MORMONS MARK 50TH YEAR IN THE PHILIPPINES
Thousands of Mormons gathered at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City last Saturday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines.
More than 4,500 members, including children and youth, performed songs and dances that depict the Church's history as well as local history and culture. Traditional songs and lively dances were chosen to depict the cultures unique to the country. The youth started practicing their dance routines as early as two years ago.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our young members to demonstrate their talents and come together to celebrate the founding of the Church in the Philippines,” said Elder Miguel R Valdez, Area Seventy for the church and Chairman of the Jubilee Committee." The chance to celebrate a 50th anniversary doesn't come around too often."
The show took the audience through the colorful history of the Philippines from pre-colonial days to the war years and the present. Intertwined in the script is the beginning and growth of the Church in the country. Historians said that the Philippines was opened to the church's missionary effort on April 28. 1961.
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who later became the world president of the Church, was joined by about 150 servicemen and their families at the American war Memorial in Makati in a special service held for this purpose.
The first four Mormon missionaries arrived in the Philippines in June 1961. Eight Filipinos were baptized that year. Fifty years later, Church membership has grown to over 650,000 with over 1,200 congregations nationwide.
Senior leaders of the Church as well as government and community leaders attended the event. The cultural celebration was also witnessed by thousands of members of the Church throughout the archipelago live via satellite.
PHILIPPINE LDS CELEBRATE 50 YEARS
Thousands of Philippine Latter-day Saints recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being established in thePhilippines.
More than 4,000 members performed traditional songs and lively dances in elaborate costumes at a cultural celebration on Saturday, 30 April 2011. The event depicted the Church’s history as well as the local culture and history. The youth started practicing their dance routines and making their colorful costumes as early as two years ago. Click here to view a short clip of the cultural celebration.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our young members to demonstrate their talents and come together to celebrate the founding of the Church in the Philippines,” said Elder Miguel R. Valdez, Area Seventy for the Church and chairman of the Jubilee Committee.
“The chance to celebrate a 50th anniversary doesn’t come around too often,” Elder Valdez added.
Following the Saturday celebration, members attended a special conference on Sunday, 1 May, connecting leaders of the Church from Salt Lake City with the Philippine Latter-day Saints via satellite.
A special part of the celebration included the attendance of Nenita Reyes Gapiz, one of the first eight members baptized in the Church in 1961. Also, three of the first four missionaries to the Philippines — Harry Murray, Kent Lowe and Raymond Goodson — and their wives attended the weekend activities.
Fifty years later, Church membership has grown to nearly 650,000, with over 1,200 congregations throughout the Philippines. Highlighting the growth of the Church in the Philippines is the number of temples that have been built. For many years, the Philippine Saints traveled to the Manila temple, which was dedicated in 1984. Then in June 2010, the Cebu temple was dedicated, and later, in the October 2010 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced that a new temple would be constructed in the city of Urdaneta on the island of Luzon, approximately 100 miles north of Manila.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir also celebrated the historical event by inviting the Philippine Madrigal Singers to Utah. The group performed during the choir’s weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, 17 April.