Sister Tenny was born February 2, 1937. She was the wife of Brother Erdy, the successor of Brother Felix Manalo as Administrator of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. They were together for 54 years. In those 50 plus years, there was not a shred of scandal. There were no outbursts of anger nor fits of rage. In the 54 years of marriage there were no stories of her trying to undermine Brother Erdy. There were no rumours of her trying to take over or trying to grab power from anyone.
The time came when her eldest son grew up and he was appointed as Deputy Executive Minister. Even then, she did not control him. Some brethren who had personal problems wrote directly to her but she simply endorsed them to her husband or to her son. She never tried to solve problems herself.
The other children also grew up assisting the church in various ways. In media, or in the choir or in the school. They quietly did their part. The two younger sons assisted Brother Erdy when he officiated Worship Services and visiting locales. They would be seen in the background or at the side doors by the pulpit. They never wanted to be in the limelight. Those who have been in the Church for a long time would remember them. Not the horrid pictures we see of them now, demonizing them. They can easily be seen in the God’s message magazines. They are in the background.
Even when ka Erdy travelled to the various locales, the five grown up siblings still traveled with their parents in a simple 15 seater van and would stand there after the Worship Services waiting for their father to greet everyone. They are a shy bunch. They were all raised to be quiet and humble. That is how we remember them. When we were fortunate enough to get to talk to them, they would be friendly, smile and talk very softly. There was no arrogance in them. That is how ka Erdy and ka Tenny raised their children.
Those who were fortunate to become friends with ka Erdy and ka Tenny, would tell stories of their kindness and sweetness; their humility and simplicity. No horror stories ever came out of her being a “Jezebel”. No minister ever said that she was demanding or rude. No brother or sister ever reported that she was verbally abusive. No one ever told of stories of crazy shopping sprees. There is no story of ka Tenny creating her own special group. She was a simple wife, a loving mother and sweet grandmother. To those who “despise” her now. Please tell us, did anyone find thousands of shoes in their former home? Are there boxes and boxes of jewelry? No? Have you wondered how they lived?
Together ka Erdy and ka Tenny raised six children. Five of them still love her very much. One expelled her from the Church.
Today, many people speak evil of her and her children. People who have never met them. People who never saw the earlier days. Somehow, they are now experts of the characters of this family. It is a shame how people easily talk like they have known them for years. Like they “knew” they were like that in the beginning.
It is just hard to fathom that the wife of the Executive Minister for 46 years could now be the number 1 enemy of the church.
Did she plan for half a century?
Did she wait for 50 years to carry out her plan of ruining the Church?
She waited for 5 decades when the time is right to spring her devious plan of dividing the Church?
Do brethren think about these?
She knew very well that if she spoke up, her legacy would be stained. But she did anyway. Not as an act of defiance. It was a plea for help. A cry for help that would not be heard by those it is intended for. A cry that would be turned around as “an act of rebellion.” She spoke approximately 106 words on video. One part was to ask to talk to her son whom up to now has not spoken to her. It was partly to ask help for her children. Partly to ask to help ministers who were abducted. Do her children need help? Yes they do. Were there ministers who were abducted? Yes there were. So which part were lies and which words were so evil that it caused division in the Church? And since that moment that she spoke, what have we heard from her? Were there calls for a bloody rebellion? There are none. Just silence.
So to you, Sister Tenny, on your 79th Birthday, we wish you well. Perhaps others may not remember the past, but we will not forget. We pray for you and your children and grandchildren. We pray for your well being and good health. We shed a tear in your honor and in remembrance of your marriage.
Lastly, we dedicate these verses to you and to those who speak evil of you:
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
(read it well everyone… we won’t hear this in the Worship Service)