The Church of Christ rapid global expansion
In the early 70s, the overseas mission of the Iglesia ni
Cnsto crossed the Atlantic. The first local
congregation in Europe was established in London,
England in 1972. Across the English Channel in major
cities of Europe began gathering themselves into prayer groups,
which eventually became full-fledged local
congregations the following decade.
In Germany, the Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Bonn
Congregations were organized in 1983, 1984, and 1986, respectively.
In Switzerland, the Geneva Congregation was founded in 1984. By the
end of the 80s local congregations and group worship services could
be found in other northern European countries such as Austria,
Belgium, Denmark.. France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The
prayer groups in Spain and Portugal became full-fledged
congregations in the 90s.
The Church's successful march into southern Europe
was capped by the establishment of the Rome Congregation on July
27,1994, bringing back the true Church of Christ to where the
apostasy began, and of the Athens Congregation in Greece on May 10,
1997, re-launching the Gentile mission that the Apostle Paul
undertook in the first century. The Executive Minister himself was
in those cities to officiate at the inaugural worship services.
The Church has expanded rapidly everywhere in the
Western Hemisphere, circling the globe toward the eastern shore of
the Mediterranean, and thus, turning toward the Middle East
particularly Israel, the cradle of the Christian faith. In the 70s
and 80s; prayer groups and congregations emerged in Jordan, Turkey,
Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
On March 31, 1996, the Executive Minister,
together with 12 ministers, flew to Israel and officiated at the
special worship service held at the La Romme Jerusalem Hotel. During
that momentous event, he declared that, with the founding of the
Jerusalem Congregation, the true Church of Christ had been restored
to its original home.
The evangelical mission of the Church set foot on
the southern shore of the Mediterranean at the close of the 70's. In
October 1978, the first group worship service in northern Africa was
opened in Lagos, the capital city of Nigeria. The following month,
the Church reached the continent's lower tip with
the establishment of the King William's Town Congregation, in South
Africa. The Church Administration has also established
congregations in other countries such as Libya, Chad, Egypt, Kingdom
of Lesotho, and Uganda.
In Australia, local congregations have appeared
since the mid-70s, namely, the Melbourne, Sydney, and Western Sydney
Congregations. Within three decades the number increased to 24
full-fledged focal congregations and group worship services.
In Asia and the Pacific Islands the same picture
of continuous growth was palpable. In China, there are four local congregations, Hong Kong and one each in Macau and Shanghai. The
Church has 32 congregations and prayer groups in Japan's main island
of Honshu, (Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama,
and Iwakuni) and in Okinawa and other major islands and cities.
It also has conducted missions in Brunei since
January 1979 and a congregation has been thriving in Bangkok,
Thailand, since May 1976. Congregations were also established in the
islands of the Pacific namely, Harmon, in Guam (1959); Saipan (1972) and
Ebeye Kwajaiein (1985), in the Mariana Islands; Korot, ^p972) and
Ebeye Kvwjalein Islands (1983); and, Yap State, in the Federated
States of Micronesia ^ (1975).
Back to the Western Hemisphere, the Church
established to first local congregation in Latin America, the
Guantanamo Congregation, in the Caribbean island of Cuba, on August
18,1990. This was followed by the establishment
of the first congregation in Mexico, the Tijuana Congregation, a
Aruba became the second Caribbean island
the Church formed a congregation, in Oranjestad in July 1991 .The
Church of Christ then reached St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles in
1993, Grand Cayman Islands in 1996, Honduras in 1996, and Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil in 1997. From 2000 and beyond,
congregations rose in Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Bahamas, and other countries of Central and
Source: Excerpt from a special report - 27
Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo)
94 years in the Philippines; 40 years of Overseas Mission