Thousands upon thousands of congregants from all-over the globe will flock to the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, a town in Pampanga, Philippines for a three-day thanksgiving service set this December 24 to 26.
These are members of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI) who hold their international thanksgiving four times a year.
Modest estimates project a 100,000 attendance from Luzon alone. Delegates from nearby to distant regions are expected to pour in, especially that many have started their holiday vacation. As early as last week, representatives from Visayas and Mindanao begun ferrying to Luzon, north of the country. Similar scenarios were observed in airport arrival terminals where vacationers, tourists, and “balikbayans”, including MCGI congregants piled up.
The Convention Center’s camp area has now been mounted with tents ready for the three-day affair. Even with the number expected, the Convention Center’s Administration has ensured enough supply of beddings and encampment materials for the members, including guests who will be attending. Also, medical and food supplies have been readied for the event. Security has been tightened for everybody’s welfare.
As observed by many, this quarter’s thanksgiving will be “a sure blockbuster and an event of special significance.”
As is the usual practice, participants who are unable to travel will convene at big coordinating centers situated in the central area of their region or locality. Through satellite and Internet facilities, congregants from remote points will receive live streaming feed. Congregants from these areas can also interact with Bro. Eli Soriano, the Presiding Minister to the MCGI who is now extending Gospel propagation in the West.
Just recently, Bro. Eli added consultations in the program of the regular Thanksgiving services. Church members and visitors may no longer have to wait for International Quarterly Thanksgiving to personnally ask Bro. Eli questions and issues about faith and other matters.
As his thanksgiving treat, Bro. Eli promised to deliver six different topics which he believes will not only be unique and interesting, but will also intensify the Congregation’s faith in the doctrines and teachings of the Church.
MCGI is the only religious organization that holds frequent thanksgivings, averaging 48 regular Saturdays plus 4 special Saturdays which are included in the quarterly thanksgivings, totalling 52 consistent Saturdays the whole year round. The number of participants in these thanksgiving ceremonies consistently increase, following the influx of people who are baptized and accepted in the Church every week.
Thanksgivings are usually whole-day affairs highlighting the offering of praises and the delivering of the day’s topic prepared and discussed by Bros. Eli Soriano and Daniel Razon. The quarterly thanksgiving follows the same format, but extended to three days.
For more information on thanksgiving, visit the Church’s official website.
(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)