First Church of Christ

FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST

History at Rizal , Laguna

“ Go therefore and make deciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observed all that I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even at the end of the the age.” (Matt. 28:19,20)

It was summer time when Bros. Buenaventura Garcia, Simon Rivera and Pedro Obico, with American Missionary Hermon P. Williams from Liliw, evangelized in Rizal through the personal guidance of Fortunato Banaag who is unbeliever on that time. The latter and Agustin Monterola was the result of their two week’s preaching.

Bros. Juan Isles, Eustaquio and Celestino Royo were the outcome of the second meeting through the help of Evangelist Sulpicio Trivino on the 4th of May, 1906.

The next year, eight souls were added to the membership of the church that possibly motivated them to organize a local Sunday worship in the house of Bro. Juan Isles, who happened to be the first Church Elder. The 1907 baptisms were Bros. Francisco de Leon, Marciano Arcigal, Santiago Arcigal, Benito Isleta, Luis Reolada , Lazaro Montanano and Melecio Isleta.

The Liliw brethren were untiring in preaching and personal evangelism and twenty souls were harvested on Feb 16,1908. They were Bros. Santos Arban, Marciano Formales, Venencio Formales, Pedro Urtula, Cipriano Perez, Cipriano Carmona, Juana Cora, Gumerciana Suaze, Raymunda Vertudez, Potenciana Formales, Romuldo Oro, Primitibo Perez, Barceliza Perez, Lorenza Rubis, Maria Hernandez, Felomina Pisano, Bibiana Formales, Catalina Isleta, Mauricio Carpena and Salvador Carmona.

Since they now had 29 regular members in the Church, the first Church was organized and officers were chosen by the members led by Bro. Simon Rivera on the 8th of March 1908, as follows.

Juan Isles————————————- Elder/Treasurer

Celestino Royo———————————Deacon

Cipriano Perez ———————————Deacon

Juanan Cora ———————————–Deaconess

Raymunda Vertudez —————————–Deaconess

Fortunato Banaag ——————————-Secretary

Agustin Monterola ——————————Teacher

The first chapel made of wood, bamboo and metal was later transferred by parts on Nov. 1, 1909 to Sister Barcelisa Perez’ lot, which the church had earlier bought for P 100.00.

After the Samahang tagapagpala – ganap ng ebanghelyo, incorporated, was organized, the church to help this organization financially was able to receive a certificate dated April 19, 1925 from that organization.

On August 19, 1925, the church decided to be a member of S.T.E Inc. and its membership was favorably considered by the S.T.E Inc. in a meeting held at Miss Knoffsinger’s residence in Bauan, La Union after the Church separation from Mission Kristiana.

Some members of the church who opposed to S.T.E Inc. suggested that the church reconsiders its decision but the officers of the church that time decided to maintain its membership with S.T.E Inc. As a consequence, and for some unknown reasons, Pedro Urtula, Primitivo Perez, Gumercianda Suaze, Wenceslao Isles, Amacio Robel and others were ex-communicated and named members of the “modernista” church.

Since the opening of Manila Bible Seminary on 1926, the church began to send students to the seminary and the church officers decided to share regular monthly support for the school. This may be the reason why this church has produced the largest enrollment since the Manila Bible Seminary was established. We have listed up to present time., forty students; seventeen graduates and twenty three non graduates.

On the 2nd day of Sept. 1928, the former real property (lot) registered in “ Iglesia Kristiana de Rizal” with tax no. 8275 approved to be transferred to proper name as Unang Iglesia ni Kristo (First Church of Christ, Inc.). This was registered in the Buro de Comercio (Bureau of Commerce) at the time through the efforts of Evangelist Pedro Azada.

The church officers displayed a strong concern for the members upon preserving the true membership and teaching, so termination among members who caused problems was practiced accordingly.

On Nov. 23 1932, Bro Pedro Urtula and his followers met the church officers with Bro. Juan Baronia as mediator. This meeting reunited them to the church and in the succeeding year, Bro Pedro Urtula was again elected as elder by the majority vote of the members.

As the saying goes among old members, one third of the Church life was imparted by our Bible College, the Manila Bible Seminary. Most of the Church Resident Preachers were from that School.

The first solid chapel building was constructed in the summer of 1936 on the same lot where the present congregation is now holding their regular worship services. This Chapel’s location has a significant meaning among members as this the very place where they used to worship God even during the Second World War with bros. Clemente Carpena and Santos Formales serving them.

The preachers who used to visit and serve the brethren on many times were Bros. Buenaventura Garcia, Higino Mayor, Amando Litao, Leoncio Morales, Mateo Noble, Panfilo Pel, Constancio Oliveria, Ronald Hoffman, Dante Dawat, Wendell Formales, Darry Formales, Rolly Paraiso and Eriberto Borlaza.

The biggest Christian gathering that this Church has ever had was when the 59th Annual National Convention of the Churches of Christ was held on May 3-5, 1968.

Beginning in the early seventees, Bro Jose Oro, Being the only available preacher in evangelistic meeting was used by other Laguna local churches, so the brethren realized the needs of having student preachers from Manila Bible Seminary. Through this seminary students, the church started the Faith Promise Program. Bros. Panfilo Pel and Ronald Hoffman held the program for two successive years. The program was abandoned for a time but was revived recently.

The following student preachers who served the brethren in the absence of pulpiter and assistance to elders. Bros. Pacifico Cruz, Artemio de Guzman, Dan Cadacio, Felix dela Cruz, Charlie Bantoc, Isidro Mercado, Moore Narag, Edgar Cacho, Henry Flores, Jessie Lara, Solomon Rosette, Willian Falla. For the years now, the church has been now, the church had been trying to support a fulltime minister and was supporting Evangelist Dante Dawat to San Andre, Romblon.

The church has now a registered membership of 300 in number including the inactive and temporarily transferred members. In comparison with the local churches , this church is not quite as prosperous in material possessions, due to town’s economic development. One of the qualities she had mentained is that she is a Churh which produces workers and holds the largest enrollment in our Bible College, the Manila Bible Seminary.

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