The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has experienced “unprecedented growth” in the past six years, having built and renovated 17 chapels every month since Eduardo V. Manalo took over the reins in September 2009, according to Edwil Zabala, INC spokesman.
Zabala on Monday said 1,091 chapels in the Philippines have been dedicated since 2009. The religious group was also able to build chapels abroad because of the outpouring of support from members “who continue to embrace our faith and believe wholeheartedly in the Church’s evangelization efforts.”
“These new chapels are a concrete manifestation of the support given by our members to the Church, which is at an all-time high,” he pointed out.
Among the provinces with new and renovated chapels are Bataan, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Camarines Sur, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao Del Sur, Davao Oriental, Iloilo, Laguna, La Union, Leyte, Nueva Ecija, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Pangasinan, Rizal, Tarlac, and Zambales.
Chapels in Metro Manila have also been dedicated in several cities, including Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, and Quezon City, According to the minister, INC members are free to give whatever they can to support efforts to strengthen the Church.
“Seeing firsthand the results of their generosity and their sense of community is very encouraging for them; iba kasi talaga pag nakikita mo kung saan napupunta ang tulong mo (it’s a different feeling when you know where your support is going),” he said.
In 2010, a census by the National Statistics Office found that 2.45 percent of the population in the Philippines is affiliated with the INC, making it the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines after the Roman Catholic Church and Islam, respectively.
Zabala said that despite the “manufactured controversies” and “nuisance cases” lodged against some INC officials, the church “continues to grow from strength to strength.”
“I believe the achievements of the church in the past year speak for themselves. We are thankful that our members see the truth about the church, and we pray that those who do not will one day be enlightened and will stop this vilification campaign against us,” he said.