By Paul Jacob Erese and Love Ann Sison
EBC UK Bureau, Eagle News Service
(Eagle News) — As winter season approaches, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ in Birmingham, United Kingdom and Belfast, Northern Ireland put faith into action by donating over 4,000 winter clothing and over 3,000 care packages to local communities and charities. The event is one of many, simultaneously held with other INC congregations all over the world, coinciding with the birthday of the INC Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, on October 31, 2021.
Preparations for this event took place several weeks prior to the event. Sorting hubs were established in Battersea, Stratford, Newport, Manchester and Belfast. Donations from INC members were sorted and bagged up by volunteers in each hub and were later brought to Birmingham and Belfast for the open-door charity event.
In Belfast, Clare Hanna, Member of the Parliament for Belfast South, witnessed the INC community outreach event that gave out donations to guests, including residents of different backgrounds and nationalities, various local charities and delegates from the local communities
“It’s been a really, really nice event. It’s giving everybody—those who are in need. It’s giving them their dignity, and a service and materials that are appropriate to them,” Hanna said.
She said that all the guests were very warmly welcomed, and that this was “really encouraging and really good to see.”
The recipients expressed their gratitude and happiness for this charitable event conducted by the INC.
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, noted the feeling of warmth and happiness that they experienced.
“There’s such a buzz, such happiness at this event today. When I go through the door—(you see) the sheer volume of coats, hats and scarves—but more than anything, the happiness. It was absolutely oozing, it was all around me, it was very much like a comfort blanket,” she said.
“You’re giving a hand to those vulnerable in our community, for those who haven’t got a lot. That’s what I would take away, and the love that you shared,” she added.
A representative from Black Country Food Bank, Andy Hill, also thanked the INC for the food donations and other items they received, saying that the Church event was “clearly very kind, very welcoming.”
“We shouldn’t need foodbanks in this day and age, but we do. I think it’s tremendous that we can team up with you (INC),” he said. “Thanks to you all from everyone at the Foodbank”
Councillor Rizwan Jalil of Oldbury ward said he was “so amazed” that many people came to help out in the event.
“On a Sunday morning, so many people have actually come out of their bed especially with the rain this morning. I just cannot believe that people have actually taken out their valuable time to come here today. This is something that I’m gonna take back to the community, and let the people know what the Church Of Christ is doing for the community, he said.”
The residents in Birmingham also noted how this INC event had a powerful impact on them.
“The way you (INC) welcomed us, it was so powerful. It’s just touching our hearts. It showed the humanity. Everyone is happy in this place. Through giving, you just touched people’s hearts and you bring them closer to God and we are able to listen. It’s touching really…I experienced God’s love today,” said local residents Lindy and Philomina.
(Eagle News Service)