As part of its aggressive expansion in the United States, the Iglesia ni Cristo is not just establishing numerous chapels, it is also breathing new life into old, abandoned US towns.
INC general auditor Bro. Glicerio Santos Jr. said the INC would be working to “restore, rehabilitate, and reinvigorate the town of Johnsonville, Connecticut” after acquiring the almost 200-year-old town which was abandoned for 20 years.
The first town that the INC acquired was Scenic Town in South Dakota.
“We already have three congregations in Connecticut and we believe that restoring Johnsonville to its former glory is just part and parcel of our responsibility as positive contributors in the state,” Santos said.
Johnsonville is a 62-acre property with a church, meeting house, general store, pond, and covered bridge.
Santos said that as it is, the town is “picture perfect,” but the INC would be doing its best to restore the town as it looked like when it was established in the mid 1800s.
“Johnsonville looks like it was frozen in time. It’s a beautiful, picturesque property, so all our efforts will be focused on restoration. We will also establish our first eco-farming here in the US to create jobs and livelihood in this town,” he said.
Just over a century after the Iglesia Ni Cristo was founded in 1914, the homegrown church has gone global under the leadership of Executive Minister Ka Eduardo Manalo.
Since he took over the reins of the INC in September 2009, at least 79 new chapels have been dedicated abroad, in countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In the United States alone, 45 new chapels have been dedicated during the tenure of Ka Eduardo.
Santos said the Church leadership’s goal is to uplift communities all around the world, “spiritually and physically, in form and in substance.”
“This is all part of the INC’s mission, part of our evangelization efforts. We want to reach out and touch lives. This is evangelization through expansion, fulfilling our mission through a larger and better Church, serving the communities around us whether they are our members or not,” he said.