Growth amid pandemic: Iglesia Ni Cristo dedicates 176 houses of worship worldwide despite COVID crisis

The Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ continues to dedicate houses of worship even during the COVID-19 crisis.

In fact, since the pandemic began in March 2020, 176 houses of worship have been completed — including those which were acquired then renovated — and dedicated to God by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) under the stewardship of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.

Based on INC official records, 165 of these houses or buildings of worship that were completed during the pandemic were in the Philippines, and 11 were outside the country.

This data was from March 2020 to October 31, 2021, or in just a span of a year and seven months.

The INC houses of worship abroad that have been dedicated to God since March 2020 were in these areas: Brisbane in Australia East; Saskatoon in Manitoba, Canada; Carlingford in Australia East; El Cajon in Southeast California, United States; Mafeteng in Southern Africa; Markham in Greater Toronto, Canada; Surrey in British Columbia, Canada; Hinton in Edmonton, Canada; San Francisco in Northwest California, US; Scarborough in Greater Toronto, Canada; and Memphis in Texas, US.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo house of worship in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada (Courtesy INC Public Information Office.)
The Iglesia Ni Cristo house of worship in Hinton in Alberta, Canada (Courtesy INC Public Information Office)

Ten of these houses of worship were renovated for INC worship services after the structures were purchased from other churches which had previously put these properties up for sale.

On the other hand, the INC house of worship in Mafeteng in Southern Africa was built from the ground up.
In the Philippines, most of the 165 houses of worship were constructed from the ground up.

Eleven houses of worship – 10 in the Philippines and one abroad – were dedicated to God in a special worship service officiated by INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo on Saturday, Oct. 23.

The 11 houses of worship that were dedicated to God that day were in the following areas:
Baruyen, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Papaya, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija
Buayan, Cotabato North
Bumbungan, Rizal East
Kitabog, Zamboanga City
Luop, Zamboanga del Norte
Mahayag, Zamboanga del Norte
Matti, Davao del Sur
Makawa, Misamis Occidental
New Panay, Maguindanao
Memphis, Tennessee, Texas

Screenshot of INC News and Updates Facebook page/Courtesy INC News and Updates/INC Executive News
Screenshot of INC News and Updates Facebook page/Courtesy INC News and Updates/INC Executive News

Even before the pandemic, the INC or Church Of Christ have also been dedicating houses or places of worship not only in the Philippines, but all over the world as well.

-Various churches closing in the US, says survey-
In the US, an article from the Religion News Service cited a study from Lifeway Research that in 2019, more Protestant churches closed than opened “continuing a decades-long congregational slide that is only expected to accelerate.”

“The study, which analyzed church data from 34 Protestant denominations and groups, found that 4,500 churches closed in 2019, while about 3,000 new congregations were started. The 34 Protestant denominations account for about 60% of U.S.-based Protestant denominations,” the RNS article said.

Quoting Scott McConnel, executive director of Lifeway Research, it said, “Even before the pandemic, the pace of opening new congregations was not even providing enough replacements for those that closed their doors.”

A recent article by also cited how more churches are closing in the United States amid the pandemic.

It said that “the next few years could see as many as 100,000 of the nation’s estimated 384,000 churches and other houses of worship close, too often deteriorating into neighborhood eyesores.”

Estimates from the Center for Analytics, Research, and Data, sponsored by the United Church of Christ, said that in the past decade, between 3,850 and 7,700 houses of worship have been closing per year in the United States, or 75 to 150 congregations per week, according to an article published in the ICMA website.

ICMA, International City/County Management Association, is the world’s leading association of professional city and county managers and other employees who serve local governments.

“Sad, vacant, derelict houses of worship at the hearts of our cities and towns will become more frequent sights as more of them shutter their doors,” a recent article by said. (

-INC construction and renovation work continues-

The Iglesia Ni Cristo, on the other hand, is not hampered by the pandemic as it continued not only to build houses of worship but to renovate and further beautify its worship buildings all over the world.

For one of the houses of worship recently dedicated to God in Surrey, British Columbia for instance, over $1.3 million worth of renovations went into beautifying the property, all through the voluntary contributions of INC members.

The church building, formerly owned by the Surrey Pentecostal Assembly, was purchased for approximately $2,300,000.00 in October 2002 by the INC through voluntary contributions from its members.

Via live video streaming from the Philippines, INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo led a special worship gathering on July 24 to mark the 107th Anniversary of the INC, which emerged in the Philippines on July 27, 1914.

The gathering also served to simultaneously dedicate several houses of worship in different parts of the world including, including the newly renovated chapel in Surrey.

On July 27, the number of houses or places of worship that have been dedicated since the pandemic was at 143. As of Oct. 31, this number jumped to 176.

For the INC, the building, construction, renovation and dedication of more houses of worship for the Church’s growing membership will continue as this is pleasing to God. (

The Iglesia Ni Cristo was first registered in the Philippines on July 27, 1914 by its first Executive Minister, Brother Felix Y. Manalo. After 107 years, it has spread to 159 countries and territories with its members belonging to 148 nationalities and races.

(Eagle News Service with a report from INC Public Information Office)