Filipino church buys Belfast landmark building
A Christian Science Church building behind Queen's University, Belfast has been sold to the worldwide Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) which has its headquarters in the Philippines.
A handing-over ceremony took place yesterday in the landmark building.
The church, a listed building, was bought for an estimated £600,000.
The building was placed on the market last year, and generated wide interest among potential buyers, but the bid from the Filipino religious organisation proved successful.
The Iglesia ni Cristo was established in 1914 and has some 27 million members in more than 5,600 congregations worldwide. Its Supervising Minister for Europe, Pepito Y Acuesta, who was present at the handover, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are pleased to be moving into this building which has been well cared for."
He said the church was growing rapidly and added: "We are neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic.
"We are the Church of Christ, and everyone will be made welcome."
The local branch of Iglesia ni Cristo was established in Belfast in 1988/89 with seven people, and the congregation now has several hundred members.
They will move into the new premises from their current east Belfast base as soon as possible.