United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim met with Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo ahead of the religious group’s celebration of its 50th anniversary of establishing churches overseas.
Kim visited Manalo in the INC’s international headquarters at the church’s central office in Quezon City. The meeting was held a day before Manalo was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as special ambassador for Overseas Filipinos’ concerns. Manalo’s term of office will end on January 29, 2019.
INC Central Office protocol officer Joel San Pedro said the religious group “was very happy” over Kim’s visit.
“The timing is perfect as the Church is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the West and has grown to around 300 congregations in the US alone,” San Pedro added.
The first overseas congregation of the INC was established in Hawaii on July 27, 1968. This was followed by another congregation in California.
At present, the Church has 6,000 local congregations and missions in 142 countries and territories around the world, with its membership comprising of at least 133 ethnic groups and nationalities.
The INC, which was founded by Felix Manalo, was first registered in the Philippines on July 27, 1914.
The religious group supported Duterte when he ran for president in 2016.