MCGI Introduces Midnight Thanksgiving in the Philippines

Breaking time barriers between the two hemispheres of the globe, MCGI sets Thanksgiving in the Philippines at night time, while members in the West attend in the morning.

For the first time, constituents of the Members Church of God International in the Philippines offered their sacrifices of thanksgiving in the evening up to the wee hours of the next day.

The move was primarily suggested by Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano to allow other countries, especially in the West to experience daytime thanksgiving. With the existing setup, locales in the Philippines and other eastern nations usually get the privilege of celebrating thanksgiving beginning 7 a.m. of Saturday to night time..

The trial of the new schedule changed the trend which started in the Philippines decades ago. This is a significant step as it is a first for the congregation in the Philippines, which celebrates thanksgiving in the morning eversince the Church was registered by Bro. Soriano.

The trial took effect on June 26. Instead of the usual 7 a.m. start-time in the Philippines to which other places adjust in their own timezones, the ceremonies began same time, but in the evening. International locales in the West started the live celebration on a morning. The eastern and the Pacific regions adjusted from +4 to +12 hours, following the time frame differences.

Vice-Presiding Minister Bro. Daniel Razon, who was in the Middle East on last Saturday’s Thanksgiving, suggested a planned rotation to occur, using the time zones of host locales as starting points.

While this was unanimously agreed upon by the Congregation from all monitoring centers, with loud shouts signifying their positive response, the adoption of the proposed scheme are still expected to be deliberated on a meeting led by Bros. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon with the Katulong ng Pangangasiwa (KNPs) and Tagapangasiwang Pampook (TPs) or Ministers and Officers-in-Charge.

To couple the initial move, Bro. Eli Soriano prepared a topic that was described as “timely and relevant” for the occasion. He revealed that a different topic was supposed to be discussed, but feeling “there is a need to biblically explain the reason for the occasion,” he outlined a different topic, which had the theme summarized on Colossians 4:2, “watching in the same with thanksgiving.” It was about offering thanksgiving with vigilance.

With the scheme, Bro. Daniel Razon said “everybody gets the chance to be at watch and be attuned to the practice of the early Christians described in the Bible, literally and spiritually.”

On Wednesday, June 30, a circular was read saying that the regular Thanksgiving  ceremonies in the Philippines will again be returned to its original schedule of morning, Philippine time.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

MCGI Launches Free College Project

“It is more excellent, my countrymen, brethren, scholars, that you also learn the Word of God that we have learned which made this institution possible.”

This was the challenge of Members Church of God International Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano in his brief speech at the inaugural of the Caloocan branch of the La Verdad Christian College.

The inaugural of the newest educational branch is a significant realization of MCGI’s continuous humanitarian service efforts, aside from mainly spreading the Gospel throughout the world. The latest endeavor is consistent with the Church’s aim to spread goodwill to all, regardless of creed or religion.

It can be remembered that in August 2009, Bro. Eli Soriano expressed his desire to put up a school that would help poor youths acquire college education and eventually get a decent job. “Youths will have the opportunity to hone their skills and be assets, not liabilities to the country,” Bro. Soriano said.

In his speech, Bro. Eli mentioned countless sacrifices he and Bro. Daniel had to go through to push the project. He hopes that the “students who will benefit from the project will make sincere efforts also.”

Bro. Eli has faith that through proper education, which he considers a good foundation for the children, the underprivileged Filipino youths could enjoy free education and that the intelligent Filipino race will not end up as miserable domestic helpers of other people.

Bro. Soriano further explained that free basic education is useless if one cannot pursue college. He regrets to hear of parents who have worked hard for the education of their children whose skills learned in elementary and highschool were wasted away because most could not avail of higher education.

“We have spent much to establish this school, and much is to be spent still to sustain it. But we do not look at the amount, just as it is written in the Bible. Money answers for many things. [But] Money is no god. Money should not be loved. [Yet] It is a sign of those who profess they are of God to understand the needs of their poor fellows, as we can read on I John 3:17 that if you see your brother in need and you have something to share but you shut up your mercy, how will the love of God dwell in you?

“So for God’s love to dwell in a man he must have the ability to understand the needs even of those who do not ask. That is why Bro. Daniel and I thought of helping deserving students who could pass the [entrance] exam and enjoy free college education, which includes free meals. None asked this of us. This is our mandate from knowing the truth in the Bible. Students do not owe this to us. They owe it to God.”

Bro. Daniel Razon, President of the La Verdad College, plans for the expansion of the school to a full-fledged university in the near future.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

‘Happiness Is Warmer Than The Heat’

The 30-centigrade temperature that loomed the Philippines yesterday (June 12) was no cause to fret for Members Church of God International. Even Bro. Daniel Razon, who delivered the first half of the day’s topic, was more excited than worrisome in delivering the sermon on the first day of the Second Quarter International Thanksgiving, ignoring the ‘feverish climate.’

The ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga was again flooded with thousands of congregants and visitors who were ‘smiling against the stressful heat.’ Every quarter, more and more people swarm the biggest assemly auditorium in Luzon, seating more than 30,000 people at once, excluding children.

He’d rather lose his job than his God. For veteran broadcast journalist Bro. Daniel Razon, doing his part as the Vice Presiding Minister of MCGI is a delight despite oppressions of the enemies of his faith. Here, he freely ‘broadcasts the unrestrained truth’ in the Bible to the congregation during the first day of the second quarter International Thanksgiving.

He’d rather lose his job than his God. For veteran broadcast journalist Bro. Daniel Razon, doing his part as the Vice Presiding Minister of MCGI is a delight despite oppressions of the enemies of his faith. Here, he freely ‘broadcasts the unrestrained truth’ in the Bible to the congregation during the first day of the second quarter International Thanksgiving.

MCGI Vice-Presiding Minister Bro. Daniel Razon braved the intense heat along with the congregants, while wearing a long-sleeved Filipino barong, a formal and traditional suit for men. For more than two hours, he stood, walked, preached, even entertained the brethren and visitors, delivering the first installment of a two-part topic outlined by Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano.

Perspiring too, it was apparent in Bro. Daniel’s enthusiasm not to soften in the steep temperature, but it rose up with the overwhelming emotions of the crowd who waited for ‘a wave after wave’ of biblical revelations. His act exemplifies a Christian’s virtue to happily endure things for the sake of duty and love for God, true and consistent to the theme of this quarter’s celebration ‘Thanksgiving with Love.’

The congregation also stood for a well-sung offering of praise during the second day when Bro. Daniel invited them to render a few songs of glory to God. Sweaty but beaming faces countered the fervent heat.

(Posted by: Michelle Lou Samson)