Bell Church

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Bell Church
钟教
FormationAugust 4, 1960; 59 years ago (1960-08-04)
FounderNg Pee with other members
Founded atLa Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines
PurposeChinese cultural and spiritual organization
HeadquartersLa Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines
Spiritual Leader and Head Administrator
Elias Ng
Formerly called
Chinese Buddhist Temple

The Bell Church (Chinese: 钟教; Zhongjiao, transl. Bell Religion[1]) is a Chinese Filipino indigenous religious[2] organization based in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. It is led Elias Ng, the Spiritual Leader and Head Administrator of the Bell Church.

History[edit]

The Bell Church was founded on August 4, 1960 in Benguet[3] by a Chinese immigrants from Canton, China (now Guangzhou)[4] led by Ng Pee.[5] They were devotees of the Buddhist monk Ji Gong.[1]

In 1954, he first preached in a dining hall of a restaurant but eventually transferred the place of worship to his residence along the Kilometer 6 mark in La Trinidad, Benguet due to increasing number of devotees. Then known as the "Chinese Buddhist Temple", the temple's membership is composed of primarily ethnic Chinese farmers. Membership continued to grow that the temple had to moved again to its present site along the Kilometer 3 mark in the 1960s and has since then became known as the "Bell Church". With support from the local Chinese community, the house in the current site was converted to a temple.[5]

Belief[edit]

The Bell Church considers itself as a religion with ecumenical and interfaith in orientation.[3]

Patron saints[edit]

The Bell Church has five patron saints which represents the religions of Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Confucianism. Its members pray to these saints. According to the group the patron saints are an acknowledgement that the Bell Church temples are open to prayers made by anyone.[6] These faiths are major religions in China.[3]

Philosophy and practice[edit]

The philosophy of the group revolves around the bell which it says represents unity. The group believes that religions are "only differences in beliefs" and advocates people regardless of religion to live in harmony by disregarding these difference.[6]

One of the basic principles of the Bell Church is the law of karma and members and devotees are urged to "live morally upright, always help others in need, attend Mass, practice other virtues" which is said to bring good karma.[3]

Chapters[edit]

The Bell Church organization designated its temple in Benguet as its headquarters. It later established other temples or chapters in other parts of the Philippines and abroad. They maintain chapters in Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, La Loma (Quezon City), Manila, Dumaguete, Davao City, Cotabato City, and Zamboanga City. They also have a chapter in Hong Kong and San Francisco, United States.[7]These chapters are all referred as "Bell Church".[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tan, Chee-beng (20 August 2014). "Syncretism as Religious Identity". After Migration And Religious Affiliation: Religions, Chinese Identities And Transnational Networks. World Scientific. p. 109. ISBN 9814590010.
  2. ^ Jerusalem, Jigger (18 February 2018). "Oro's Bell Church: resiliency amid disasters". Sun Star Cagayan de Oro. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Malanes, Maurice (13 October 2010). "Keeper of Chinese tradition". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  4. ^ Banos, Mike (19 February 2018). "Bell Church, Oro LGU pray for peace and prosperity of all". Mindanao Daily. p. 2. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Caluza, Desiree (28 January 2014). "Benguet bell tolls for peace seekers". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Viguella, Abigail (29 January 2017). "Beyond prosperity and good luck". Sun Star Cagayan de Oro. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  7. ^ Banos, Mike (2 December 2015). "Bell Church Cagayan Chapter Celebrates 26th anniversary". Kagay-an. Retrieved 22 May 2018.