ANOTHER Guinness world record fell after Filipino homegrown church Iglesia Ni Cristo baptized 18,272 people during its “Grand Baptism” event at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan last Saturday, September 7.
The activity coincided with the 10th year of Eduardo V. Manalo as INC Executive Minister.
“We bore witness to a solemn and historic gathering. More than the attainment of the new world record, however, we are thankful that the INC is continuing to grow and its message of peace and salvation is reaching more new adherents in the Philippines and abroad,” INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr. said.
The INC official noted that the baptismal ceremony included 94 foreigners, 57 of whom were former leaders from other religious denominations.
Guinness adjudicator Joanne Marie Brent, who was present together with two other Guinness observers, officially announced the record after a thorough count and audit of all the attendees.
Among the local independent and non-INC witnesses invited to grace the event were Manila 6th District Congressman and House of Representatives Minority Leader Bienvenido “Benny” Abante, Jr. as well as a delegation from the Jesus is Lord Movement, which is headed by pastor and incumbent CIBAC partylist representative Eddie Villanueva.
Abante, himself a senior pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Ekklesia, another religious organization, expressed support for the continuing evangelization efforts of the INC.
“I am proud that there is an indigenous Filipino religious organization that believes in nationalism and patriotism. INC is such an organization that promotes love of country and love for God and it is an honor to be a part of this momentous occasion,” Abante stressed.
To achieve the record-breaking mass baptism, 36 makeshift pools needed to be set up to accommodate the participants.
Santos, Jr. explained that “The Grand Baptism was a massive logistical undertaking but it was all worth it. Our main objective is to continue the programs and initiatives of our Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo. He has set the direction for us to be more active in engaging and helping people and showing them that the INC could be a positive influence in their lives.”
With the new world record, the INC now has a total of 25 such feats listed in the Guinness tallies.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo also holds the world records for the largest charity walk done within 24 hours in multiple venues, the largest charity walk in a single venue, the most number of hunger relief packages distributed in eight hours in a single venue, the largest mixed-use indoor theater for the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena;
The largest gospel choir during a worship service, three Guinness records relating to 2016’s award-winning biopic “Felix Manalo”, as well as three Guinness records for the 2016 New Year’s celebration likewise held at the Philippine Arena.