More Doors Open to MCGI in the West, Sets International Thanksgiving Feast at Month-End

There are overwhelming reasons for the Members Church of God International (MCGI) to celebrate its Quarterly International Thanksgiving set on September 30 to October 2 this year. Also called the “Feast of God,” the event is MCGI’s most festive gathering held for three days every quarter.

In August this year in South America, at Fox Channel, MCGI had acquired a 30-minute slot to broadcast its flagship program, The Old Path (TOP). Fox Channel is carried by up to 50 cable networks in Central and South America. This new program is in addition to the 24/7 TOP broadcast of TV Verdade that reaches both North and South America. The program is aired with English, Spanish (El Camino Antiguo), and Portuguese (O’ Caminho Antigo) versions. TV Verdade started in 2009.

Just launched this 15th day of September is the large-scale, round-the-clock satellite broadcast of The Old Path in the regions of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Called Hotbird, the satellite transmits signal to almost all nations in the three regions, making the program available even to countries where non-Islam religions are banned. The TOP channel can be accessed by entering these parameters (Hotbird, Frequency – 10815H, S/R – 27500, FEC 5/6) in the satellite receiver.

Apart from its television broadcasts, The Old Path is being streamed 24 hours, 7 days a week on the web.

“Our broadcasts in various parts of the world continue and the Church continuously reaps souls in different countries,” said the Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano, in his State of the Church Address report made during the congregation’s special prayer meeting service held last month.

MCGI also took its Grand Bible Exposition up a notch this quarter: People across the globe can now attend the event by simply going to any MCGI chapter near them, and ask Bro. Eli their questions of faith live via satellite. The international event is held every first and last Friday of the month.

For this quarter, the Church’s massive propagation has reaped about 4,000 converts during its regular and mass baptisms. Natives of Latin America, New Zealand, and India were among those baptized.

In line with its efforts to save souls, MCGI’s latest drive of quarterly country-wide blood donation yielded more than 3,000 blood units, its highest record so far this year. With increased dengue cases in the Philippines, the undertaking proves a valuable contribution to the national blood bank according to an official from the Philippine Red Cross.

From additional broadcasts to improved charities, MCGI is thankful to God for every opportunity to do good work.

(Written by: Hazel Chavez-David)

Gospel Songwriting Tilt of MCGI Lands on Philippine TV

Gerald Santos and Roselle Nava perform a duet as they sing an A Song of Praise winner at the ASOP Concert in 2011.

The A Song of Praise (ASOP) Music Festival has started airing on September 4 on UNTV. With over one million pesos in cash prizes to be given away, ASOP is the biggest songwriting competition for original praise songs so far in the country, if not in the world.

As a venue for songwriters to express their beliefs and adoration of God through songs of praise, ASOP hopes to be a birthplace of new or innovative music styles. It is open to all amateur and professional songwriters.

One song entry is chosen each week to proceed to the monthly finals. The winning song for the month then enters the grand finals. The champion, to be declared as Song of the Year come 2012, will receive half-a-million pesos and a trophy. Non-winners and runners-up from the weekly competitions to the championship round will also be awarded cash prizes and plaques.

Song entries are judged based on their musical content, lyrics, and general appeal. A panel of judges selects the winning song and also comments on its musicality, especially the lyrics. Award-winning songwriters Vehnee Saturno and Noel Cabangon are the show’s in-house judges. The third member of the panel is usually a popular singer-performer.

Now on its third week, most of the contestants who have joined the competition so far have acknowledged their little or lack of formal training in songwriting. The distinct qualities of their songs have impressed the judges, however.

Prior to its launch as a television program, ASOP is a project launched in 2004 by Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, Presiding and Vice-Presiding Ministers to Members Church of God International, respectively,

A grand musical concert was mounted to officially launch the arrival of ASOP on mainstream television last August 22, 2011 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

“The songs I hear in society, in many aspects of life, I hear many songs, but none for God,” said Bro. Eli who spoke via live video streaming during the concert. “Songs for God are only sung in chapel and in church — not on television, not in the regular gatherings of people,” the preacher added, underscoring the very idea of the event.

Award-winning composer and lyricist Vehnee Saturno rearranged the winning ASOP pieces since 2004. These songs that congregants of the MCGI has enjoyed over the years were rendered anew during the concert by some of the country’s popular local artists.

The roster of familiar singers that night boasted 2006 World Championship of Performing Arts Champion Almira Cercado of the Cercado Sisters, 2006 Pinoy Pop Superstar Champion Gerald Santos, Pop Divas Bituin Escalante, Frenchie Dy, Jinky Vidal, and Roselle Nava, and 2005 World Championship of the Performing Arts grand prize winner Jed Madela.

“I do not know if people feel the same way as I feel, but I believe that many people now still have in their hearts a portion for God,” said Bro. Eli.

ASOP airs Sundays, from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Philippines. Online viewers can watch the program by visiting www.untvweb.com for live webcast. For more information about ASOP contest rules and guidelines, visit their website at www.asoptv.com.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)


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