Christmas Institute (CI) started in the Philippines in the 1930s. Its purposes were to gather youths for spiritual formation and Christian leadership and to prepare leaders for the church and the world. When Filipinos migrated to the US, they carried the tradition of attending CI during the week after Christmas and before New Year’s Day.
The first CI was started in California and then developed nationwide as more interests grew. As of 2009, there are 7 CIs being held in the United States by different jurisdictions:
1. Northern California (includes Nevada);
2. California Pacific (includes Hawaii);
3. Pacific Northwest (Washington and surrounding states);
4. South Central (Houston, Texas and Dallas/Oklahoma);
6. New Jersey and New York;
7. North Central and South Eastern (Midwest and Southern States, Canada)
Prior to 2004, some churches in Chicago (St. John’s and Cosmopolitan, especially) sent their youths to CIs outside the NCJ area. Rev. Agtarap gathered a conference with some key leaders in Chicago and Iowa to plan for the first CI in the newly created North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ). The first CI sponsored by the NCJ was held in 2004 in Wisconsin with 25 participants. Participation in the NCJ CI has been growing every year and has been held at various places, including: Iowa, Indiana, Chicago, Wisconsin and now Ohio.
For 2009, we have been blessed with over 100 participants. There have been many young people who have entered the ministry after participating at various CIs, such as some of our leaders today: Esguerra, Panlilio, Soyosa, Arellano, Talapian, Fernandez, Lomboy, etc.
There are other known CIs held globally, possibly also in England and the Middle East.
Pastor Nancy Vidad
CI 2009 Daily newsletter