Still Virtual: MCGI Preps for 3rd Quarter International Thanksgiving

In the midst of a lockdown that has prevented large social and religious gatherings, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) continues to gather through its massive use of the Internet. The Third Quarter Special International Thanksgiving will be in virtual mode this coming October 2 to 4, and members will participate in the three-day festivity from their homes.

MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano and Assistant to Overall Servant Bro. Daniel Razon will continue answering the questions of the brethren. Plenty praise songs and dances will be offered during the three days. The event gives a chance to the brethren to thank God for His safekeeping and lovingkindness.

A People Zealous of Good Works

The International Thanksgiving is a highly-awaited event for MCGI. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, all kinds of face-to-face gatherings have been suspended. Despite this, the Church has seen more productive days. MCGI’s event calendar is fully booked with online gatherings and livestream events. Its online broadcast portals have never stopped streaming since.

Advancements in digital and communication technology allowed members all over the globe to gather by virtual means. This development has a biblical basis in the book of Isaiah and was already taught long before to the brethren in the Church: Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. (Isaiah 43:9, KJV)

In addition, the pandemic gave more opportunities for MCGI to continue and upgrade its charitable works, primarily doling out food relief for both members and non-members of the Church, donating face masks and shields to front-liners, and providing virtual medical consultation services via the MCGI 24/7 Digital Clinic.

At home in his living room, a brother attends the Worship Service and listens to Bro. Eli who answers the questions of the members in the congregation.

A Fruitful Quarter

Even with the pandemic going on, the past three months has been vigorous for MCGI, and new event platforms were introduced as well.

Serbisyong Kapatiran (Brotherly Service) premiered on June 29 and continues weekly at 10 pm PHT via its Instagram account @mcgionline. The program gives timely service, guidance, and counsel to members of the Church who are dealing with problems brought about by Covid-19. Serbisyong Kapatiran also features stories of faith from brethren and true-to-life depictions of human experiences that aim to inspire and teach life’s important lessons based on the Bible.

On July 26, the first Teatro Kristiano Online Short Film Festival was held. MCGI’s dance and theatre ministries displayed their film-making skills through short films inspired by biblical themes. In the first week of August, the MCGI Chorale celebrated the 12th anniversary of the non-stop singing of praise and worship songs to God. The 24/7 singing of praises was launched in 2008.

The second online Mass Indoctrination was held from August 3 to August 28. Thousands were baptized in the Church afterwards, which included people of different nationalities.

On August 23, the Unheard Truth from the Bible podcast started streaming via Spreaker. This is the latest addition to the existing programs that Bro. Eli Soriano regularly hosts, both on television and the web. The podcast aims to teach and expose unheard biblical truths that many preachers avoid teaching. The podcast can also be heard via the Unheard Truth app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

MCGI uses web conferencing applications to gather virtually, learn of each other’s condition, and listen to the discussions delivered during assemblies, like this screen grab photo of brethren from New Zealand from last quarter’s International Thanksgiving.

Some brethren shared their various thoughts on celebrating another thanksgiving while getting accustomed to the new normal. They also told what they missed the most and gave their reasons why they are grateful to the Almighty.

Irmão Leo Santos of Cuiabá, Brazil said that one of the advantages of the thanksgiving being held online is that the brethren can better prepare, in addition to having family members who are not members of the Church also witness the event. “It is easier for all brethren to attend through online services,” he added.

Sister Ann Reyes of Batangas City, Philippines said she misses the “live Thanksgiving in Apalit, Pampanga, Brother Daniel walking on stage, brethren all over the gathering area, face-to-face meetings, and group dinners.”

“I miss the face-to-face encounter with the brethren as this transmits positive energy. I miss talking to them in person, hearing their voices, sitting and spending hours talking about topics shared during services, clapping, and shouting. I feel joy seeing the brethren smile and also being with them worshiping God,” Irma Antonia Rosangela de Araujo of São Paulo, Brazil remarked.

Brother Glenn Guimeroy of Bataan, Philippines gives thanks to God for the life and strength He gives. “No matter the many hardships and evils that happen in our time, we remain alive and strong until today.”

“I thank God for keeping my whole family safe and healthy, Sister Sweet Bautista of Tarlac, Philippines said. She is also grateful for the wisdom the congregation has been learning through Brother Eli and Brother Daniel. “The consoling words from the Bible helps us a lot to remain steadfast in times of trials,” she added.

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MCGI’s Second Quarter Highlights: In Retrospect

The onslaught of Covid-19 has affected human activity, not just on the individual aspect but on a global scale. The pandemic, however, did not prevent the Members Church of God International (MCGI) from spreading the word of hope through modern technology and digital communication platforms.

While adapting the new normal, MCGI remains dutiful and thankful, celebrating another quarter full of notable milestones and achievements.

One in Spirit

Under the stay-at-home government mandates, mass gatherings in most parts of the globe were strictly banned. This prompted MCGI to widen and intensify the use of communication technology in its gatherings and activities, in observance with the doctrine written in Hebrews 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Through massive online streaming, MCGI Overall Servants Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon have adapted a caucus type of gatherings to allow the brethren and their guests to listen to biblical teachings at the comfort of their homes.

The caucus allowed the brethren to ask Bro. Eli questions about misunderstood verses of the Bible.  This new format is being followed in all weekly Prayer Meeting, Worship Service, and Thanksgiving gatherings.

Daily Worldwide Bible Expositions and Bible Studies were also made possible online, as people participated though their computers and mobile devices without having to leave their houses. During the livestreams, online viewers who were tuned in via Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram would usually reach a daily average of 80 thousand. This excludes those who are attending via the Zoom application and live satellite feed.

MCGI continues to conduct religious services through video streaming platforms.

Second Quarter Firsts

Days after the brethren convened for the first quarter Special Thanksgiving of God’s People, MCGI celebrated the Lord’s Supper on April 7. It was during this event that Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel first used the more interactive method of teaching the congregation.  This gave them the opportunity to ask the brethren if they understood, or, if they have questions about the biblical topics that were tackled. 

With newfound biblical wisdom and after back-to-back online conventions, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel sang songs of thanksgiving that same evening in celebration of Bro. Eli’s 56th Sabbath Anniversary.  

June opened with the first ever month-long online Live Mass Indoctrination. Before the lockdown, the Mass Indoctrination was exclusively held in MCGI locales and coordinating centers and people had to be physically present throughout the sessions. The online format provided a greater opportunity for more individuals to study the Christian doctrines, which are being observed by all the brethren in the Church of God International, by tuning in to the livestream via Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Following this event, MCGI reached another feat by welcoming a record-breaking number of new members of the Church during one simultaneous Mass Baptism on June 27, 2020, a week before it held its three-day International Thanksgiving for the second quarter.

Notes of Thanksgiving

Members of the MCGI Symphony Orchestra, like these two strings players, are on ‘play-at-home’ during gatherings. Religious assemblies are still restricted in many places in the world due to Covid-19.

The Music Ministry and Teatro Kristiano (MMTK) members have come up with creative ways in fulfilling their duties. They have been able to pull off special presentations every week for brethren to see and enjoy.

To aid the MMTK in delivering their presentations, the MCGI Symphony Orchestra was introduced. In February, Bro. Daniel invited the brethren who can play musical instruments to form a 100-piece orchestra. But due to the halt in mass functions, the orchestra was not launched on its original date.

What was supposed to be a 100-piece orchestra turned out to be an orchestra with more than 200 musicians. The group now regularly plays during Church events, relying heavily on video recorded performances done at home which are edited to create a synchronized effect.

Prayers for Humanity 

MCGI launched the Global Prayer for Humanity to encourage people from all walks of life and varied religions to call upon God during this difficult time. The global prayer happens simultaneously in different time zones and is translated into several languages.

Coinciding with this is the launch of MCGI’s multilingual 24/7 Community Prayer service for people who wish to engage in prayer on an hourly basis or during their preferred time.

For His many blessings, MCGI continuously gives thanks to God for all the opportunities to do good works despite the troubles that the world is going through.

The Shows Will Go On: MCGI Teatro Kristiano to Produce Christian Drama on TV

After youth members of the Teatro Kristiano, the theatre and dance group of the Members of the Church of God International (MCGI), defied pandemic difficulties to produce short films online, their efforts will soon show on television as well.

The premiere of a drama series depicting lessons from the Bible is slated this year. 

The announcement came from Bro. Daniel Razon, Bro. Eli Soriano’s Assistant Overall Servant in MCGI, who was delighted with the results of  participants of the group’s first online film festival that culminated on July 26th. 

The veteran broadcaster said that the group will produce Christian drama to be aired on the Philippines’ public service channel UNTV, of which he is the CEO. 

“One of the things that we can go along with is that thinking of people who are focused on social media, who are concentrated on watching telenovelas and Korean dramas and other things by offering what they want but from a different angle, from a different perspective,” Bro. Daniel shared in his remarks during the event’s big day.

Bro. Daniel also emphasized valuing one’s duty in the church. “Use your youth to serve God,” Bro. Daniel said. 

Breaking the Ice of Boredom and More

With the theme “Breaking the Ice of Boredom,” Teatro Kristiano members representing their respective regional divisions were tasked to come up with a unique ten-minute digital film without leaving their homes and following health protocols by all means.

Since the beginning of May, members had been coming up with creative ways on how to translate their ideas onto film. The festival received a total of 31 entries. Preliminaries were held on July 12, and the finalists’ films were shown on YouTube on July 26th, coinciding with the awarding ceremony of the event. 

The intent of the festival is to engage its members to express their creativity, exercise brotherly kindness and collaboration, and more importantly, strengthen their faith during the pandemic. However, due accolades were also given to those whose entries shone more brightly than the rest.

Now Showing: Biblical Lessons

The film “Positive” from the North Eastern Mindanao TK members bagged the Best Short Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Teaser awards.

It shows the cautionary tale of a young man who let his boredom at home get the best of him to disobey quarantine policies by the government and do a number of outdoor activities instead. Later on, he showed symptoms of Covid-19, the coronavirus disease.

Though the test result was revealed to be negative in the end, the ordeal of facing the consequences of his actions helped him realize that there are far more things to do to overcome boredom, such as doing one’s duties in the Church, most especially. 

Tagging along as the event’s second placer was “The Call of Duty” whose title spins off from a popular video game. The film from the North America division displays the life of a teenage man who is indulged in playing video games instead of doing his duty as a son and an older brother. But after a turn of events, he later realizes that it’s better to spend his youth with the people and things that truly matter more. 

“Sonder” from the Central Apalit division, which came in third place, demonstrates how this pandemic isn’t all negative, but can lead to valuable realizations in life. 

Apart from the major awards, the event also handed out props to the participants by awarding Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and more.

Bro. Daniel speaks to Teatro Kristiano members about their upcoming project, while stressing the importance of having God in one’s life.

With God’s help and mercy, it was a successful online event from youths who showcased their God-given talents and demonstrated creativity amidst difficulty.

Despite the pandemic, the Teatro Kristiano continuously fulfill their duties by dancing to songs of praise during church services conducted via the internet and satellite. 

The Teatro Kristiano is one of MCGI’s biggest youth groups aimed at praising and worshipping God through the arts of dance and drama. 

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.  

(Psalms 149:3, KJV)

Now Playing: Unheard Biblical Truths in Bro. Eli Soriano’s New Podcast

“God wants us to learn exactly the truth that is in the Scriptures.” This is a statement that the Members Church of God International (MCGI) Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano often emphasizes when talking about propagating biblical wisdom to all.

To further share the Gospel to as many people as possible, Bro. Eli, together with up-and-coming podcaster Uly Villamin, launched a podcast series called “The Unheard Truth from the Bible” on August 23, 2020 via its website

The podcast series is also available on its mobile app of the same name, which reached the number 1 and number 4 spots in the Apple Podcasts Charts in the Philippines and Canada, respectively. The app is free on both the Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store

The brand-new religious podcast promises to be unlike the typical sermon-type podcasts found in podcast streaming services today and will be taking after MCGI’s Bible Exposition format. It aims to satisfy biblical doubts and satiate questions of faith sent via chat or phoned in live by its audience. 

From radio, to television, and now, social media, Bro. Eli has been holding live question-and-answer Bible Exposition events and Bible Studies for almost four decades now.

With the help of God, the no-nonsense televangelist continuously finds new platforms to spread God’s truth to the masses even more. And the podcast series aims to bring biblical truths through an online audio show that listeners can tune in live or download past episodes and play on demand.

“Every person is entitled to God’s salvation. But they are being deprived of this chance by pastors, teachers, and preachers of religions.”

“The very will of God is that all men must be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), but they are deprived of their salvation because they are deprived of the truth. They were taught lies, misconceptions, delusions — this is true in almost all religious groups in our time,” explains Bro. Eli during the series’ debut episode. 

Bro. Eli also shared that the act of believing requires prudence, citing 1 John 4:1.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(1 John 4:1, KJV)