IN THE FACE of the economic uncertainties gripping the world, people have all the more focused their attention on pursuing a more sustainable livelihood to ensure that their daily needs are met. While Church Of Christ members are also concerned about sustaining life’s necessities, yet over and above this, they are preoccupied with fulfilling the works of the Lord, undeterred by the current global crises.
“Despite the pandemic, the brethren are eagerly united in all of the works of the Church in the ‘new normal’ setting. These works for the Lord include online activities, especially sharing the true faith,” said Sister Dessa Mae Marquez, an officer in the KADIWA organization, Children’s Worship Service (CWS), and Christian Brotherhood International (CBI), from the Local Congregation of Sampaloc, which commemorated its 101st anniversary in the month of April.
Despite the onset of the pandemic, the endeavors of the Church Of Christ have not slowed down nor stopped. While complying with government restrictions, the Church has been able to conduct its activities online. Because of this, Church members in various parts of the world remain active in the works of the Church.
“During the lockdown, we continued our worship services inside our homes, as instructed by the Church Administration. We are still able to look after the spiritual welfare of the brethren through various means, such as videoconferencing, to ensure that they remain firm in their Church membership,” said Brother Byron Cordial, a deacon from the Local Congregation of North Shore, New Zealand, which is on its 15th year in April 2021.
As the brethren all over the world participate in the works of propagation, many people have been converted to the Church. Also, many brethren have taken their oath for various Church duties to help in the strengthening of their fellow Christians’ faith. In addition, many more brothers have decided to study in the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) School For Ministers (SFM) to become future ministers.
On April 24, 2021, the Executive Minister of the Church, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, led a special worship service at the Central Temple in Quezon City, Philippines, which was livestreamed to various remote sites, including local congregations celebrating their milestone anniversaries. The special gathering was also livestreamed to the SFM Audio-Visual Room where 27 graduates of the Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism took their oath as regular ministerial workers. Health and safety protocols implemented by the government were strictly followed during the worship service.
In his Bible-based homily, Brother Eduardo Manalo emphasized that the sacrifices that God’s people make for the sake of following Him are never in vain because, first and foremost, they will receive eternal life. Also, they will be blessed many more times in this life.
“I was offered a job in Manila, which would pay more than my current job. However, taking up that offer would mean that I would no longer be able to perform my Church duties in my current local congregation. And so, I decided to turn it down and remain here in the province,” said Brother Luisito Lloren Jr. He is a head deacon and a CWS teacher in the Local Congregation of La Hacienda, Ecclesiastical District of Bohol, which celebrated its 55th anniversary of establishment this month.
Prior to entering the ministry, Brother Reynaldo Donato was a licensed medical technologist. He is now a regular ministerial worker assigned to serve at the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City. “I decided to enter the holy ministry in order to further help the Church Administration and be closer to God,” he said.
Brother Matthew Denver Trinidad, who was an active media practitioner and has served as the director of the Senate Media Relations, also chose to leave his occupation for a greater and divine calling. Despite already having a comfortable status in life, he heeded the call of the Executive Minister and studied in the ministry.
“I always thought to myself what more I could contribute to the Church. That is why I joined the ministry to be a helper of the Church Administration in making others understand the importance of membership in the true Church Of Christ and in edifying the faith and hope of the brethren for the sake of their salvation,” said Brother Denver who, with Brother Reynaldo and 25 others, graduated from the SFM.
“Sacrificing time, effort, and resources for the sake of helping in the works of the Church, such as sharing our faith, is not a loss on our part. I firmly believe, as taught by the Executive Minister, that on the appointed time, we will gain the reward of salvation. That is why I will continue reminding the brethren of the importance of their Church membership. Likewise, I will lead my family in fulfilling our Christian obligations,” said Brother Luisito.
Brother Reynaldo has the same firm conviction. “I may have previously sought to gain material wealth, but what is far more important to me now is my calling in the Church Of Christ and in the ministry,” he said.
Church Of Christ members are also concerned with their daily tasks, for they also have needs in life and loved ones to provide for. However, especially now that Judgment Day is near, what they give more priority to are the works for the Lord, as they put all their hope in the grace that will be theirs.