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CHURCH HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS
2000 – A group of Filipino Born Again Christians including Pastor Noel Marcelo were longing for a Bible believing church. Thus, Inter-denominational Christian Fellowship (ICF) was born. It was an independent church from the beginning with a common need of fellowship and goal to grow in grace and in the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Originally, the mission statement of the church was “Unity in Christ.”
2006 – In September, another ministry was opened in Kita Nagoya which became the first daughter church of ICF. Pastor Alvin Diaz was the church pioneer. Pastor Nino Solito from the main church assisted the work for a year before he was called back to the main church as a fulltime pastor.
2008 - One of the difficult and challenging years for our church. But as Matthew 16:18 says, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” True enough, God’s sustaining grace kept the church to continue to fulfill her mission and progress more. Praise God that the Lord fought our battles for us and we became victorious.
In October 5 of the same year, Pastor Cecilio “Nino” Solito was unanimously chosen by the church Board to be the Lead Pastor and Chairman of the Board. The formal announcement to the church was made on November 2.
2009 - The new leadership paved the way to evaluate its mission, direction and started to craft a constitution and bylaws to safe guard the interest of the church and most of all fulfill its mission. The annual meeting of January echoed the sincerity of the leaders to move for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Thus, the Annual theme for that year was “Strengthening the Foundation of the Church.” The church was therefore “replanted.”
On February 14 of the same year, the idea of church affiliation was tackled by the church Board. The ultimate purpose is to have a higher accountability and broaden the scope of the ministry to maximize the potential growth of the church. In April 11, the affiliation to the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines has been approved by the church board for exploration and enjoined to inform the members for further deliberation. In April 24 the discussion took place with a positive result from the members. From April to September the issue about affiliation has been brought up for clarification and education. Upon securing of more than 25 signatures from the members (which is the requirement from the EFCP) and with satisfied dialogue from the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines; the church had sent its written application and other documents needed in October to the EFCP headquarters in Cebu, Philippines.
2010 – Finally, on May 12 the church has been granted its full credential as the regular member of Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines. In September 19, the certificate of membership was given in the presence of the congregation by the EFCP President, Rev. Prisco Allocod.
This year was one of the best years of the church. We started to have a once a month Japanese worship service for our Japanese loved ones with the help of Evangelical Free Church of Japan, Chubu district. Akane & Kurt Saban, a Japanese volunteer teacher with her American husband started ministering to our church through the kids Sunday School. We started a compassionate ministry to the less fortunate kids in the Philippines. We partnered with World Harvest Fellowship CA to start a church planting in Laguna which we supported for 2 years. Pastor Noel Marcelo was assigned to Kita Nagoya to replace Pastor Alvin who was assigned to the Philippines for the church planting ministry in Laguna.
2011 – The church has approved unanimously our new constitution and bylaws. This was another milestone for the church as it seeks the clear flow of the organization. In the same year the church moves its leadership to eldership. Conrado Gonzales, Gregorio Martinez and Cesar Bacani were appointed elders by the lead pastor upon the affirmation of the church board and later was also affirmed by the congregation. Rev. Jun Sabate installed them during the annual meeting of January 30.
In February 27 the name Inter-Denominational Christian Fellowship has been changed to “Immannuel Christian Fellowship” by virtue of a congregational unanimous vote. We have also defined well our mission statement from “Unity in Christ” to “Knowing Him and Making Him Known.” The changed was highly received and recognized both by the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines and the Evangelical Free Church of Japan, Chubu district.
2012 – In July, Rev. Prisco Allocod of the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines and Rev. Kyoichi Noguchi who is the Chairman of the Evangelical Free Church,Chubu district signed a formal partnership ministry agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to boost cooperation and exploration of possible ministry endeavors. This step solidified our church partnership with the Japanese brethren. It led to opportunities in reaching out our Japanese target people such as the Japanese husbands and Japanese kids.
Its fruition is being reaped now. In fact, presently, we have a once a month Japanese worship service, weekly Japanese Bible studies for young couples, once a month United Japanese Youth service in Oharu and weekly Awana Kids club for our Japanese speaking kids.
2014 – In August 30, another church was planted in Tokai/Chita out of the existing small groups in the area. This was the same year that we have sent our first ever Bible School student to the Philippines.
2016 – In June 5, Oharu outreach was started by Immanuel Kita Nagoya. We had a Discipleship seminar in December and Pastor Bong Saquing was the speaker.
2017 – June 25, Immanuel became officially affiliated with Evangelical Free Church, Chubu District. In July, Ptr Noel Marcelo became a full time worker of Immanuel. In August 12 & 19 a total of 21 people were baptized. We have also welcome several new members upon completing their membership class and signing the membership covenant.
God who multiplies – IMMANUEL: “God with us” is a wonderful reminder that God is always present for his church yesterday, today and forever. From its humble beginnings, the church has multiplied over the years and impacting the community. It is really true that “little is much when God is in it.”
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