Anti-poverty walk claims world record in Philippines

Church of Christ charity walk aims to help poor communities especially in Africa
Anti-poverty walk claims world record in Philippines

Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) are in a jubilant mood during a centennial celebration in Manila in this 2014 file photo. (Photo by George Moya)

Over a million members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, are believed to broken a series of Guinness world records on May 6 in Manila when they held their Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty.

The church, which has over 2.25 million followers in more than 100 countries, has become one of the fastest-growing indigenous Christian churches in the world.

An estimated 1.5 million members in white shirts walked 1.6 kilometers along Manila's coastal Roxas Boulevard to show unity in fighting poverty around the world.

Erwin Briones of the church's information office said proceeds from the event will benefit the poor in selected communities, especially in Africa.

"Poverty is the principal cause of hunger in Africa and elsewhere," read a statement from the church.

The Iglesia ni Cristo said it has recently established an eco-farming project in Ladybrand, South Africa.

Organizers of Sunday's event claimed the activity in Manila broke a new Guinness record for the largest human sentence formed.

India holds the current record, which it set in 2016 when 16,550 people came together to spell the words "You can, you will."

However, the members of the Philippines' church were more numerous (23,935) and managed the longer, "Proud to be a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo."

The activity also aimed to break the following Guinness records: the largest human mosaic, largest charity walk in a single venue, most nationalities in a charity walk, and the largest charity walk to occur in multiple venues.

None of these records have yet been confirmed by Guinness.The Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty started at 6 a.m. and was scheduled to be held simultaneously in more than 300 sites across 18 time zones.

The church maintains nearly 7,000 local congregations and missions in 143 countries and territories. Its members include 133 ethnic groups and nationalities.

This year's walk aimed to beat its own record set in 2014 with a total of 519,221 participants from 129 sites in 16 countries.

Established in 1914, the Iglesia ni Cristo is known to wield huge influence over the government because of its practice of bloc voting.

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