by our Church Administration in the Church Of Christ.
Richie Ferrera: Despite traveling long distances, the brethren were full of energy and excitement as they arrived at the venue.
Engelbert Escobar (INC Member, Imabari GWS, Nagoya, Japan): When we found out that we would be conducting this Unity Games activity in our district, we were delighted because we have been waiting for this kind of opportunity to be able to once again participate in this activity held in the Church Of Christ.
Richie Ferrera: Followed by an opening prayer and opening remarks, encouragement was given to all the players to do their best while keeping in mind the main goal of the event– unity and Brotherhood.
Brother Manny Benedicto (Supervising Minister, Ecclesiastical District Of Nagoya, Japan): The brethren continue to prove their unity with the Church Administration in launching these kinds of activities to bring the brethren closer together in the Church Of Christ. And especially in caring for the well-being of the brethren, which we importantly use in our worship services to the Lord God.
Richie Ferrera: Promoting camaraderie and good health, the Western Japan Unity Games included a parade ceremony as local congregations proudly displayed their banners with enthusiasm. Participants joined in a short and fun warm up exercise as team players prepared to face each other in friendly sports competitions that included volleyball, basketball and even dodgeball.
Richie Ferrera: Keen to take home the gold and emerging as winners, attendees were reminded that the true victory and success of this activity were in the unity and participation of every single member in attendance.
Brother Charles Swank (CFO Overseer, Ecclesiastical District Of Nagoya, Japan): That’s why we’re grateful to the Church Administration that they were able to give and approve such activity to showcase not only the brotherly competition and the skills and the talents of the athletes, but to prove our unity as brothers and sisters in the district of Nagoya, Japan.
Richie Ferrera: From Nagoya, Japan, we take our next visit as we head across the Indian Ocean to the Ecclesiastical District of Southeastern Africa.
Richie Ferrera: In showing unity amongst one another, members were thrilled and excited to take part in the Unity Games that was held in multiple places around the district, including Lilongwe, Kaputo & Nakondwa Eco-Farm, Blantyre City and Mvugo.
Josephine (INC Member, Mvugo Gws): This game brings joy to all the members of the Church.
Richie Ferrera: Participants were filled with excitement, sharing their athletic skills in a variety of sports, including football, netball, volleyball, badminton and tug of war.
Josephine (INC Member, Mvugo GWS): I personally thank Brother Eduardo Manalo for approving the Unity Games so that we can have fun.
Richie Ferrera: Teamwork and camaraderie outran the fields and this event as the Unity Games continued to inspire others to the true meaning and value of unity through sportsmanship. No matter the results, it was clear that the memories and experiences gained from these events served to further edify the faith of the brethren uniting them even more in their services to the Almighty God.
Richie Ferrera: Well, that does it for us, and INC News World. Tune in every Saturday for new episodes of INC News World on incmedia.org, our YouTube channel and on streaming platforms. I’m Richie Ferrera, thank you for joining us. Stay safe and we’ll see you next time. God bless.