The Members Church of God International (MCGI) holds once again its first quarter International Thanksgiving this April 2-4 through virtual platforms. This joyous occasion is a time to offer heartfelt songs, dances, and praises to the Almighty for His abundant blessings to the congregation.
It is the duty of a Christian to always give thanks to God in all things, no matter the circumstance, as taught by St. Paul to the church in Thessalonica 2,000 years ago.
Despite tribulations and anxieties, members of the Church remain happy because of the hope, peace, and comfort that the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit give.
Through the topics shared in every assembly, the brethren are edified in their faith and are reminded to continue serving God with sincere gladness. This is why there is always excitement over topics that MCGI Servant Kuya Daniel Razon discusses to the congregation.
These and more are reasons why MCGI is grateful and celebrates thanksgiving by all means possible.
Even on lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic, MCGI has found ways on how to offer thanks to God and hold church events using various online modalities.
Members of the Teatro Kristiano perform a Christian dance at home, along with their peers around the world who are connected online.
Gatherings are held weekly via web conferencing applications. Similar Church-related events and evangelization activities make use of familiar live streaming and social media platforms, also on a regular basis.
For the past three months, MCGI has engaged in numerous virtual activities, as well as in-person events that observed the strictest health protocols to curb the spread of covid-19.
Several groundbreaking events have taken place since the fourth quarter International Thanksgiving in 2020.
The festival, “Songs of Hope: Inspired by music in the time of the pandemic,” featured 26 new songs performed by choral groups around the world. The aim of the festival is to inspire people and remind them to remain hopeful and steadfast in faith in these trying times, through heartwarming and uplifting lyrics and melodies. The songs can be accessed via the MCGI Music Channel’s playlist section.
Female choristers take part in a worldwide congregational singing of praise songs whilst on lockdown, made possible with live streaming technology.
The second week of February was met with mourning and grief for the passing of MCGI’s beloved Servant, Bro. Eli Soriano. The announcement was made via the Church’s official website and social media platforms on February 11.
With the help of God, the heavyhearted brethren were immediately consoled by a comforting topic shared by Bro. Daniel Razon on February 13, the first thanksgiving celebration without the physical presence of Bro. Eli.
Speaking to a grieving congregation, Bro. Daniel gave these encouraging words: “From this day on, altogether in unity, we will work for our salvation. We will do the work of our salvation and the salvation of our fellowmen who must be preached also of the Gospel, so that the will of God to save all men will be fulfilled. This is our campaign.”
On February 22, the first online Mass Indoctrination of the quarter took place. Through the recorded videos of Bro. Eli Soriano delivering the topics, people were still able to hear the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ which are being observed in the Church. During this particular online mass indoctrination, the number of live viewers across all new media platforms rose to an all-time high.
MCGI follows strict procedures to ensure health and safety during baptism. Baptizers undergo testing and wear PPE during the ceremony. Candidates, like the one pictured above, wear a surgical mask. The water wherein they are immersed has been sanitized.
With God’s grace, more than 9,000 souls were added to the fold after accepting the holy baptism in March. MCGI broke its own record of over 6,000 made in 2020.
March saw the launching of global firsts for MCGI. One is the MCGI Free Store which opened more than 600 branches around the globe. The event, which took place on March 14, is an ongoing campaign of the Church to provide relief to people who are still hurting from the economic effects of the pandemic.
The program’s beneficiaries were mostly the poor and those who had lost their jobs because of the pandemic. The Free Store offers mostly basic necessities, like grocery and wet market items, clothes, beddings, kitchenware, health supplements, and other vital supplies. Shoppers were given vouchers with points which they exchanged for goods. They were given the liberty to choose the items they needed.
All items in the Free Store, as its name implies, are free. Shoppers were also treated to free snacks while inside the store. As the launching was an in-person event, strict protocols for health and safety were put in place. Store attendants and shoppers had to undergo thermal scanning and disinfection. They were also required to wear masks and face shields throughout their stay. Social distancing was imposed.
A shopper in wooden crutches takes her time to select items from a shelf in one of the MCGI Free Store branches in the Philippines. The MCGI Free Store was a breather for individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet to put food on their table.
Barely two weeks after the launching of the MCGI Free Store, another charitable event took place on March 25, which was the MCGI Feeding Program. The global effort took inspiration from the feeding program Bro. Eli conducted several years ago in Baseco Compound in Manila.
Warm and hearty packed meals were given to indigent families, street dwellers, stranded passengers, jobless workers, and frontliners.
By performing these good works and acts of kindness, the congregation is able to fulfill the will of God written in Galatians 6:10, which says: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
The MCGI Feeding Program has its roots from the feeding program that Bro. Eli led for the benefit of malnourished children living in the slums of Manila. The global launch of the feeding program extended the feeding program to individuals and families who were hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.
Two annual events of spiritual significance were also held: the celebration of the Christian New Year on March 13 (1st of Nisan 5781) and the Lord’s Supper which was commemorated on March 26 (13th of Nisan). The two gatherings, both held online, were based on the biblical narratives in Exodus and the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Topics were also delivered by Bro. Daniel Razon.
Social media milestones were also reached. YouTube channels Brother Eli Channel, The Old Path, and its Portuguese counterpart O Caminho Antigo, hit the 100,000-mark in the number of their subscribers.
A few days after the first quarter International Thanksgiving, MCGI will hold a week-long charity event, “The Legacy Continues” from April 4 to 10. This will serve as a way of remembering and perpetuating the good works that Bro Eli Soriano had started, all of which are parts of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For more updates and mechanics about this event, visit the official page of the Members Church of God International on Facebook.