THE global expansion of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) has been a success, widening its reach in Africa where it establish new churches.
Emphasizing the importance of “faith, solidarity, selflessness and mutual understanding in the face of local and global challenges,” the INC said it has reached 16 countries in Africa this year.
“This has been a particularly challenging year for the INC, but we’ve hurdled all obstacles thrown our way.
We’ve come out a stronger, more unified church,” Glicerio B. Santos Jr., INC General Auditor, said.
“Domestically and globally, there are lingering unanswered questions on political leadership, climate change, geopolitics. While these concerns are obviously not direct priorities of the Church, we recognize the concerns raised by both our members and non-members alike on these issues. We make the INC their safe, comforting spiritual refuge from their own everyday challenges. INC is now a globalized church which welcomes all races and persuasions. The message of salvation we spread for people from all walks of life,” Santos added.
He said two new chapels have been dedicated and eight more are set to be opened next year. Conversions and baptisms have been particularly aggressive in South Africa and Kenya, Santos said.
“Baptism is the final act before one becomes a member. We’ve had thousands of baptisms in Africa, and these involve locals, not Filipinos based in the continent,” he added.
African equivalents of the “Lingap sa Mamamayan” (Aid for Humanity) outreach programs were held in King Williams Town, Johannesburg and Ladybrand in South Africa, Nairobi and Kiberia in Kenya, and Maseru and Semongkong in Lesotho.
The group also established eco-farming communities in South Africa, aimed at providing livelihood to impoverished localities. Similar endeavors are already lined up for 2017, marking aggressive expansion in areas where material and spiritual assistance are most needed.
The Church’s increasing global reach has enabled it to establish footholds in various areas worldwide.
Since Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo took over the reins of the INC in September 2009, 1,669 chapels have been dedicated in the Philippines and abroad.
“We are a forward-looking Church serving the interests of members and non-members alike, anywhere in the world where there is a thirst for spiritual enrichment. We will accelerate our expansion while retaining the unique character of the Iglesia,” Santos said.