Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) members from the ecclesiastical districts of Pampanga North, Pampanga East, and Pampanga West gathered for a special worship service at the house of worship of the Local Congregation of San Fernando on January 20, 2024.
They praised and thanked the Lord God for His 100 years of blessings to the Church in the Philippine province of Pampanga, where its first ecclesiastical district (called division at the time) was established on the decision of Brother Felix Y. Manalo. He was the Church’s first Executive Minister and whom the faithful recognizes as God’s Messenger in these last days.
A day after the Church’s centenary, on July 28, 2014, the Church Administration approved the reorganization of the congregations in the province resulting in the establishment of two ecclesiastical districts, namely, Pampanga East, with offices in the compound of the Local Congregation of San Fernando; and Pampanga West, in that of the New Era Congregation. The latter was renamed Pampanga North when the new Pampanga West District was created on November 5, 2019, with the Remedios-L Congregation as its center.
Brother Bienvenido C. Santiago, the General Evangelist of the Church, officiated at the momentous gathering. In his homily, he reminded the brethren from Pampanga of the Bible teaching that those who live righteously—obedient to God’s laws—have the guarantee of receiving His help and guidance.
“True servants of God should imitate Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ who remained faithful and obedient despite the severe difficulties, trials, and dangers they faced,” Brother Santiago said. The supervising ministers of the three ecclesiastical districts were also present during the worship service. Brother Arnel Agorilla of Pampanga North District led the opening prayer; Brother Bhel John Ubaldo of Pampanga East, the prayer after the homily; and, Brother Randy Samson of Pampanga West, the prayer for the voluntary offerings. Brother Santiago said the benediction.
“This gathering is truly special for not only we commemorate the centennial of the Ecclesiastical District of Pampanga, being the first-ever ecclesiastical district of the Church, but most of all, we recount God’s blessings and lovingkindness. Through our Executive Minister, the brethren indeed feel God’s love,” said Brother Ubaldo.
“I am thankful for I was able to attend this worship service which is part of the commemoration of our district’s centennial anniversary,” said Lorna Nucum, deaconess from the Local Congregation of San Fernando. “Through the lesson taught, my faith was strengthened and I will be able to overcome whatever difficulty and trial I face in this life.”
Aside from those gathered at the San Fernando Congregation’s house of worship, brethren from the three ecclesiastical districts gathered in their respective houses of worship to take part in the holy gathering via livestreaming.
“We thank our Almighty Father for He has never abandoned the brethren here in Pampanga. Despite all of the hardship, calamities, and persecution which the brethren experienced for the past 100 years, we remained triumphant and steadfast in their faith,” expressed Renz Joshua Lumanlan, KADIWA president from the Dolores Porac Congregation, Pampanga North.
“We are truly joyful for we are able to take part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first-ever ecclesiastical district of the Church,” said Leilanie Toloza, a choir member and Children’s Worship Service teacher from the Mexico Congregation, Pampanga East. “This historic event will forever be etched in our minds and hearts, and will always inspire us to keep our fervor in performing our duties, and in actively participating in all of the works of the Church.” — With reports from Melissa Jean Delos Santos of INC News Section