For God’s Good Work and Loving-kindness, MCGI Offers Unending Thanks for 1st Quarter

Tens of thousand members of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) spent three days to offer their unceasing gratitude to the Lord for His loving-kindness and for a fruitful first three months during the International Thanksgiving to God for the first quarter this year.

Also known as the Thanksgiving of the Body (Pasalamat ng Katawan), the quarterly thanksgiving service was held on March 28 to 30 this year at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, which is the Church’s main headquarters in the Philippines and where bulk of Church members gathered.

Brethren from Manila and provinces near Pampanga flocked to the ADD Convention Center in Apalit for the Thanksgiving of the Whole Body from March 28-30, 2013.
Brethren from Manila and provinces near Pampanga flocked to the ADD Convention Center in Apalit for the Thanksgiving of the Whole Body from March 28-30, 2013.

Other major coordinating centers were also opened during the thanksgiving service nationwide, especially to accommodate the elderly and poor members. Major coordinating centers in North and South American countries, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia were also opened to cater to visitors and members during the three-day affair.

A live streaming and satellite feed were provided to let members simultaneously participate in the whole proceedings, offer thanksgiving, and hear the topics delivered by Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, the Presiding Minister and Vice-Presiding Minister to MCGI, respectively.

A quarter filled with care and fruitful endeavors

The first quarter of the year marked many fruitful activities for the Church. The Church rendered public service to over 20,000 indigents during its annual Nationwide Simultaneous Medical Mission last February 24. Moreover, MCGI’s first quarterly Blood Donation Drive collected 1,600 blood bags on March 17.

Bro. Daniel dedicated days to personally visit brethren and see their conditions during the course of the quarter. He visited the coordinating centers and locales in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Pampanga in north Luzon and Laguna and Batangas in South Luzon, respectively.

Looking at the big LED screen on stage, Bro. Daniel Razon carries his daughter as the whole congregation offers a song of praise to God.
Looking at the big LED screen on stage, Bro. Daniel Razon carries his daughter as the whole congregation offers a song of praise to God.

The Church also celebrated the Christian New Year at sunset of March 11, which was already Nissan 1st, 5773 in the Hebrew Calendar.

Other than the many obvious reasons for thanksgiving, this quarter’s thanksgiving highlighted the baptism of more than 4,000 new members from January to March, including non-Filipino members in South America and Africa, as well as former pastors coming from different religious denominations.

Singing of songs and praise, revelation of biblical mysteries

Video greetings of thanksgiving by brethren from all over the world were played during the three-day festivities and merrymaking. Different Church regions and ministries Church-wide offered song and dance numbers of praise to God. The whole congregation and the household of Bro. Eli also presented their song of thanks to the Almighty.

During International Thanksgivings, topics are expected to be teeming with intriguing biblical wisdom and revelations. This quarter was no exemption whereby Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel discussed topics that included the importance of a day in the Lord; the answer to when satan first became a murderer of man, and; the faith of God.

From the stage to the other end of the Convention Center, all raised their hands during a Thanksgiving song number in MCGI's three-day International Thanksgiving.
From the stage to the other end of the Convention Center, all raised their hands during a Thanksgiving song number in MCGI’s three-day International Thanksgiving.

On March 31, a family concert titled “Remember When” was held featuring Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel. The World Famous The Platters vocal group of the early rock and roll era was the special guest who graced the stage of the ADD Convention Center to perform their well-loved songs like “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” and “Magic Touch,” among many others. Filipino balladeer Rey Valera also rendered some of his best hits.

Funds raised from the concert will be used to further the construction of a new and bigger convention center in Manila dedicated to the Thousand Year Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Written by Yanna Faye Ferrera)

(Photography by Rovic Balunsay)

The Platters Share a Night of Classic 50s Music with Bro. Eli

Bro. Eli Soriano, together with the famed 1950s music ensemble, The World Famous Platters, turned the ADD Convention Center into a music hall filled with classic ballads and medleys for just one night.

Dubbed “Remember When,” the benefit concert started at around 6 p.m. on March 31 this year, a day after MCGI’s three-day Thanksgiving of the Body. Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon made sure that the night’s concert would be marked with memorable performances from MCGI’s homegrown talents and local artists.

Members of the World Famous Platters at MCGI Headquarters: (From left), Mose Stovall, Yolanda Branch-Fletcher, Eddie 'the Emperor of Soul' Stovall, Lawrence 'Rooster' Lockard, and Jerrad Tilley.
On the ADD Convention Center stage in Pampanga, Philippines (from left), Mose Stovall, Yolanda Branch-Fletcher, Eddie ‘the Emperor of Soul’ Stovall, Lawrence ‘Rooster’ Lockard, and Jerrad Tilley.

MCGI’s own pool of theater dance troupes opened the concert with their creative dance interpretations. Performers who graced the evening’s first part included Frank Packing, ASOP TV song interpreter; Lilibeth Garcia, Karaoke World Championships runner up; Hammilan, band vocalist, and; MCGI’s Music Ministry.

Filipino singer-composer Rey Valera was another highlight of the evening. Valera sang some of his best-loved songs like “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” before smoothly transitioning to the night’s special performances, including the duet between The Platters and Bro. Eli.

The Platters serenaded tens of thousands crowds at the convention hall and other MCGI coordinating centers all over the world via live video streaming with songs they popularized between the late ’50s and early ’60s. These performances included “Only You,” “Twilight Time,” “Remember When,” “Stand by Me,” “The Great Pretender,” and other Motown medleys. In between songs, The Platters shared trivia and fun facts about their group’s more than 50-year career-spanning accomplishments.

Via live video streaming, Bro. Eliseo Soriano took on the lead part in 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,' while The Platters graciously sang as backup vocals. 'I thought he did pretty good from singing from so far away,' remarked Jerrad Tilley.
Bro. Eliseo Soriano with the World Famous Platters singing “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” via live video streaming.

A special duet of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters and Bro. Eli proved to be one of the crowd’s favorite parts of the night. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything like that, but it was really fun,” remarked Jerrad Tilley of the technology-aided performance. To cap off their gig, they thanked the audience and greeted Bro. Eli who celebrated his baptism anniversary on April 7.

After the last song of The Platters, Bro. Daniel took to the stage and offered some covers of songs and teased on a new song, which is part of a new music album he is launching this year. MCGI’s Vice Presiding Minister also performed “Yesterday,” “Together Again,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I.” After a few songs, Bro. Daniel led the crowds in singing the Church birthday song to Bro. Eli.

When it was Bro. Eli’s turn, the Presiding Minister to MCGI’s rendition of “And I Love You So” and “A Certain Smile” further heightened the entertainment and celebration. Bro. Eli afterwards thanked everyone who made the concert possible and shared words of wisdom from the Bible to the audience.

The proceeds of the "Remember When" concert-for-a-cause will be for the new Convention Center in Manila that will include a free hospital, college, and Transient Home for all.
Proceeds of the “Remember When” concert will be for the new Convention Center in Manila whose plans include a free hospital, college, and Transient Home for all.

The song, “Walk with Faith in your Heart,” was performed by Bro. Eli as attendees left the convention hall. While majority have left already, Bro. Eli continued singing until the wee hours of the night (Philippine time) for those who were still monitoring the concert through live streaming and satellite facilities.

The “Remember When” concert was aimed at raising funds for a new convention center dedicated to families of MCGI and Jesus Christ’s One Thousand-Year Reign on earth.

The concert was a week shy of Bro. Eli’s 49th year in service to God and the people on April 7. In all those years he served, Bro. Eli only missed one Church service due to severe illness.

(Written by Apple D. Arco)

(Photography by Rovic Balunsay)


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