El Shaddai (movement)
El Shaddai (Hebrew for God Almighty, which is one of the names of God) is the biggest Catholic Charismatic Renewal group in the Philippines. It is currently headed by Brother Mike Velarde, its Servant Leader and founder. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro Bacani of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines serves as its Spiritual Director.
Inspired by his recovery from a heart ailment in 1978, Mike Verlarde started a weekly Bible-quoting radio show on DWXI, a station he acquired in 1982 as part of a real estate deal. Listeners, he says, began reporting that his voice had cured their afflictions. In 1984, Velarde christened his show "El Shaddai," a biblical name for God that he found in an American religious pamphlet.
Velarde then held monthly prayer rallies outside the vicinity of the radio station. As the number of attendees kept growing, he made the rallies weekly until the crowd could no longer be accommodated by the area. The rallies were then moved to various locations such as a football stadium and then transferring several times to the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila; the open grounds outside the Philippine International Convention Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City near Manila Bay; and finally in Amvel Business Park, San Dionisio, Parañaque (a site owned by the family) in order to accommodate the movement's followers.
El Shaddai Movement has grown rapidly in the last decade and, as of 2005, had a reported 8 million members worldwide.
In 2001, Velarde and Jesus is Lord Church leader Eddie Villanueva engaged in a legal battle over control of the Christian television station Quality Television (Channel 11). Villanueva has the franchise and the authority to operate the facility, but Velarde, using political connections, was able to import transmission equipment, the value of which he claims to have converted into equity in the station. Congress intervened and awarded Villanueva the right the acquire the frequency, with him paying Velarde for the stock and assets held by Delta Broadcasting System (DBS).
On August 20, 2009, El Shaddai inaugurated a ₱1 billion (approx. US$21 million at the time) House of Prayer on a ten hectare site in Amvel City, Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque, Metro Manila. The cost does not include the land, which will be paid for over 20 years. The building is 10,000 square meters and seats 16,000 with standing room for another 25,000, with space on the site for an overflow of the crowd. The building was inaugurated by President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Velarde's 70th birthday.
Some believe that El Shaddai plays a major role in Philippine politics. They assert that former President Fidel V. Ramos won the 1992 general election because of the movement's votes, although this has never been corroborated with an actual tally of votes correlated with El Shaddai membership rosters. Some counter this claim as well by stating that El Shaddai members vote independently.
During the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in late 2000, Velarde rejected the call of then-Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin to join a prayer rally urging Estrada to resign. Velarde said that El Shaddai members were free to join the rally of their own volition and reiterated that the movement was neither for nor against Estrada's resignation.
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The movement has chapters worldwide:
- Katharine L. Wiegele (2007). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines. Ateneo de Manila University Press.
- Allan Anderson (2004). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. Cambridge University Press. p. 155.
- "Pacman deep into Bible study." Filipino Reporter 23 Mar. 2012: 21. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.
- Niña Catherine Calleja (August 20, 2009). "P1-B church of El Shaddai opens Thursday". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Philippines: International Religious Freedom Report. U.S. Department of State (2005).
- "El Shaddai P1-B church opens today". CBCP News.[better source needed]
- "Velarde opens El Shaddai church". The Philippine Daily Inquirer.[dead link]
- Velarde: Arroyo open to joint rule with foes (archived from the original on 2007-03-11).
- Wiegele, Katharine L. (2005). Investing in miracles: El Shaddai and the transformation of popular Catholicism in the Philippines. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2861-5.