Carlito Arceo, lead pastor at Living Christ Community Church, is excited about purchasing the building once occupied by Christ Lutheran Church. Photo by Aaron Epp.

New possibilities ahead for Filipino church

Church set to grow thanks to dying congregation’s generosity

WINNIPEG, MB—Moving into a new church building full-time means new possibilities for a Baptist congregation in Winnipeg.

Living Christ Community Church, a congregation with a large Filipino-Canadian membership, is in the process of purchasing the building once occupied by Christ Lutheran Church, located at the corner of Inkster Boulevard and Sinclair Street.

The congregation, which formerly met at a building at the corner of Wellington Avenue and Valour Road, began using Christ Lutheran Church’s building on a rental basis in May 2011. At that point, the congregation had grown to more than 150 people. Since its building on Wellington was only able to hold 85 people at one time, lead pastor Carlito Arceo was organizing three services each Sunday to accommodate everyone in the congregation.

Now, Living Christ can meet for two services each Sunday, as well as use the building for prayer services, small group meetings and its youth ministry program.

“My vision is to reach the community—to have two morning services and have our afternoon service also filled with people,” Arceo says. “And I’d like to see new churches started from this building.”

Christ Lutheran Church held its final service in the building on January 26. The congregation is selling the building as a result of declining weekly attendance, which was down to about 30 people.

Arceo says his church would not have been able to afford the building were it not for the generosity of the members of Christ Lutheran. Shortly before the sale, the building was assessed at a value of $1.5 million—an amount of money Arceo and his congregation thought it would be impossible to raise.

“We decided to trust God by faith that He was going to work it out, and He did,” Arceo says.

Christ Lutheran decided to sell the building at the value it was assessed at in 2011, which was $640,000. Once the sale was complete, the church said it would donate $140,000 to the building’s new owners. The church also donated everything in the building, save for the altar, two pulpits and the pipe organ, to Living Christ.

With these considerations, Arceo and his congregation were able to raise the money for a downpayment. Arceo says he was overwhelmed by the generosity of Christ Lutheran’s membership.

“I said, ‘God, You really know what You’re doing.’ We were floored.”

For Arceo, having a building that seats 450 people means his church can expand. Last summer, people from the church went from door to door around the neighbourhood, inviting people to come to the church.

“We saw people come to know Jesus,” Arceo says, adding the church plans to do the same thing again this summer. “We want to grow both spiritually and in numbers.”

Arceo’s hope is that eventually, Living Christ’s congregation becomes so large that they have to plant more churches.

“We’re praying that we can start a second church and a third one and a fourth—as many as God wants us to start,” he says.

“We want to remain faithful to the Great Commission of loving God and making disciples,” he adds. “We are very thankful God has orchestrated all of this because we trusted Him for the impossible.”

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.

About the author