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Church Plant in Canada Celebrates Beginning of Ministry

Marilou Langomez (left) and Lolit Billena (center) sing during the dedication service of Filipino Gracetoration Christian Fellowship in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Filipino Gracetoration Christian Fellowship held a dedication service May 15 celebrating the start of this church.

Gracetoration began two years ago as the fifth GARBC church planted by First Baptist Church, Spring Valley, California.

RJ Cabugwas, pastor of First Baptist, has known Gracetoration’s pastor, Venone Bihag, since they both attended seminary in the Philippines. The two reconnected on social media and began talking about planting a church.

After much prayer, First Baptist agreed to plant a church in Regina, Saskatchewan, with Venone serving as pastor. First Baptist partnered with Generate to help launch the new church.

The launch of Gracetoration happened in August 2020, and the church joined the GARBC in 2021. But the official dedication service didn’t happen until May 2022, because until then, Canada’s airports had been closed for international travel.

“We finally made it in person to visit, see, and pray for this budding ministry,” RJ says.

RJ attended the service with Tim Nacita and Hermie Azores Jr., deacons at First Baptist; Clare Jewell, director of Generate; and Darrell Goemaat, photography director for Regular Baptist Press.

Speaking during the service, Clare encouraged the church family to reach out to the unchurched in its community with love and compassion for people’s souls.

The two deacons from First Baptist also participated in the service. Tim led a prayer of dedication for Gracetoration, and Hermie read the covenant between Gracetoration and First Baptist. And RJ prayed for Pastor Bihag and his family as they stood in front of the congregation of about 85 mainly Filipino members.

The previous day, the group from First Baptist and Regular Baptist Ministries met with Gracetoration’s leadership team for fellowship and mutual encouragement.

That day the group also joined Venone in watching a youth basketball tournament and dropping by a playground, both where he invited teens and young families to the church. The visits were part of Venone’s Saturday routine: he regularly visits places in the community where people gather, his purpose being to meet people and invite them to church.

Venone “has a heart for evangelism that God is using to develop an outward-focused DNA in the church,” Clare says.

Clare is thankful not only for Venone but also for the church-planting efforts of First Baptist.

“It’s great to see churches with a heart for reproducing disciples, leaders, and churches,” Clare says. Partnering with First Baptist and engaging with Gracetoration, he says, have been a privilege.

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