Shouts of Praise and Thanks to God Almighty Echo ‘Round the World’

Merry shouts, loud praises, and lively dances dominated the final leg of the 4th quarter International Thanksgiving this December of the current year. The festive merrymaking concluded the three-day spiritual celebration by congregants of the Members Church of God International which started on December 24.

Members in the 46 countries poured out their joy as songs of praise to God came in an almost endless fashion, with each region’s year-end video documentary played one after the other.

Bro. Daniel Razon, the Vice-Presiding Minister to the MCGI, joined the congregation in offering songs of praise and thanksgiving to God Almighty.
Bro. Daniel Razon, the Vice-Presiding Minister to the MCGI, joined the congregation in offering songs of praise and thanksgiving to God Almighty.

As the ceremonies came to a close and egress in the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga was slow because of the bulk of people moving, the night became filled with the glorious songs of members who rendered them in high spirits.

Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, Presiding Minister and Vice Presiding Minister to MCGI respectively, were all smiles at seeing the congregation in such merry mood.

Prior to the close, Bro. Soriano led the Congregation in offering two songs of praise and thanksgiving. The songs reflect a deep longing for God’s affection and mercy and at the same time show profound and unspeakable feelings of gratitude towards the Creator.

As the enthusiasm of the congregants perked high, they extended the merry-making or literally "jamming session" up to the wee hours of night, Philippine local time.
As the enthusiasm of the congregants perked high, they extended the merry-making or literally “jamming session” up to the wee hours of night, Philippine local time.

As the enthusiasm of the congregants perked high, they extended the merry-making or literally “jamming session” up to the wee hours of night, Philippine local time.

Abroad, the same scenario was seen, and time and seasonal differences seemed of miniscule importance. The sun was already up in the Western Hemisphere but the MCGI congregants continued their “electric song retreat.”

The “jamming session” as it has been called by the congregants had been a trademark of MCGI thanksgiving closings. Unlike other jamming sessions practiced worldwide, MCGI “jam” is all good, clean fun. No incident of raucous crowd bursts or tensions have been reported yet in all the years the Church has been celebrating their International Thanksgivings.

The "jamming session" as it has been called by the congregants had been a trademark of MCGI thanksgiving closings. Unlike other jamming sessions practiced worldwide, MCGI "jam" is all good, clean fun.
The “jamming session” as it has been called by the congregants had been a trademark of MCGI thanksgiving closings. Unlike other jamming sessions practiced worldwide, MCGI “jam” is all good, clean fun.

Members overseas were in the same festive mood during the finale. Smiling faces and greetings flooded the live stream, especially when the technicians flashed webcam frames on the huge LED monitor mounted on the Convention Center’s grand stage. In turn, the Philippine congregation exchanged ‘hand waves’ and hellos to all brethren who were monitoring.

The dates of the first quarter International Thanksgiving for 2011 are still to be announced by Bro. Eli Soriano. The celebration is anticipated to be either on March or April next year.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

Bro. Eli Soriano Chides Critics of 3-day Thanksgiving

“To say that thanksgiving can be done in just an hour is folly,” declared Bro. Eli Soriano in answer to a rebel turned critic. The preacher was referring to Willy Santiago, an excommunicated member who had established his own church.

As Members Church of God International celebrates their three-day International Thanksgiving for the 4th quarter of 2010, Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Eli Soriano laid strong arguments and rich biblical information behind the frequent offering of the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Eli Soriano lays strong arguments and rich Biblical information behind the frequent offering of the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Eli Soriano lays strong arguments and rich Biblical information behind the frequent offering of the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

The congregation of MCGI is celebrating the thanksgiving service from December 24 to 26 this year, a three-day stretch of activities that includes prayers, praising and mostly a spiritual feast of biblical topics.

A rebel turned critic of the International Evangelist said there is no established basis whatsoever to hold a three-day thanksgiving, and that the same can be done in one hour.

However, Bro. Soriano read verses which specifically point to the length of said thanksgiving celebrations. According to Bro. Soriano, thanksgiving is and must be done with tenable time to accommodate appropriate activities and not done in a single hour.

He recounts the events in the Book of Acts in Chapter 2 verse 46 when the faithful would gather in the temple to break bread daily. Even in the time of King Solomon when he led Israel to offer burnt offerings of choice cattle meat, fat, and flour before God, the ceremony lasted for two weeks (14 days), recorded in I Kings 8:62-65.

MCGI's thanksgiving is the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies in the Bible, the one written in chapter 30 of the book of Jeremiah. It is something that will be carried through eternity, and chapters 7:11-12 and 5:6-13 of Revelations prove it.
MCGI’s thanksgiving is the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies in the Bible, the one written in chapter 30 of the book of Jeremiah. It is something that will be carried through eternity, and chapters 7:11-12 and 5:6-13 of Revelations prove it.

Further, during the time when Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, Moses asked the ruling pharaoh to allow his people sojourn for three days so they could offer sacrifices to God. Bro. Eli explained that if their journey took three days, it is just logical for the Israelites to accomplish their sacrifices at a longer time. He asked, “Why? Isn’t it a fact that Israel lingered in the wilderness for 40 years?”

Other critics view MCGI’s thanksgiving as weird. Detractors even publish discouraging statements about the celebration online.

But “it is is a beautiful thing for us to have a feeling of gratitude,” Bro. Eli continued. MCGI’s thanksgiving is the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies in the Bible, the one written in chapter 30 of the book of Jeremiah. It is something that will be carried through eternity, and chapters 7:11-12 and 5:6-13 of Revelations prove it.

To his detractors, Bro. Eli Soriano has this to say –
To his detractors, Bro. Eli Soriano has this to say – “If we are going to look at the profile of other religious organizations, nothing compares to ours, in the offering of thanksgiving. This is the only group with abundant service of thanksgiving.

The International Evangelist also shared that the Bible is teeming with the command to give thanks to God. When searched using a Bible software, thanksgiving is found in 15 pages, and its Filipino counterpart, “pasalamat/salamat” is written 142 times, outnumbering the commandment “to love” or “ibigin” in Filipino, which is found only 92 times in 10 pages, and is used in varied contexts.

To his detractors, Bro. Eli Soriano has this to say – “If we look at the profile of other religious organizations, nothing compares to ours, in the offering of thanksgiving. This is the only group with abundant service of thanksgiving. I trust there is no other Church where the prophecy of Jeremiah spells true, and where the commandment in the Bible to thank God for everything is fulfilled, but in ours.”

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

Hosts of Nations Display Force on Day 1 at MCGI’s 3-day Thanksgiving

Forty-six countries and 130 Church chapters worldwide have assembled for the Fourth Quarter International Thanksgiving of Members Church of God, International which begins this 24th and culminates on the 26th of December this year.

Nations from the Middle East, Far East Asia, South East Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, and large countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Oceania, and other island nations have gathered for one of the biggest and most-attended religious services in the world today.

An overwhelming number of praise songs, dances, and comprehensive discussions of mysteries in the Bible will dot the second and concluding days of the thanksgiving week.
An overwhelming number of praise songs, dances, and comprehensive discussions of mysteries in the Bible will dot the second and concluding days of the thanksgiving week.

Through live streaming, the MCGI members from the foreign pool of countries participated in the thanksgiving ceremonies with those in the Philippines, the host country, where the bulk of members are. Attendees included the more than 5,000 new souls who were recently added to the fold in the final quarter of 2010.

In his welcome address made on the first day of thanksgiving, Bro. Eli Soriano reported that in South America, there are now 15 local chapters established, home to pure Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking brethren. The Presiding Minister to the MCGI said these are former members of charismatic Protestant groups for quite a long time. They are the first fruits of the ministry in Latin America when Bro. Eli was forced to leave the country in 2005 due to persistent persecution against him and the organization.

Bro. Daniel Razon, Vice Presiding to the MCGI, delivered a part of one of the six topics prepared by Bro. Eli Soriano for this International Thanksgiving.
Bro. Daniel Razon, Vice Presiding to the MCGI, delivered a part of one of the six topics prepared by Bro. Eli Soriano for this International Thanksgiving.

Bro. Soriano has high hopes that sooner, more baptisms will follow and additional locales will be established, particularly in Uruguay to as far as India where he has many avid viewers to his religious programs. His 24/7 broadcasts, live streaming forums, and Bible Expositions continue to penetrate the mainstream scene in the religious arena and reap souls eventually.

Invitations to come to India and other countries where his broadcasts reach persistently flow through his Twitter page and e-mail.

Beginning with the first day, thanksgiving greetings have been heard and exchanged in all locale chapters or coordinating centers which were filled to the brim with members, guests, and observers alike.

Ten topics had been prepared according to Bro. Eli, but for the 3-day event, only six topics will be delivered to accommodate other thanksgiving numbers.
Ten topics had been prepared according to Bro. Eli, but for the 3-day event, only six topics will be delivered to accommodate other thanksgiving numbers.

An overwhelming number of praise songs, dances, and comprehensive discussions of mysteries in the Bible will dot the second and concluding days of the thanksgiving week.

Ten topics had been prepared according to Bro. Eli, but for the 3-day event, only six topics will be delivered to accommodate other thanksgiving numbers.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

Thousands to Rush for MCGI’s International Quarterly Thanksgiving

Thousands upon thousands of congregants from all-over the globe will flock to the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, a town in Pampanga, Philippines for a three-day thanksgiving service set this December 24 to 26.

These are members of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI) who hold their international thanksgiving four times a year.

Modest estimates project a 100,000 attendance from Luzon alone. Delegates from nearby to distant regions are expected to pour in, especially that many have started their holiday vacation. As early as last week, representatives from Visayas and Mindanao begun ferrying to Luzon, north of the country. Similar scenarios were observed in airport arrival terminals where vacationers, tourists, and “balikbayans”, including MCGI congregants piled up.

These are members of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI) who hold their international thanksgiving four times a year.
These are members of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI) who hold their international thanksgiving four times a year.

The Convention Center’s camp area has now been mounted with tents ready for the three-day affair. Even with the number expected, the Convention Center’s Administration has ensured enough supply of beddings and encampment materials for the members, including guests who will be attending. Also, medical and food supplies have been readied for the event. Security has been tightened for everybody’s welfare.

As observed by many, this quarter’s thanksgiving will be “a sure blockbuster and an event of special significance.”

As is the usual practice, participants who are unable to travel will convene at big coordinating centers situated in the central area of their region or locality. Through satellite and Internet facilities, congregants from remote points will receive live streaming feed. Congregants from these areas can also interact with Bro. Eli Soriano, the Presiding Minister to the MCGI who is now extending Gospel propagation in the West.

Thanksgivings are usually whole-day affairs highlighting the offering of praises and the delivering of the days topic prepared and discussed by Bros. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon. The quarterly thanksgiving follows the same format, but extended to three days.
Thanksgivings are usually whole-day affairs highlighting the offering of praises and the delivering of the days topic prepared and discussed by Bros. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon. The quarterly thanksgiving follows the same format, but extended to three days.

Just recently, Bro. Eli added consultations in the program of the regular Thanksgiving services. Church members and visitors may no longer have to wait for International Quarterly Thanksgiving to personnally ask Bro. Eli questions and issues about faith and other matters.

As his thanksgiving treat, Bro. Eli promised to deliver six different topics which he believes will not only be unique and interesting, but will also intensify the Congregation’s faith in the doctrines and teachings of the Church.

MCGI is the only religious organization that holds frequent thanksgivings, averaging 48 regular Saturdays plus 4 special Saturdays which are included in the quarterly thanksgivings, totalling 52 consistent Saturdays the whole year round. The number of participants in these thanksgiving ceremonies consistently increase, following the influx of people who are baptized and accepted in the Church every week.

Thanksgivings are usually whole-day affairs highlighting the offering of praises and the delivering of the day’s topic prepared and discussed by Bros. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon. The quarterly thanksgiving follows the same format, but extended to three days.

For more information on thanksgiving, visit the Church’s official website.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)

Convention Binds a Thousand Couples Worldwide

“Jealousy means having no trust, therefore no love, and respect towards your husband or wife. True love does not get jealous, but endures,” Bro. Eli Soriano explained in MCGI’s recent mass marriage, refuting the common belief of many people that jealousy is a sign of love.

The Presiding Minister to Members Church of God International emphasized this biblical wisdom when he bound in marriage a thousand couples in the Philippines and hundreds more abroad last Sunday (December 5) at the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga, Philippines. MCGI couples in other countries participated in the event through live video streaming.

Bro. Eli Soriano officiates the mass wedding for couples at the ADD Convention Center last December 5, 2010.
Bro. Eli Soriano officiates the mass wedding for couples at the ADD Convention Center last December 5, 2010.

The mass marriage is part of MCGI’s annual event for couples — the International Couples’ Convention — that includes other activities such as sports, legal and medical seminars, and a consultation with Bro. Eli for solutions to couples’ marital and spiritual problems.

Before finally bounding the couples in holy matrimony, Bro. Eli delivered a biblical topic about the sanctity of marriage. He explained that when couples agree to be bound, they enter into a peace pact — a contract between husband and wife to live together for better or worse.

He added that a love that is of God must be the kind that should glue couples, for it can take away the hatred and disputes that usually put a relationship at risk. And the only way to keep their marriage vows ‘till the end of their lives is to stay in the teachings of Christ.

This year’s Couples Convention started at 7am and ended at 8pm.

At a mass wedding held at the ADD Convention Center, more than a thousand were bound in marriage.
At a mass wedding held at the ADD Convention Center, more than a thousand were bound in marriage.

On December 11, the newlyweds offered thanksgiving to God in gratitude for the success of the event and another year of guidance.

(Written by: Hazel Chavez-David)


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