These are extraordinary times.
Undoubtedly, it calls for extraordinary heroes, of those with quiet yet profound strength and those never wanting for recognition or praise.
This article is not about the unprecedented flooding in Fort McMurray or the torching bushfires in Australia, not to mention earthquakes, cyclones, locusts, and heart-wrenching acts of violence that are prominent everywhere in the world. And amidst it all, a looming forecast of recession for countries all over the world.
This composition is not even about the coronavirus pandemic that continues to ravage the world—a crisis like no other—a silent war, and in many ways, it is. Medical professionals and essential workers continue to be the front-liners. We have never seen so much love and respect for them—for their sacrifices to help their fellow neighbours.
This is not even about the total disruption of an everyday life brought by COVID-19 pandemic, which is now claiming 286,940 lives, currently affecting 4.2 million people, and still counting.
COVID-19 has taken people’s daily life to a grinding halt and has threatened the lives of millions all over the world, leaving many with anxiety, hopelessness, and helplessness.
But not for the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ.
In a short statement of a strengthened faith:
“We may be buffeted by the waves of issues stemming from COVID-19 pandemic, but the tides of our faith flow steady and strong in our favour.”
INC members are deeply grateful to God for placing Brother Eduardo Manalo as the Executive Minister of the Church. His apparent commitment to care for God’s people has moved the Church’s brethren in remaining vigilant and steadfast in their faith.
They follow from his example of devotion to duty and unwavering obedience to and faith in God.
This coming weekend is a celebration of two historical dates – the birth of Brother Felix Y. Manalo, on May 10, 1886, and the ordination of Brother Eduardo Manalo, which on May 9, 1980.
A church ordination is a sacred ceremony for the dedication and commissioning of ministers.
Here reflects the rise of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ as a formidable Christian organization in over 155 countries.
May 10, 2020: 134th birth anniversary of Brother Felix Y. Manalo
May 10 is the birth anniversary of Brother Felix Y. Manalo (May 10, 1886-April 12, 1963), the first Executive Minister of the Church of Christ, the man whom the members of the Church recognize as the Messenger of God in these last days.
What Brother Felix taught concerning love and kindness for all people is still fervently practiced by Church members all over the world today. The renowned Guinness World Records held by the Iglesia Ni Cristo in extending medical, dental and relief-goods and aid to those in need are manifestations of the expanse of its humanitarian works.
Hence, the formation of Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation was organized under the biblical theme, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.” Proverbs 3:27 TEV
The significance of Brother Felix Y. Manalo and the religious work that he began has given great cause and purpose for every member of the INC to be proud of.
May 9, 2020: 40th anniversary of ordination of Brother Eduardo Manalo
May 9, 2020, is the 40th anniversary of Brother Eduardo Manalo’s ordination as a minister on May 9, 1980, at the INC house of worship in Tondo, Manila.
Equipped with both a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines and Ministerial Studies from New Era University, his first assignment was in the INC’s Local Congregation of Cubao in Quezon City.
On May 7, 1994, Brother Eduardo Manalo assumed his responsibility as Deputy Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo after being elected unanimously by the Church Executive Council at the Central Temple.
As a Deputy Executive Minister, he would be the successor of the Office of the Executive Minister and has the task to temporarily assume the duties of the Executive Minister during the latter’s absence. He was entrusted with the task of registering the INC officially in Rome, Italy, in 1994.
In 1996, along with 11 ministers, he joined the then Executive Minister, Brother Eraño G. Manalo, in establishing the INC’s local congregation in Jerusalem, Israel.
In 1997, he was also an accompaniment to establishing the Church congregation in Athens, Greece.
From July to August 1998, he conducted pastoral visitations in Hawaii and the US in commemoration of the 30th year of the INC in the West. Another major pastoral visit took place over April to May 2006 to the local congregations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
On September 7, 2009, Brother Eduardo (the eldest son of Brother Eraño Manalo, who led the Church from 1963 to 2009) became the 3rd Executive Minister of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).
September 7, 2019: After one full decade of Brother Eduardo’s leadership, the Church has flourished exponentially. The establishment of missions and congregations totalling in more than 155 countries and territories, in six livable continents, manifests God’s handiwork.
The number of members has increased at an unprecedented rate—prompting the formation of more ecclesiastical districts and local congregations to oversee the spiritual needs of the brethren, fulfilling the biblical admonition of the construction of houses of worship where brethren can regularly assemble to worship God.
Despite leading the Church during a time of great challenge and change, especially in religion, Brother Eduardo’s leadership has ushered in an era of continuous growth and commitment to care for God’s people.
His concerns about the Church are evident through the continuous acquisition of new and renovated houses of worship. These more than 3500 notable chapels have sprung up in cities where the Church was virtually unknown just a decade before. Further, he sends thousands of ministers to oversee the growing membership around the world.
And in places where other religions have abandoned their worship buildings, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, through the leadership of the Executive Minister, is reopening the doors to conduct worship services of the INC.
Observers and critics alike have noted that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the largest religious group to have come from the Philippines and arrive on the global stage, too. It has made a permanent mark throughout the entire Philippine landscape with its distinct houses of worship and an even greater impact to the millions whose lives have changed for the better.
The members of the Church of Christ are fully aware that life in this world will always be challenging them to adapt to popular trends and beliefs that go against the Bible. Brother Eduardo constantly prepares worship service lessons equipping the brethren to face those challenges head-on without compromising their commitment to God’s words.
More importantly, Brother Eduardo continues to pray to God for the care and spiritual well-being of every member of the Church. Every video-stream worship service the Executive Minister leads, he ensures hope and optimism are embedded.
That they, members of the Church of Christ, come prepared.
The last decade has witnessed devastating events in the world. Global peace remains elusive. Violence continues unabated. Unprecedented natural and human-made disasters sprout like poison, with no end.
What people may have seen in the year past, may not just be an anomalous year, but could be a harbinger of things to come.
But, members of the Church of Christ are spiritually prepared.
Today, May 9, 2020
Brother Eduardo Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Church of Christ, has safely steered the Church through the rough waters of crises around the globe.
Forty years of his faithful ministry, of fulfilling the great task that God has entrusted to him, of tirelessly keeping the mission of salvation and sustaining spiritual growth,
Four decades of continuous divine preparation for the Church to enter the next years where the influence of the Church in the society will take an exponential and global dimension.
In these uncertain times, the impact COVID-19 has had on 187 countries is dramatic and will continue to evolve as the world leaders navigate this uncharted territory.
Each person must impose self-isolation, social/physical distancing measures for the common good of preventing community transmission of the virus.
The day the government ordered the lockdown, through the leadership of Brother Eduardo Manalo, the Church Administration, the District, and locale leadership arranged schedules of virtual worship service per household.
The leadership cascaded the technical instructions to each household, family, and individual members to conduct worship services—complete with hymn singing, prayers, homily, thanksgiving, and doxology—using virtual meeting apps.
Twice a week, tens of thousands of families and individuals, here in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, in the confines of their homes, or in isolated rooms, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo religiously conduct worship services, give praises to the one and only God.
“We thank God for the wisdom and spiritual strength that He provides to our Executive Minister.”
The care for the spiritual well-being of the brethren was amplified on a broader scale considering these unprecedented circumstances.
“Attending worship services is a sacred duty that we always look forward to. This made us stronger and faithful of our calling, for we were not deterred in worshipping Him properly.”
If there is an optimism that the members of the Church of Christ can seize from COVID-19, it is the example of collective selflessness that has come to define their church community through this crisis.
We praise, we glorify our Almighty God for bestowing wisdom, faith, and strength to our beloved Brother Eduardo V. Manalo in his
FOUR DECADES OF FAITHFUL, INSPIRING, ANOINTED MINISTRY
/ Far West Herald