Iglesia ni Cristo
Church of Christ - Iglesia de Cristo  
Kirche Christi
(German); Igreja de Cristo (Portuguese); Eglise du Christ (French)

The Iglesia ni Cristo rapid global expansion
Home - Iglesia ni Cristo Today  The Church in its early years in the Far East
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Iglesia ni Cristo Worship Service Directory Interesting Questions about the Iglesia ni Cristo
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The rapid global expansion of the Iglesia ni Cristo is unlike any other religion in the world.

AS FORETOLD IN the prophecies of God written in the Holy Scriptures, the Church  of Christ that re-emerged in the Philippines in the Far East in 1914, would reach the Far West and spread to many nations in the Western Hemisphere and to other regions of the world. The fulfillment of these prophecies began with the gathering of Iglesia ni Cristo members in the Far West, thus establishing the first locale outside the Philippines, that is the Locale of Honolulu in Hawaii in July 27, 1968 and then in  San Francisco, California, on August 18, 1968.  This laid the groundwork for the rapid establishment of many more congregations in the United States, Canada and Europe. 

The rapid global expansion of the Iglesia ni Cristo is unlike any other religion in the world. While most religions sends missionaries to spread or propagate their faith, the Iglesia ni Cristo gathers her members to form Group Worship Services which then become a locale congregation as more member are found in the locality.

TRANSCENDING    PHILIPPINE shores, the   Iglesia   ni   Cristo  launched its mission overseas in 1968 coinciding with its 54th year of   establishment.    Brother  Erano G. Manalo, barely five  years  at  the helm as Executive Minister of the Church, set out to foreign land on a  missionary journey that resulted in the establishment of two pioneering congregations in the Far West—first in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 27 and then in  San Francisco, California, on August 18, 1968.  This   laid the groundwork for the rapid establishment of many more congregations on foreign shores. The  Iglesia ni Cristo Central Office oversees all the Church congregations worldwide through district offices which serve administrative centers in their respective ecclesiastical jurisdiction.  As of 2012 there are xxxxx

Ecclesiastical District Listing
Brief history of Iglesia ni Cristo Missions in the Far West and Beyond...

By Ecclesiastical Districts includes some Countries.
Click District of your choice.  Use your Browser's Back Button ◄ to return to this table.
  U.S.A. Page 1
Hawaii-Pacific District Northern California District Southern California District
  includes: Central America
Pacific Northwest District Northern Midwest District Southern Midwest District
Northeastern Seaboard District Southeastern Seaboard District
Includes:  Caribbean
 
  CANADA  
Western Canada District Eastern Canada District  
  EUROPE Page 2
Northern Europe District Southern Europe District
 Includes:  South Africa and Israel
United Kingdom District
  MIDDLE EAST  
United Arab Emirates District Qatar District  
  ASIA AND AUSTRALIA  
Northeast Asia District Southeast Asia District
Malaysia
Australia Ecclesiastical District
New Zealand

Since that historic gathering of God's children in the Far West on July 27, 1968, the Church has dramatically grown not only in the Western Hemisphere but also in other parts of the globe. Click link to see the updated list of locales, congregations and GWS around the globe. Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Places of Worship outside the Philippines.

Page 1 BRIEF HISTORY Page 2

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Hawaii-Pacific Ecclesiastical District

 Since its establishment in 1968, Honolulu became the "mother" of other local congregations throughout Oahu and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. 5-map-hawaiiFrom Oahu, it didn't take long for the Church to extend across the island of Kauai, with the birth of what is now known as the Kalaheo Congregation, and in the island of Maui, where the congregation of what is now named Wailuku Congregation started. Then arose the congregation of Keaau, whose establishment mark the church's entry to the volcanic Hawaii Grande or the Big Island. This was followed by the blossoming of the Maili congregation (also in Oahu) and Naalehu  congregation (Big Island).  Thus, on the first decade alone, since the historic signing of the scroll (the declaration of the church's setting foot in the Far West), the mission had already spread to four major islands of Hawaii, the 50th state of America.
     In the following years, the Church  set foot on the Pineapple Island"—Lanai where an extension was opened named after the island itself. This,, plus two more congregations in Oahuu (Wahiawa, established in October 1978,, and Waipahu, January 1980) and one in the Big Island ((Kailua Kona Extension in September 1983) and in Maui   (Lahaina in February 1986) mounted up to 11 the total number of congregations and extensions that emerged in the state within that period. On the first score of Church's mission in Hawaii, worship services were already being held in five of the state's eight major islands. .
     During the next decade, four more congregations followed. These were the congregations of Kaneohe (March 1993) and New Era (July 1995) in Oahu; Lihue (February 1994) in Kawai; and Honokaa (June 1997) in the Big Island.

2-district hawaiiBefore the 30th year of the Church of Christ in the West, the Church Administration handed down a decision to consolidate all the  congregations in Hawaii together with  those in Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Micronesia, and American Samoa into one ecclesiastical district. Thus, by   the time the Church marked its diamond anniversary in the Philippines in 1989, the Hawaii-Pacific District Office was already functioning. Among its initial roster of congregations, extensions and group worship services outside the Hawaiian State were those of Harmon and Apra Heights (Guam);   Saipan, Tinian,  and  Rota   (Northern   Mariana Islands); Yap (Micronesia); Ebeye and Majuro (Marshall Islands); and Pago- Pago (American Samoa).   The Hawaii-Pacific District Office is   stationed in 765 Kamehameha Highway Pearl City, Hawaii.

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Northern California Ecclesiastical District5-map-californianorth

The significance of the Ecclesiastical  District  of Northern California lies primarily on being the providential setting for the events that paved the way for the Church's remarkable growth and expansion throughout the US mainland and other parts of the world especially during the early years of the Church's overseas mission.

San Francisco Congregation was the first local congregation to be established in the US mainland. The proclamation was made on August 14, 1968 by Brother Erafio G. Manalo at the last leg of his groundbreaking  US visit that year (the same visit that established the Honolulu Congregation in Hawaii), which marked the fulfillment of the prophesied gathering of God's children in the Far West.

Upon learning that the Church had reached this city brethren from as far south as Los Angeles and San Diego and as far north as Seattle, Washington of the Pacific Northwest region, traveled so many miles  for long hours to go to San Francisco to attend the worship services.  Later on, worship services were held in their respective areas that this eventually led to the establishment of more congregations in their locality. One after another, more locales and extensions in the northern and southern parts of California were established in order to meet the spiritual needs of the Church members. 

The year 1976 is indeed   another milestone in Church history in the West. In a span of eight years, the first two pioneer locales in California multiplied more than eight times their original number. That is, a total of 17 locales—nine in the Northern part and eight in the South—had been established in  the vast state of California whose total land area measures 158,706 sq. miles (equiva- lent to 411, 049 sq. km.). Consequently,  the  Church Administration decided   that the Ecclesiastical District  of  California be established to oversee the entire brethern in the fast-growing district.  In the meantime, the basemerit of the Church building in Francisco served as the first Office of the Ecclesiastical District California on February 20,1976. 

5-office-californianorthNorthern California District Office
1617 Southgate Avenue, Daly Crty, California 94015 

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Southern California Ecclesiastical District

5-map-californiasouthON JANUARY 29,1987.12 congregations in and around the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim and San Diego urban hubs were clustered togetter for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical District of Southern California. Seventeen years later, this figure has grown three times the original, expanding the districts area  from Utah in the northeast down to Panama in the south. At the rate it is increasing, the number of congregations in the district is projected to double when the Church in these last days reaches its centennial year.

The seed of what would become the Ecclesiastical District of Southern California was sown in the same year that the Church of Christ in these last days set up its first locales in the Far West.  The Church Administration itself through the San Francisco Locale leadership initiated the work in 1968 by instructing Brother Jose Flores to get in touch with a list of brethren  known to be residing in the Los Angeles area. Brother Flores' efforts resulted in the formation of a committee prayer group that initially met at his apartment along Bay View Avenue, Wilmington, Ca. in September 16 and later at the Barrientos' residence in LA. On  February 27 the following year brethren from Wilmington and Long Beach were set apart to form another prayer group. Meanwhile, three families living in the San Diego area also began meeting for prayer as early as October 1968. Brought about the rapid growth, these three prayer groups, Los Angeles and San Diego became a full-fledged locales on February 5, 1970 and March 7, 1970,  respectively.  Long Beach followed suit three years later.

5-office-anaheimAs the number of brethren particular city increased, they were organized either as a locale or   an extension. Among those that immediately became locales were Oxnard and Delano in 1972 and Sta. Maria in 1973. Those that began as extensions include Riverside (1974), Anaheim (1976), and San Gabriel Valley (1977). A similar pattern of branching out was seen in San Diego and Long Beach areas, even as it was  duplited in many of the second-generation locales. From San Diego Locale  came Poway {formerly  Mira Mesa) in 1974 (Poway is now San Diego; the original San Diego Locale is now the National City Locale). "North Hollywood and Lancaster emerged   in 1986, completing the 12 founding locales of Southern California District.  Vista (formerly Oceanside), an extension of (new) San Diego, became a iocale six months after the district was established in 1987.

Eastward   expansion  began in  Nevada when California was still a unified district with the creation of the Henderson Extension (formerly Las Vegas), under Riverside, which eventually became a locale in 1991. Another extension, South San Diego, under National City, gained  locale status the following year. Between 1993 and 2003, eight locales, three extensions and 11 group worship services were established, extending the district's scope to three more states and six countries. Among the locales established   during this period were Phoenix,  Arizona;  Salt Lake City, Utah; and Mexico City, Mexico.

Central America
The Church's mission in Latin America 5-map-centralamerica
The Church gained a firmer foothold in  Latin America with the formation of five group worship services   (GWS)   in four Central American countries,  one each in Honduras (1996), Guatemala (2000), and Panama (2003), and two in Nicaragua (2001). Apart from these, the GWS in San Miguel Grande, Oaxaca, the Church's third mission in Mexico, opened in 1999.   With its fast-growing number of candidates for baptism, these GWS have great potentials of gaining locale status in the near future. All the officers in the GWS in Managua, who also perform in Mateare, are Nicaraguans. Likewise, every officer in San Miguel Grande, Oaxaca is a Mexican. Such   very   encouraging   response from the local people in  the Latin American countries, presages  more fruitful  evangelical endeavors ahead, which could lead to the envisioned formation of a ecclesiastical district in  the southern region.

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Pacific Northwest Ecclesiastical District

Seattle, the chief city ofthe State of  Washington.  The city's strategic location paved the way for the development of its harbor into one of the great seaports in the world, having more than 50 miles of wharves. As such, Seattle has become one of the major ports of entry to the United State.  Among the many Filipino immigrants who moved to Seattle as early as the mid-1960s  in pursuit of the great American dream are the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo from different locales in the Philippines.  As they settled in the 'port of call, that is Seattle, they realized that their life would never be complete unless they were able to fulfill their duty worship God. And so, this handfull of brethren pooled their efforts for an important task, which eventually proved to be instrumental for the prophesied gathering of God's people in the Far West (Is. 43.5) come into full swing as well as the calling of more people into Church in this part of the world.

5-map-pacificnorthwestThus,  in July  1969,   just a year after the Church officially opened its mission in the Far West, the Seattle Committee Prayer Group was organized. After  subsequent  prayer meetings wherein they listened to tape-recorded sermons, the brethren sent a request to the Church Administration that a minister be sent to  officiate their worship services. Their request was granted. Brother Aniceto Bunag made the long journey north from California and officiated their first worship service on July 29, 1969. A  total of 23 members attended. Thirteen months later, in August 1970 marked the beginning of a continuous string of visits from ministers assigned in California.

From being an extension of the Locale of San Francisco in California, the Church congregation in Seattle became a full-fledged locale when it was officially registered with the Washington State Authority on April 24, 1972. With this development, a minister from the Philippines was assigned by the Church Administration.

Considered  to be  the "firstborn^ locale"  in the Pacific  Northwest, Seattle Locale has given rise to numerous locales and extensions in the state of Washington, reaching as far as Alaska and parts of Canada to the North and Oregon to the South. As a result, a district was born now known as the Ecclesiastical District of Pacific Northwest. Brother Dominador Santos was appointed as the first District Minister on December 2,1995 supervising the nine original locales, namely Everett, Lakewood (formerlv Tacoma) and Seattle in Washington; Portland in Oregon; and Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver in Canada. Barely a decade since its establishment, the Pacific Northwest Ecclesiastical   District,   currently comprised of 26 locales, extensions, and group worship services,  now spans the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in Canada   and the states of Washington, Montana, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho in the United States. Moreover, a district office   was constructed in the Locale of Burien. Inaugurated on January   2, 1998, it is situated at 207 SW 150th Street in  Burien,  Washington.

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Northern Midwest Ecclesiastical District

The first glint of thelglesia ni Crista's presence  in   the Midwest happened when seven brethren from Chicago held a prayei e eeting in December of 1971. After several months  of   holding group prayer meetings,   the membership increased to 20.  Later,   in   1972,   the  group was visited by Brother Isidro San Gabriel, a minister assigned in California to officiate their worship service, which was held at the residence of Brother Felipe Garcia at 5525 N. Winthrop Street, Chicago.  The event marked the establishment of the Church of Christ's first local congregation in Chicago.

News   of   this    development  reached other brethren in nearby places,  thus,  more brethren   were added to the group. In November 1974, addressing the Chicago congregation's need for a resident minister, the Church   Administration officially assigned Brother San Gabriel as the first resident minister.

Winnipeg, Canada
Prior to the emergence  of   the congregation in Chicago,  a group of brethren in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, more than 600 miles northwest of Chicago, also had been holding group prayer meetings. In fact, as early as 1968, when the group first learned that a local congregation had been established in San Francisco and a minister had been sent there to oversee the brethren, the brethren in Winnipeg had already coordinated  and established communication with San Francisco congregation. Since then, tape-recorded lessons had been sent regularly to the group, which the brethren listened to  during  their prayer meetings. In 1971, when the group had already 52 members,  Brother  San Gabriel officiated a worship service marking the establishment of Winnipeg Extension.  Barely two years thereafter,    Winnipeg   became   a full-fledged local congregation.

From Chicago, Illinois, the Church expanded northeast when a group worship service  was   established Detroit,  Michigan in the early months of 1974. After a few months of establish merit of the Detroit GWS, another congregation was organized in the Midwest on April 10, 1975, a small group of brethren in a prayer meeting held at 5015 W. National Ave., West Milwaukee in Wisconsin. The group first became an extension of the Chicago Congregation and was subsequently granted local congregation status on October 27, 1979.  Also in 1977, two more congregations of the Church were established in the Northern Midwest, namely, St. Paul, Minnesota  and  Omaha, Nebraska. The local congregation of St. Paul, Minnesota, (established on March 23,1977) started with at least 29 members. Omaha, Nebraska, established as an extension of Chicago congregation in 1977, became a local congregation in 1984. On March 8, 1987, another committee prayer group was established in Dayton, Ohio through the leadership of Brother Mamerto Regis. The worship service was held at the residence of Sister Leonarda Braun. After a little more than a month, the group became a local congregation. 

5-office-nmidwestThe establishment of Midwest District
As   the number  of congregations within the Midwest grew, a more efficient  and  effective supervision became imperative. Thus, in June 1991, the Church Administration established the Ecclesiastical District of Midwest based in Chicago. Brother Manuel D. Andaya was designated as District Minister.  The creation of an ecclesiastical district in the Midwest resulted in a more extensive propagation of God's words and efficient   edification   of brethren.  More local congregations and worship service groups   were established, which greatly helped the brethren who previously had to travel many miles to attend the worship service in far away locales.
From one to two:  The Ecclesiastical District of Midwest's jurisdiction covers a wide land area. It includes several big states in USA's ''heartland" and Canada. In view of this, the Church Administration deemed it necessary to establish two districts in order to facilitate the supervision of the growing number of local congregations. Hence, in October 2000, the Church's Northern Midwest District and Southern Midwest District were created. The Northern Midwest District Office situated at 600 W. Talcott Road, Park Ridge,  Illinois.

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The Southern Midwest Ecclesiastical District

5-map-midwestsouthThe district covers the states in the southern portion of central United States, stretching front the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico. The Church has local congregations in the mountain regions of Colorado to the west and a group worship service in South Dakota to the north. In the southwestern region of the United States, there are congregations in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  In the Mississippi Valley, there are local congregations in Missouri. And lastly, in the "Bible Belt" there are con- gations in Tennessee and Arkansas.

How it all began:
The first group of brethren in Dallas, Texas formally gathered in 1976 at the home of Brother Ben Malabanan Sr. Twice a year, a minister and some Church officers would  be sent by Brother Paulino Membrere, then the  district   minister of   California,   to   officiate at Thanksgiving   and   Holy Supper worship services in a rented hall of a hotel.  On regular Thursday and Sunday  worship   services, the brethren would gather at the home of Brother Malabanan to listen to tape- recorded worship   services.    

In the early part of 1980, the first congregation in the  southern   Midwest portion of the United States was established in the Dallas area and the Church Administration sent Brother Lorenzo de  Vera   to   become   the congregation's first resident minister. The brethren from Houston began to assemble to establish a second congregation in Texas in the latter par the 1970s. Until that time, a total of ten families would drive every weekend to Dallas to attend the worship services. In 1981, the minister in Dallas started to travel to Houston to officiate in  the worship service. Soon, the   local congregation of Houston was formally establised as well.   Dallas and Houston congregations are then used to establish and support congregations in other parts of Texas and surrounding areas.  As a result, the local congregations of San Antonio and Austin in Texas were formed. Northward, a group of brethren gathered in Kansas City. And Westward,  a  congregation in Denver was established  to set the church's foot on the famous mountain range known as the Rockies. 

The birth of an ecclesiastical district
5-office-midwestsouthThe Church Administration then decided that the congregations in this middle part of the United States be formed into an ecclesiastical district. In 1991, the ecclesiastical district of Midwest was formed. Intense missionary campaigns were held  in the district. The efforts of the brethren were not wasted as people of different races and nationalities learned that the Church of Christ is where proper worship of God and salvation rests. The congregations of Brownsville-McAllen, Fort Worth, and Copperas  Cove in Texas, Little Rock in Arkansas, and Colorado Springs in Colorado were born as a result.   In 1999, the Midwest was divided into two districts—Northern Midwest and Southern Midwest. The Dallas chapel located at 2310 College Avenue in Garland, Texas was chosen to house the new Southern Midwest district office. And more local congregations, extensions, and group worship services were added   namely, Corpus Christi, Forth worth, Lubbock and Southwest Houston in Texas; North Denver in Colorado;  Springfield, and St. Louis in Missouri;  Oklahoma City and Tulsa, in Oklahoma; Little Rock in Arkansas;  Albuquerque in New Mexico; Rapid City in South Dakota; and Memphis in Tennessee.

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The Northeastern Seaboard Ecclesiastical District

5-map-northeasternsbOn August 19,   1968, after the momentous  first  worship   service of the Church of Christ outside the Philippines on July 27, 1968 in Ewa, Honolulu, Hawaii, and after the establishment of San Francisco Locale in California on August 14, 1968, the first group prayer meeting of brethren living in the U.S. capital was held at the New York Hilton. This initial but historic prayer meeting was led by Brother Erafio G. Manalo together with some ministers of the Church as part of their short visit to the brethren living in the Eastern side of the United States. During the meeting, the Executive Minister admonished  the eight brethren who attended to search for other Church members in the vast region so that they could  organize themselves, conduct group   prayer meetings, and do what it would take for them to strengthen their faith.  A series of informal gatherings followed until they were able to form a regular group prayer meeting at the residence of Brother El Castro, a medical doctor, at 2030 Beaumont Avenue in Bronx,  New York City, New York Their first regular group prayer meeting was held on February 26, 1969. Together with the newly found brethren, they were able to conduct regular prayer meetings wherein they listened  to  tape-recorded sermons from the Church Central Office in the Philippines.

On December 6, 1969, the first worship service in New York was officiated by the late Brother Aniceto S. Bunag Sr. The brethren increased in number as a result of their concerted efforts   to continuously search for the other Church members.  On   July  27, 1972 through the   leadership   of   Brother  Paul Membrere, District Minister of California, and Brother Joven Rosquites, Corporate Secretary of the Church, the Locale of New York was officially registered with the United States government. More than three decades since the first  group prayer  meeting in 1968,   more group prayer   meetings .were established. These later grew into locales and their extensions.  and into the two Church ecclesiastical namely Northeastern and Southeastern covering some parts of Canada, the Caribbean, and South America.

The Locale of New York became the nucleus of the many congregations that were established in the Eastern portion of the continent as far as Toronto, Canada in the north and as far as Miami, Florida in the south. In a span of five years,   from 1973 to 1978, ten congregations  in the Eastern side of the continent of North America were established—in the northern part, Toronto, Canada (1973); Montreal Canada (1977); Ternple Hills, Maryland (1974); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1974); Elizabeth, New Jersey (1978); and Baltimore, Maryland (1977), and in the southern part, Charleston, South Carolina (1977);   Jacksonville, Florida  (1973); Miami,   Florida (1977); and Virginia Beach, Virginia (1973). I5-office-northeasternsbn 1979  the Church Administration decided to establish the Ecclesiastical District of Eastern Seaboard. .

The Establishment of the Northeastern Seaboard District
In 1996, due to the increasing membership and to prepare for the foreseen developments in the Caribbean and some parts of South America the existing Eastern Seaboard District  was divided into two Ecclesiastical Districts namely Northeastern Seaboard and the Southeastern Seaboard. At that time, there were 14 locales and extensions comprising the District of Northeastern Seaboard,  whose district office is at 1271 Clinton Place, Elizabeth, New Jersey.  By April 2000 the district has 20 locales, five of which are situated in Canada, five extensions, one group worship service. One of the notable achievements of the District was the dedication of a new house of worship in the Locale of Forest Hills, New York on June 28, 2003.

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The Southeastern Seabord Ecclesiastical District

5-map-southeastAfter the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces in many Filipinos enlisted and applied to become  personnel in these naval installations. Some of the immigrant moved to Florida hoping for greener pastures were members of the Church of Christ in thePhilippines. Through copies of Pasugo magazine sent by loved from the Philippines, news of opening of worship services in Hawaii and in San Francisco, California in 1968 reverberated in the United States including those in Florida. Brethren were moved to start searching for fellow Church of Christ members. Many were found within the military circle of families and friends.

The first group prayer meeting of the brethren was held in the early 1970's  at   the   Fabella residence in Everglades Circle North, Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida. A year later, another prayer meeting was held with few additional members. These group banded together to search for more brethren.  They held weekly prayer meetings at different houses of the brethren. Because of the tireless  efforts of the brethren, the group had a steady pace of growth. They requested the Church Administration that they be allowed to hold regular worship services. The first worship service with tape-recorded lessons was held in March of 1973 and the first worship service officiated by a minister was held on September 29, 973.  In December 21st of  the same year, the congregation  in  Jacksonville, Florida officially became a locale and was originally supervised by the Ecclesiastical District of Eastern Seaboard. Fifty-nine members made up the congregation, some of whom came from different parts of the southeast namely, Pensacola and Miami, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. On November 4,   1974, Brother Isaias Samson Jr. was sent to become their first resident minister. By late 1975, the locale was able to purchase more than 2 acres of land and constructed a house of worship which was dedicated to God  on April 26, 1977.

5-office-southeastBirth of a new district
As more and   more people called into the fold, congregations are subsequently established in the cities of Charleston in South Carolina and in Pensacola, Miami, and Orlando in Florida. A second locale was established also in Jacksonville in the Arlington area on January of 1977. The third locale was opened in the neighboring Clay County in the city of Orange Park, on August 10, 2003.  Meanwhile, brethren in  Atlanta, Georgia who used to attend worship services in Charleston became a separate   locale. With the addition of the locales of Fayetteville in North Carolina, and Virginia Beach,  Virginia. The Ecclesiastical Southeastern Seaboard was established on May 4, 1996 and the district office is currently housed in a two-story office building located at 6825 Lillian Road, Jacksonville, Florida. By March 2005, Southeastern   Seaboard   District  has added 16 local congregations (locales, extensions, and   group worship services) to its growing membership. A total of 29 local congregations is now under its jurisdiction.

5-map-carribeanCaribbean
Springboard of the missions beyond the Atlantic:
The mission in Florida that began in the 70s has flourished across the Atlantic. In South America, where majority of the people are Roman Catholics. The Church of Christ has  established congregations which continue to grow in number.  Since  its   establishment on August 18,1990, the congregation in Guantanamo  Bay, Cuba  has slowly but surely gained community acceptance and recognition. After Cuba, the next island is Aruba. It was on July 24th of 1991 when the Church established a group worship service in Oranjestad. Church  congregations   were also established in St. Maarten of the neighboring Island group, the Netherlands Antilles, on July 30,1993 and in Grand Cayman Islands, a British dependent territory northwest of Jamaica, on June 14, 1996.

Then, in 1997, the Church of Christ reached Brazil, said to be the largest Catholic country in the world, with the establishment of congregation in the "Gi&a&e Mara- vilhosa" (Marvelous City)   of   Rio de Janeiro on September 3, 1997. Three years  later,  another group worship service was established in Brazil, this time in Sao Paulo. In the "archetypal island paradise" of Bahamas, a congregation was founded in its capital city, Nassau, on October21,2002. Meanwhile, also in 2002 a pioneering Bible mission was held in the Argentinian cities of  Buenos  Aires,   Rosario,   and Piamonte. 

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CANADA

The Western and Eastern Canada Ecclesiastical Districts

5-map-canadaIt was in the late 60s through the early 70s when the Church of Christ mission began to penetrate Canada. In the central province of Manitoba, the earliest recorded group prayer meetings transpired in Winnipeg City in 1968. This was followed by the rise of a committee prayer group in Toronto, Ontario on February 22,1973. Though a thousand miles apart, these two groups individually grew to become the Church's first and  second local congregations  in Canada, both registering a few other firsts in the pages of the Church's history. The next Canadian province where the Church was planted is British Co- lumbia (B.C.). There sprang the Vancouver Congregation, which  in the next decades, had branched out into several congregations and groups. Toward the end of the 70s, pioneering missions in Ottawa {Canada's capital, also situated in Ontario) and nearby Montreal province of Quebec, had already been set in place. Thus, as early  as the 70s,   the Church of Christ had already  taken root in Canada's three most populous provinces—Manitoba,   Ontario,   and B.C. All  these  happened as  with the Church's initial   expansions   in the West, first sown in the Far West American states  of  Hawaii   and California   in   mid-1968 by    then executive Minister Brother Erano G. Manalo.

With the dawn of the 80s, more groundbreaking events unfolded for the Church in Canada,   beginning with the establishment of the Ottawa- Montreal congregation  in 1981, to which belonged the brethren from Canada's capital in Ontario to nearby Montreal in Quebec. This was shortly followed by the establishment of the Parksville Extension of the Vancouver congregation in October 1981 and the following year, the establishment of the then conjoined local congregations of Edmonton and Calgary on October 5 1982 marked the Church's entry into the province of Alberta. Thus,   from  the initial three provinces, the Church in Canada, by this decade, had grown to encompass five of its 10 provinces.

Toronto Congregation's further growth soon gave rise to Scarborough Extension in December 1988. The early 90s was marked by th blossoming of the previously established   Scarborough  extension into a full-grown local congregation and the budding of a new committee prayer group in Regina, Saskatchewan. Thus, by that time, the Church was able to extend across another province of Canada—Saskatchewan. It was also within this decade when  the Church Administration approved the establishment of the Ottawa Congregation for the brethren residing within and near Canada's Capital. In addition, several more congregations and missions arose in Canada—the local congregation of Surrey in B.C. in 1996, Mississauga Central Congregation (its parent local congregation was then renamed Mississauga West) and Windsor  group worship service (GWS), both in the province of Ontario in 1997.

2000 to 2009: A 'bursting' decade
The first  10   years of  the millennium is a bursting decade for the Iglesia ni Cristo in Canada as it was then that the Church experienced  tremendous growth unlike what it had in the previous years. A total of 17 places of worship—12 congregations,    three group worship services, and two  extensions—were established in this period. This is twice more the total number of congregations and missions established in the past decades since the Church set foot in Canada.

In British Columbia, the Parksville Extension was elevated to congregation status and was renamed Victoria Congregation to aptly represent the location of its new place of worship.  Then, in November 2004,   a new Parksville   Extension   was put up to meet the needs of the still-growing number of brethren in that area. The old Vancouver Congregation was renamed Burnaby also in view of its house of worship's location and of the rise of congregations in Vancouver proper. By the decade's end, there were already two of them, name—Vancouver West (established in 2004) and Vancouver East (2008).  Still within Metro Vancouver, the congregation of Richmond arose in 2008 in the coastal city after which it was named.

In Ontario,  currently the most populous province of Canada, the local congregations of Brampton,   Mississauga Central, and North York were established successively from 2007 to 2008. Mississauga West also begot the Burlington Extension in 2009. Around the same time span, the congregations of Edmonton and Calgary multiplied into several others, thus the original ones were renamed Edmonton North and Calgary Central, respectively. Their offspring are the congregations of Edmonton South (established in 2007), Calgary North (2008), and Edmonton West (2009). Concurrently, group worship services were put up in Grande Prairie and Red Deer City, in Alberta.

Still within this decade, the Church succeeded in planting its mission in the province of New Brunswick through the establishment of the group worship service (GWS) earlier known as St. John's (now renamed New Brunswick GWS). This came about in the same year that new group worship services were added in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon GWS) and Quebec (the new Montreal Congregation). 

The   second   decade of  the third millennium  saw unprecedented developments for the Church of Christ in Canada. Not only did its membership keep on growing, as reflected by the establishment of two group worship services and   two   congregations   in 2010 alone—Banff Congregation   and Lloydminster  GWS in Alberta,   and the  local   congregations   of    Regina, Saskatchewan   (elevated   from being GWS)   and  North  Vancouver,  B.C.  

Also,  during that year 2010, the Church Administration decided to form them into not one, but two new ecclesiastical districts, the Church's Western and Eastern Canada Districts led by Brothers Paterno See and Ranniel Serreno  as district ministers, respectively.

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