The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has purchased a historic town in the United States as part of its aggressive expansion program, an official said.
The church paid $1.85 million for the 200-year-old Johnsonville town in Connecticut which will serve as its second town in the US.
The religious group earlier acquired Scenic Town in South Dakota.
The INC plans to rehabilitate Johnsonville for the establishment of new chapels.
The church has built three congregations in the towns of Bristol, Stamford and Windham in Connecticut, General Auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. said.
“We believe that restoring Johnsonville to its former glory is just part and parcel of our responsibility as positive contributors in the state,” he said.
Johnsonville, a 62-acre property, has been regarded as a “ghost town,” having been abandoned for 20 years. Santos said the church will do its best to restore the village and to bring back its original look.
“It’s a beautiful, picturesque property, so all our efforts will be focused on restoration. We will also establish our first eco-farming here in the US to create jobs and livelihood in this town,” he added.
Johnsonville was auctioned in 2014 but the deal fell through, causing the village to be abandoned again.
The INC has built 79 new chapels in different parts of the world, with 45 chapels built in the US alone during the term of Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.
Santos said part of the INC’s goal is to uplift communities all around the world, “spiritually and physically, in form and in substance.”
“This is all part of the INC’s mission, part of our evangelization efforts. We want to reach out and touch lives. This is evangelization through expansion, fulfilling our mission through a larger and better Church, serving the communities around us whether they are our members or not,” he added.