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
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 previous page.
  U.S.A. Page 1
Hawaii-Pacific District Northern California District Southern California District
       Central America
Pacific Northwest District Northern Midwest District Southern Midwest District
Northeastern Seaboard District Southeastern Seaboard District
 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

EUROPE

The Northern Europe Ecclesiastical District

5-map-europenorthernIt was an official letter of the Executive Minister, Brother Erano G. Manalo, sent in late 1971 to the pioneering brethren in England that triggered the burgeoning of Iglesia ni Cristo congregations in the United Kingdom and to the entire Europe. The   husband-and-wife tandem of Brother Colin Ringwood and Sister Melba Angeles was instrumental in the establishment of the Church's first locale in the UK. Sister Melba met Brother Colin, an Englishman. She introduced the Church  of Christ to him. He received instruction on Bible doctrines and baptism at San Francisco Locale, in California, USA in 1971.  Back in England, the then newly wed couple received the Executive Minister's letter. As instructed, they combed the emerging Filipino community in search of fellow members. One evening in late October 1972, some 20 brethren showed up at 42 Priestly Garden Chadwell, Heath, Romford, Essex for the first official gathering of Church  members   in England. Before the meeting presided over by Brother Colin ended, a congregation complete with officers was formed. On November 15, the Executive  Minister  approved the establishment of the London committee prayer.

The telephone greatly facilitated the emergence of prayer groups in Europe. Since receiving  the   Executive   Minister's letter, the Ringwoods' daily life had become a virtually endless series of phone calls as they got in touch with other brethren. They were able to reach even those in Germany, Switzerland, and   the Netherlands.  These brethren soon   began  holding prayer meetings and later  worship services with tape-recorded sermons. Within ten years, fullfledged locales had taken deep root in major cities   of   these countries, including Austria.   In May 1973, the Church of Christ was registered with the British government. The registration was approved in September. After  the  purchase of a property in 32 Latchmere Road, Battersea, London, Brother Jose Salazar was sent to oversee the Church's first locale in the UK. He arrived in London in June 1975, five months before the house of worship was dedicated to God.

Across the English Channel that same year, a handful of brethren started holding prayer meetings at Sister Ruth Morales' house in Bonn, Germany. It became a locale in  1986. In November 1987 the Dortmund Locale's first worship service was officiated at Blumstr. 36, Dortmund. Also, on March 7, 1979, the congregation in Hamburg, Germany held their first worship service at Sister Esther Elizaga's residence along Christian Forster  Street. The Hamburg GWS became a locale in 1984. On April 27, I988 the Church of Christ was registered with the German government.

The congregation in Frankfurt was the first in the Continent to have been blessed with a resident minister. Frankfurt gained locale status in September 1983 after two years as a group worship service. With the arrival of its first resident minister, Brother Jose Ventilacion, in February 1984, propagation work began to pick up and no less than ten of the converts in the locale that year were Germans.

Since 1989, the succeeding resident ministers of Frankfurt   Locale were assigned to officiate the worship services in the Church's first locale in the Netherlands. Dordrecht Locale started as a prayer group in October 1983 meeting at Brother Pieters' house in The Hague.

The Church opened its missions in Switzerland,  Sweden, and Denmark in 1984—-Geneva   Locale and Gothenburg Group Worship Service in May, and the Copenhagen GWS in October. It gained ground in Norway with the formation of the Oslo GWS in June 1987 and in Scotland, with the Edinburgh GWS in August 1988. Other congregations planted in the 80s were Stockholm, Sweden (April 1985); and, Heathrow and Manchester, England (November 1989).

In the 90s the growth center was Germany where half of the 16 local congregations added during that period are found. These are Wiesbaden GWS (September 1994), Giessen Locale (January 1996), Heidelberg GES (January 1997), Berlin GWS (June 1997), Lubeck GWS (1997), Bremen GWS {April 1999), and Ramstein and Kassel Extensions (1999).  Four are in the UK—Stratford Locale  (1990, from London Locale, now Battersea), Camden Locale (September   1996), Bournemouth GWS (1997) and Newport, Wales GWS (June 1998). The rest are Rjukan GWS (August 1991) and Nottoden GWS in Norway (November 1992),  Amsterdam GWS (May 1997) in the Netherlands, and Arlov GWS (1992) in Sweden.

In October   2001,   the Church reached  the Republic of Ireland through the Dublin GWS. Germany is still a growth center with three new   GWS—Wuppertal,   Bielefeld, and, the most recent, Munich. But the UK is catching up with four—Belfast, Northern Ireland; and, Birmingham, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, England where it all began 36 years ago.

The Church of Christ's District Office in Grossgasse 2A 61184 Karben, Germany

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The Southern Europe Ecclesiastical District

5-map-europesouthernTHE CHURCH OF CHRIST   in the   Ecclesiastical   District    of Southern Europe straddles the Mediterranean Sea. As such., it covers Spain, France, Italy and Greece, as well as the Middle East countries in the east coast, Israel and Turkey. The ecclesiastical district also   includes Portugal, Malta, and South Africa. Almost all  of  these countries played a significant role in the history of the Church built by Christ 2000 years ago.   Israel, particularly its chief city, Jerusalem, is the cradle of the Christian faith. Greece, known in the past as the land of the Gentiles, is where the Church began to expand throughout the Roman Empire during the time of the apostles. Italy famous mainly for the city of Rome, the  seat  of   the  apostate  Church.

Restoration
But the true Church of Christ is back in the region. Three momentous occasions that happened in the mid-1990s in the cities of Rome, Jerusalem, and  Athens highlight  this  return. They involved  the  registration  of the Church's congregations in Italy, Israel, and Greece with these countries' respective governments. A special worship service officiated by the Executive Minister, Brother Erano G. Manalo, marked each occasion.

A day after the thanksgiving worship held on July  27, 1994 in Rome  Locale's  house of   worship, Brother Erano signed a  document declaring that the original  Church of Christ had been restored in the ''Eternal City" where apostasy from  the true faith began. In Jerusalem, on March 31, 1996, Brother Erano formally declared that God's work of salvation had finally returned to its original home. And, on May 10, 1997, in Athens, the Executive Minister officially declared the establishment   of  the Church's locale in that city, signaling the continuation of God's work of salvation to the Gentile lands that was started by Apostle Paul in the first century.

The Beginning
How the restoration began involved the meetings of Filipino brethren working in major cities in  Italy; France, and Spain quarter of a century ago. Whether they met by chance or sought out one another, they were drawn together by a common yearning for spiritual nourishment.  One such chance meeting happened in mid-1981 at a plaza in MiIan, Italy's industrial and commercial heartland. A group of brethren led by Brother Danilo Lu agreed to start holding   group   prayer   meetings, thus pioneering the Locale of Milan, which held its first worship service on December 14,1982. The same can be said of the early congregation in Spain. At Plaza CataIonia, a favorite gathering place of most Filipinos in Barcelona, Sister Eufrosina Vargas first met Sister El- vira Pascual in 1979. Together with Sister   Purificacion   Florencio,    the three held the first prayer  meeting in Barcelona at the residence of Sister Purificacion. Eventually   the   prayer   group grew and was given official status by the Church by the Church Administration. It received from the Central Office tape-recorded sermons for the worship in service from 1980 until it became a locale in 1992. Locales such as Paris, France;  Rome,   Italy;  and  Madrid, Spain, began in a similar way during the same period, so did Jerusalem and  Tel Aviv, Israel a little later. But it was not at all that easy. Along the way, there were obstacles and difficulties, which nonetheless failed to crush the brethren's spirit.

But now in most locales, gone are the days of rented places of worship. Buildings have been acquired  and refurbished appropriately. Gone too are the tape-recorded sermons during worship services. There are now ministers and evangelical workers attending to the spiritual needs of the brethren in the 32 local congregations in Southern Europe, grouped as one ecclesiastical district in September 2000.     Indeed, the true  Church  of Christ,   established in Jerusalem but was apostatized in Rome after spreading throughout the Mediterranean world, has come full circle.

 

The Southern Europe Office
Via Ceresole ReaIe 9, Rome, Italy 00166 >>>

5-office-europesouthern

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AFRICA

The pioneering missions 5-map-africa
Among the early missions   of   the Church of Christ in the African continent were the prayer groups in the oil-rich nation of Nigeria: one in Lagos, which was recorded to have begun in October 1978, and another in Rivers State, which was organized in the same year. Up north in Algeria, prayer groups in the port city of D'Oran were organized in July 1979. Down south, one of the first prayer groups is that of Lesotho (established in November 1978).

As it was with the Church's pioneering missions in other parts of the world, the missionary  work in Africa also had a rough start. Most of the brethren who formed the first prayer groups throughout the continent had to deal with the political instability and racial problems that rocked the countries where they came to work. Their faith, however, never  waned.  They continued in their services to God amidst numerous hindrances.

Such was  the  experience Brother Rogelio Rafols Sr., a medical doctor  from the Philippines, who came to southern  Africa  in 1977 to work under the United Nations  Development Program. His first assignment brought him to the Kingdom of Lesotho, a land-locked country in South Africa. There, he brought with him his family and the firm conviction of one who not only served as a head deacon of the Bacolod City Congregation but also as one who underwent training as an evangelical worker  back in his home province of Negros Occidental. With permission from the Church Administration,    Brother Rogelio and his family formed the first group worship service (GWS) in that part of southern Africa in November 1978. At their residence in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, worship services were held, using audio-taped sermons sent by the Church's Central Office in the Philippines.

Later, in 1981, this GWS was moved   within   the   Republic  of South Africa itself, following the Rafols' transfer of residence and the arrival of another family of Church of Christ members that of Brother Jose Ramos, also a medical doctor who was then stationed at the same hospital where Brother Rogelio Rafols was working. More brethren came to Africa, mostly from the Philippines, and this pushed forward the Church's missions not only in South Africa but also in different parts of the continent.


South Africa
Evangelizing South Africa 5-map-southafrica
Whereas the 80s saw the gradual but steady growth ot the Church's pioneering missions in  the  Dark Continent,  the 90s  marked more groundbreaking developments.  In 1991, the brethren's wish that a minister be sent there to officiate at their worship services finally came true. Brother Paterno See, who was then the resident minister of Battersea Congregation in London, England, was sent by the Church Administration to officiate at the Holy Supper in South Africa on June 14, 1991, and at the Thanksgiving worship service on December 15 of the same year. Since then, such  pastoral  visits  to con- gregations in Africa have occurred regularly.

On December 7, 1992, a baptism took place at Brother Rogelio's residence,   wherein among   those baptized was the first South African convert, Sister Karen Bezuidenhout.

A house for the Lord
For some time, the worship services  were held alternately at the Rafols' and Ramos' residences. Then in 1987, the King William's Town GWS moved to 32 Reserve Road. But because of the growing number of brethren, the GWS had to move once again this time to the Activities Hall of the King William's Town Library. Still, because of  booking problems at the Activities Hall, there were times when the worship service had to change locations. With God's help, however, the worship services were never interrupted.

8-chapel-kingwilliamstown2When the St. Christopher Private  School announced that it was putting up its property at Alexandra Road for sale, the congregational  leadership immediately called real estate agents as well as the ministers of the Church in Europe. The property formerly belonged to the Anglican Church. Built in 1882, it was sold to the school in the 1980s. After a large amount of paper-work,  the building was acquired by the Church of Christ on July 6, 1998. Renovations took quite some time as the building was old and the school had converted it into an assembly hall.  On January 30, 2000, the house of worship was dedicated to God. Thus, the first local congregation in South Africa was officially established.

More and more people are being called into the Church, some of whom moving later to other areas of the country and beginning other group worship service like those established in the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as in the neighboring countries of Mauritius, Namibia, and Angola. At present, brethren in the countries of Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, and Uganda are also holding group worship services. In Libya, a nation in northern Africa, there are already 12 group worship services. As of the year 2006, there are 27 congregations and group worship services in 12 of the 51 countries in Africa.

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MIDDLE EAST

Qatar and United Arab Emirates Ecclesiastical Districts

Dubai, UAE
5-map-persiangulf
It has been proven yet again that the dispersion of Filipinos to different parts of the world in search of better livelihood

does not cause them to forget the land of their birth, their culture and even their faith. Among the Filipinos who have come to work in Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, are members of the Iglesia ni Cristo. In spite of the dire need to earn a living, the brethren strive to carry on with their service and worship of God. The Church of Christ in Dubai started with the first prayer meeting held by 17 members in Satwa in March 1978. In just less than three decades, this number rapidly multiplied such that 11 local congregations were established one after the other in the
United Arab Emirates, where there are now thousands of Church members.

These local congregations are as follows: Ras Al Khaimah, established in 1980; Al Ain, 1983; Fujairah, 1985; Sharjah, 1987; Satwa, 1988; Abu Dhabi, 1990; Madina Bader, 1997; Deira, 1997; Mussafah, which branched out from Abu Dha-
bi, 2002; Ajman, formerly an extension of Sharjah, 2004; and Karama, April 2005. Aside from these, there are a number of extensions and group worship services in other parts of the UAE.

Despite many difficulties and hindrances, one of which is the restriction of practicing a religion other than what is officially recognized in this part of the world, the members of the Church of Christ continued, and will continue, to serve God zealously and faithfully. On May 11, 2006, the Deputy Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, officiated at the worship service of the Church of Christ in Dubai, which was held at a building called Christ Church in Jebel Ali, Dubai. It was attended by more than 3,000 brethren.
Source: God's Message - June 2006

Abu Dhabi, UAE
THE WORLDWIDE economic recession. has caused many brethren to work in the Middle East. They endured leaving
their loved ones behind and living in Foreign countries for years just to earn For the needs of their families. Although there are many things that they are willing to sacrifice, there is one that they can never give up—their faith and membership in the Church Of Christ.  This kind of dedication led more than 7,000 members of the Church Of Christ from all over the Middle East to be gathered in a worship service to God on ]uly 13, 2012, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This event was officiated by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo Manalo at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions
Centre. This is the first worship service in Abu Dhabi that was officiated by the Executive Minister.

Those who attended the gathering also witnessed two important events: the announcement of the establishment of a new ecclesiastical district in the Middle East (there are now two districts in that part of the world—the districts of Qatar and
UAE); and the oath-taking of five ministers—Brother Raul Basco as district minister of Qatar, Brother Sarwan Singh as district secretary of Qatar, Brother Antonio Banez as district auditor of UAE, Brother Florente Ladrillo as district treasurer
of UAE, and Brother Ieffrey Labasan as district secretary of UAE. This historic development shows the fast expansion of the Church in that part of the world, a proof that God until now fulfills His promises to His Messenger and His Church in
these last days.
Source: God's Message - Ausust 2012

Israel
5-map-israelTHUS FAR, THE Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) maintain three local congregations in state of Israel—each one named after the city where it was established—to meet the spiritual needs of the brethren. These are the Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa congregations, which are under the supervision of the Southern Europe Ecclesiastical District.

Tel Aviv: The return of the true Church of Christ to Israel, ending an 18 centuries-long absence due to the post-apostolic, false prophet-led departure from the  true faith, began in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Lying on the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv-Yafo, the nation's main business, communications, and   cultural center, is connected to Jerusalem in the southeast and Haifa in the north by railways aside from excellent  roads. Yafo is the Joppa of Bible times. It is where foreign countries keep their embassies. 

For it was by being assigned in the Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv-Yafo that the first Iglesia Cristo member to set foot on Israeli soil was able to do so. Not that Brother Samuel Angeles, a radio operator- technician, and his family's arrival in 1979 was itself the start of the Church in Israel, Rather, the Tel Aviv Congregation traces its roots from the prayer meeting in his house at Gush-Itzion, Givatay-im, which was at first a family affair held by himself; his wife, sister,  two children; and his sister-in-law. As one Filipino brother or sister,  who   came to   work in Israel, joined them, their group soon earned the Church Administration's blessing for it to function as a group worship service.

By 1981, the Tel Aviv GWS had grown to 15 worshipers, listening to tape-recorded sermons sent by the Central Office in Quezon City, Philippines during their weekly gathering in the Angeles family's new residence at 72 Weizmann St. The first time a minister preached personally to the Tel Aviv GWS was in July  1982 at their first true Holy Supper. During the occasion, officers were inducted, including  Brother Samuel as head deacon.

Jerusalem: Amid the Gulf crisis events that Jed to the creation of the Jerusalem GWS on January 9, 1991 were concurrent with those of the Gulf War, which broke out a few days later. A year before the Gulf crisis, three sisters Araceli Pellas, Eliza Sison, and Delia Manuel, who arrived separately in late 1989, met at a New Year get-together of Filipinos in Jerusalem. Some time later, after making acquaintance with Brother Leodegario Paguio, who had  been head deacon since 1988, they enlisted at the Tel Aviv GWS.

In   July   1990,   Brother   Donato Manuel and his wife, Sister Araceii, were re-assigned in Jerusalem,  ten years after their first stay in the city as officers at the United Nations field office. They got in touch with the three sisters and the five of them went by car pool in going to Tel Aviv-Yafo for the worship service. In early August,  the brethren heard the news that Israel's neighbor Iraq invaded Kuwait. Travels of UN personnel, like the Manuel couple, were restricted and Israeli authorities tightened security and imposed a curfew. This gave the brethren a hard time commuting to Tel Aviv-Yafo. They saw the situation as an opportunity for them to organize a separate GWS.

They asked for the Church   Administration's   approval   through a letter and received the reply on September 21, directing them to undergo a one-month trial. After the trial period, the brethren sent a favorable report to the Central Office but had to wait until the next year for the final word. So they had to resume attending the  worship service  in Tel  Aviv-Yafo.  As the Gulf crisis worsened, Brother Donato Manuel and family at the UN's order, flew to Cyprus. Only four brethren were thus now left in the Israeli capital but it was not  setback to the planned setting up of  the Jerusalem GWS. The fifth member would return from  vacation the following year hopefully to bring good news. And so Sister Eliza Sison came back from the Philippines in early January 1991, carrying the letter of approval from the Church Administration, as well as hymnals, audiotapes of sermons, and official forms. On January 9, 1991, the JerusaIem GWS was born. Its birth was marked by the worship service held by five female members at 2:00 pm that Sunday in Sister Delia Manuel's place along Nof Harim Street, Yefe Nof.

In April 1991, when the Gulf war was over, the Manuel family returned to Jerusalem and Brother Donato was appointed head deacon. On December 15, Brother Paterno See, the resident minister of the London Congregation, officiated the true Church Christ's first annual thanksgiving service in Jerusalem in its modem history.   

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ASIA

Northeast Asia Ecclesiastical District 5-map-northeast asia

The newly formed  ecclesiastical district of Northeast Asia comprises Japan, Korea, and China. The formal filing of the registration of the Iglesia ni Cristo with MEXT (Ministry oi Education, Culture,   Sports,   Science and Technology) of Japan took place on September 13, 2010. Immediately after the Church's registration in Japan, the  Church Administration began acquiring properties, with the purchase of a five-story Osaka building located at 59-21 Chome, Kita-Magome, Oota-ku, Tokyo, Japan, near the center of Tokyo, to be used as the Church's District Office in the ecclesiastical district  of Northeast Asia, so the brethren in the local congregations located in the nearby countries of South Korea and China can be more easily administered and their spiritual needs overseen. The district office situated in  Tokyo was inaugurated on November 7, 2010 by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.

Okinawa5-office-japan
Okinawa is located at the southern. most end of the sovereign territory of Japan. It can be reached by airplane or by ferry. In the city of Naha, the local congregation of the Church of Christ dates back to 1978, when a group worship service (GWS) was held in the house of Brother Ricarte Corpuz, a US Army soldier, in the 615-A Futenma Housing Camp Foster. During the latter part of the 1980s, the Okinawa GWS was transferred to a unit along Highway 58 near the Kadena US Air Base. The Okinawa GWS officially became a local congregation on July 2,1997. On July 25,1999, the house of worship was transferred to a hilltop property in Yamauchi, Okinawa City, between Kadena Air Base  and  Camp Foster. Many of the brethren here work with the United States Military based in the Okinawa installations.

North East Asia District Office in Tokyo, Japan >>>

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5-map-southeast asiaSoutheast Asia Ecclesiastical District

The climax of the 2011 victory parade for the Church Of Christ in Malaysia was the pastoral visit of Brother Eduardo
Manalo. In the worship service he officiated on August 7, 2011, the Executive Minister declared the establishment of the ec-
clesiastical district of Southeast Asia and sworn into office Brother Willen Regalado as district minister and Brother Raymun-
do Antonio Ir. as district secretary. That worship service also served as a reunion of sorts, as brethren from various congre-
gations across Malaysia and the neighboring countries gathered together and met the Executive Minister in person. More ministers and workers were later sent to complete the staff of the new Southeast Asia District, which covers congregations not only in Malaysia but also in its neighboring countries like Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh, East Timor, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, and the Diego Garcia territory.

Malaysia
Malaysia as a nation was formed in 1963, five years before the Iglesia Ni Cristo set out with its overseas mission, initially
establishing congregations in the West. From the mid-1980s to early 90s, when the Malaysian economy was picking up and enjoying unprecedented growth, Church Of Christ prayer groups in both
the eastern and western sides of Malaysia began to be formed. The Church Administration, then led by the late Executive Minister, Brother Erafio G. Manalo, successively approved the establishment of group worship ser vices (GWS) in three locations of East Malaysia, namely, Tawau on February 22, 1984; Lahad Datu on September 10, 1985; and Kota Kinabalu on Iuly 12, 1986. Over at Peninsular Malaysia, the nucleus of present-day Kuala Lumpur Congregation was formed, also in 1986, as a group worship service holding its gatherings in Selangor. This was followed by the inception of the ]ohor Bahru GWS, which first held its worship gathering on November 18, 1987 and was formally established as a group worship service on Iune 31, 1990. A new GWS was established in the island state of Penang on September 23, 1992; in turn, another one in the federal territory of Labuan was opened on October 8, 1993.

When financial crisis hit the Asian region in 1997, Malaysia was not spared and many workers lost their jobs, including the brethren. But even this did not stop the continuance of the Church's growth in the land. In fact, on February 28, 1998, the Lahad Datu GWS was elevated into local congregation status. On April 29 of the same year, the Kuala Lumpur Congregation opened its children's worship service. Other committee prayers and extensions were also formed in various places. Indeed, the faithful carried on with their services to God, clinging on to Him and His promised help during those times of economic hardship. Through the leadership of Brother Manuel Iatulan, who replaced Brother Gallito as resident minister in 2000, several improvements were made in the place of worship of Kuala Lumpur to address the need for bigger space to accommodate the growing number of worshipers.

5-map-malaysiaEfforts were made to pursue the registration of the Church with the Malaysian government. On Iuly 16, 2002, with the legal assistance of Brother ]ames Ong, a lawyer, the application was submitted to the Registry on Society in Malaysia. Through constant follow-up and the united prayers of the brethren in all the congregations and group worship services across the
country, the application was approved. On August 27, 2003 the Iglesia Ni Cristo was officially registered in Malaysia.

As the Malaysian economy moved for a\rebound towards the end of the decade, Church membership continued to go on a high climb. In 2008, two new extensions were successively established—Subang Jaya (established on Iuly 8) and Kenengau (September 23), while two group worship services were made into full-fledged local congregations—Tawau (October 24) and Kota Kinabalu (December 17). By that time, Brother Felix Santos had replaced Brother Manuel Jatulan as resident minister. To better oversee the growing number of congregations and groups, another minister, Brother Villamor Catabona, was sent in 2009. He handled Subang Iaya Extension and the congregations in Sabah. On December 6, 2010, when Brother Raymundo Antonio Ir. had taken the place of Brother Santos as Kuala Lumpur resident minister, the Tanjung Malim GWS was established. Through the approval of the present Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, more developments ensued in the year 2011. An extension was established at the Ipoh Perak State on March 9, 2011, which quickly grew to a group worship service on May 19. Three erstwhile group worship services also ”matured” into local congregations—Subang Jaya (May 19), Labuan (May 31), and ]ohor Bahru (August 10).
Source: God's Message, April 2012

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5-map-australia oceaniaAUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA

Australia Ecclesiastical District

The making of a district:  Until the early 90s, the congregations in Australia were under the direct supervision of the Central Office. However, with the number of locales, extensions, and group worship services steadily rising, the Church Administration decided it was high time to create a lone ecclesiastical district to oversee the brethren in Australia and its neighboring countries, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The official proclamation of Australia as an ecclesiastical district was done on May 7, 1994. An office building was purchased in April 1996 to serve as the district office of the Australia Ecclesiastical District. Situated at Ross Street, North Parramatta in New South Wales.

The first seeds:  It was in Sydney where the first seeds of the Church’s mission in Australia were sown. With the blessing of the Church administration, several Filipino migrants in Annandale formed a ccommittee prayer group and began to hold regular meetings at the flat of Sister Lydia Prado Magno in Feruary 1976. A few months later, several other brewthren formed a committee prayer in Wolongong, some hundred kilometers south of Sydney. Led by Brother Antero Repas, this group, which was initially composed of a few  families eventually merged with Annandale brethren to form Sydney Congregation, the first locale of the Church of Christ in the Land down under.

As the news about these committee prayer groups in Australia began to spread througout the districts, more brethren from other parts of Australia sought to communicate with the committee prayer pioneers and to attend their prayer meetings. The need for a bigger venue of the fast growing prayer group soon became compelling. On November 7, 1976 the prayer meetings were moved to a rented YMCA hall at 71 Pitt Street in Sydney. This date was later commemorated as the foundation day of the Locale of Sydney. Concurrently, the group's request to the Church Administration to hold formal worship services in place of ordinary prayer meetings was approved shortly before the end of the year. Even though there was no resident minister assigned there yet, the brethren were still able to hear sermons during their worship gatherings. They listened to the tape-recorded sermons of the Executive Minister, Brother Erafio G. Manalo, which were sent to them by the Central Office. 5-map-australia

In April 1977, Brother Antero Repas and his wife Sister Ester, and Sisters Lydia Prado, Purfella Abella-David and Josie Catungal traveled to Victoria to administer a prayer meeting for the brethren there. It was held at the residence of Brother Jaime
Medina at Empire Street in Footscray. This place would later become the first venue for the committee prayer meetings of another congregation, which was then on the rise, and is now known as the Locale of Melbourne.

Concerned about the spiritual needs of the fast-growing committee prayer groups, the Church Administration soon began sending evangelical workers and ministers to Australia.  Brother Felipe Naguit was then assigned as the first resident minister to oversee the growing number of the faithful in Sydney. The first fruits  were baptized in La Perouse at the height of a cold winter in Iuly 1979. This was followed by another baptism in November, which yielded, among others, Brother Finn Kristiansen, the first non—Filipino convert in Sydney.

5-office-australiaMore brethren in other parts of Australia united to form other committee prayer groups, in 1979, the committee prayer group
in Adelaide, South Australia, was established with a few families as initial members. Then, on February 12, 1982, the Church Administration officially approved the establishment of the committee prayer group in Brisbane from which sprung Gold Coast committee prayer group on August 26, 1985. Port Hedland committee prayer was established in 1984, after which came the committee prayer groups of Canberra (February 1986) and Gunnedah (April 1987), and the congregation of Western Sydney (August 1987). Across the Tasman Sea a committee prayer group in Auckland, New Zealand was also established on December 7, 1987.  As the Church reached its 75th anniversary in ]uly 1989, three more committee prayer groups were established in the same year, in Perth and Darwin in Australia, and Wellington in New Zealand. Source: God's Message, May 2004, pp. 36-40

New Zealand

The spreading of the Church, of Christ preached by the messenger of God in these last days, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, started to be felt in this country in the southern hemisphere in the 1980s. Providentially, the Church found root at the city in the center of North Island—Taupo, a commercial center and tourist resort offering panoramic views over the lake and the volcanic moun-
tains and sports such as sky diving, jet boating, paragliding, and bungee jumping. The couple, Brother Nigel and Sister Flordeliza Spice, started the Taupo committee prayer group in May 1982. But for the Church members who work and reside in the region, above their secular concerns, this city has been playing a very significant role in their spiritual life. Since 1982, the Church Administration has been sending ministers to the Taupo Group Worship Service to oversee the members who are composed of Kiwi, European, American, and mainly Filipino migrants and families.

Committee prayer meetings were also established in Waiuru, which was started by Brother Peter and Lydia Perkins and in Dargaville, which was started by Brother Eduardo and Estrella Javier. On November 21, 1985, Brother Dominador Maco arrived in Auckland City. Called the City of Sails, it is by far the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the country and is situated in the northwest of the North Island. Brother Dominador sent his transfer certificate to Brother Nigel in Taupo, for him
to be register5-map-new zealanded and to join the couple for their prayer meetings to continue his duty to worship God. Doing this required him to commute regardless of weather conditions to reach Taupo which is 232 kilometers away from Auckland. After more than two months, Brother Montiner Capiral, together with his family, came in February 1986. The Capirals and Brother Dominador met in May 1986 and decided to conduct their weekly prayer meeting alternately at each other’s residence. At the end of December 1987 they got permission to form a committee prayer group in Auckland. In the years that followed, more brethren immigrated to Auckland and the committee prayer group membership grew in number that they had to look for bigger places from time to time to accommodate them and maintain the orderliness and solemnity of the group's worship services.

From north to south:  Church members, individually or as a family, who will visit or migrate to New Zealand shall find the Church scattered in nine highly developed cities of its two main islands separated by Cook Strait. They can go to any of these cities nearest to them to attend the worship services and continue performing their religious duties they value so much. Currently,
aside from the two local congregations established in Auckland City in the North Island, there are eight groups
worship service. Six in North Island and two in South Island, which is larger.  In the North Island, aside from
the Taupo GWS, five others are strategically scattered—-Whangarei, established on Iune 3, 2009, is found in the coastal
town of Whangarei. Hamilton, established on September 1, 2007, is found in Hamilton.  Te Kuiti that started
to hold its prayer meeting on August 4, 1996 is a 70-minute drive from Hamilton airport and Wellington, established on ]uly 30, 1989 in Wellington City.

In the South Island, which is a high mountainous region, there are two groups worship service established, one at the mideastern region of the island and one at the southern tip. Established in 1996, the Christchurch GWS is found in Christchurch City. And just recently, on May 31, 2010, the Invercargill GWS was established in Invercargill City. All these eight groups are not only being provided with video tapes from the Church's Central Office in the Philippines for their worship services but are also being visited regularly by ministers assigned in New Zealand.
Source: God's Message, February 2011, pp 34-41

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