When people think of the Silicon Valley, what comes to mind is the principle that life can somehow be perfected through innovation and technology; that mission seems to trump seeking religious purpose. The Silicon Valley is one of the least religious parts of the country, 30 percent below the national average, with less than five percent of residents attending church services on Sundays.
Yet the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), with nearly 40 growing local congregations throughout Northern California, remains to go against this trend. In fact, a newly renovated house of worship in Mountain View, just a few blocks away from tech giant companies, opened its doors this past Sunday.
The 215-capacity edifice on 1880 California Street was purchased for about $2 million from the Calvary Church of Mountain View in 2009. For years, Church Of Christ members rented space in nearby community halls to worship twice a week, and before then travelled to other INC congregations throughout the region.
This past Sunday, INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, who just came from visitations in Brazil and Russia, dedicated this Mountain View house of worship.
Thousands of churches globally are closing daily due to decline in membership, economic instability and people’s growing indifference with religion. But in 2016 alone, the INC dedicated 350 houses of worship worldwide – of which were in the US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the Philippines. Voluntary contributions from members all over the world allow for the building and renovation of INC edifices.
The Mountain View local congregation is one of six other growing INC congregations in the Silicon Valley, namely in San Jose, Redwood City, Milpitas, Fremont and Hayward.
“The INC arrived in San Francisco in 1968 and since then, has seen steady growth worldwide, including here in Northern California. One of the main factors has been the youth. Many churches are losing their young people, but the INC continues to have programs for families, kids and young adults that keep them close to God and tight knit in the Church community,” said Robert Pellien, a minister of the Gospel who joined the INC in the 1970s.
Worship buildings have historically been the fabric that threads a community together. And although many in the Silicon Valley may be focused on entrepreneurship and financial success, this additional INC house of worship in Mountain View will hopefully lead people to a true connection to God. It’s the kind of lasting connection that the most innovative technology cannot provide.
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of a multi-billion dollar IT company in the Valley noted that, “This area with all its wonderful things, still experiences brokenness.”
“We hope that this new house of worship will welcome more residents of the area, providing a community establishment they can also call their own, to hear the words of God and simply find something more meaningful in this fast-paced and competitive hi-tech environment, ” said Pete Dela Cruz, an INC Northern California District Minister.
INC missions in Latin America, Europe and most especially Africa have also increased, including growth in the intensified programs to combat poverty and assist struggling communities internationally – a result of the increased availability of houses of worship and membership inside the INC.
122 additional chapels are currently under construction or renovation in 2017. The Church’s unprecedented growth under the leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo is expected to continue in 2017 with the support of its membership worldwide.
(Source: Christian Newswire)