A Brief History of Westside Calgary Chinese Alliance Church (“WCCAC”)
WCCAC was started with prayer meetings held in one of our brother’s home. For 7 months, a group of brothers and sisters met regularly to pray for the planting of a church in northwest Calgary. Finally, on October 3, 1993, the Church began its first worship service at a rented facility in Brentwood’s Captain John Palliser Elementary School.
In September 1994, the Lord led Rev. Peter Yip from Australia to become the Church’s first Senior Pastor. By God’s grace and under Rev. Yip’s leadership, WCCAC managed to purchase its present 3-acre land on December 16, 1994 for just $525,000. God’s timely provision was way beyond our hope and expectation.
The construction of WCCAC’s Phase I building began after the ground breaking ceremony on September 24, 1995. It was completed in eight months. The Church held its first thanksgiving worship and baptismal service on June 9, 1996. Due to the rapid growth of the English congregation, Pastor Jim Cheung from Vancouver joined WCCAC as its first English-speaking pastor in October 1996.
Shortly after, the Church needed more facilities for its growing congregation. A Special General Meeting was convened on June 22, 1997 and a proposed construction of the Church’s Phase II building was approved. The Building Dedication Ceremony of our Phase II development was held on October 4, 1998, our 5th Anniversary.
In August 1998, WCCAC launched our first short term mission trip to Panama.
On October 10, 1998, under the leadership of Rev. Peter Yip, the Board of Elders agreed unanimously to start planning for the Mandarin Ministry.
With prayers and a simple faith before God, WCCAC started the Mandarin Ministry in 1999. The Church completed the parking lot expansion in 2000. It was such a sweet blessing to us all. The new additions resolved not only the constraints of the parking facilities but also encouraged stronger desire for the congregations to reach out to our communities.
Praise the Lord, the building mortgage was fully paid off on September 1, 2003.
The Lord led and sent. We rejoiced greatly when Pastor Paul Ho, Pastor Chee-hian Kwek, Pastor Eric Lai and Pastor Joseph Liou joined our pastoral team and Pastor Nick Tsang became a lay pastor. On the other hand, we submitted to God’s plan as Rev. Jim Cheung and Rev. Peter Yip answered their callings to other ministries.
During the period, our pastors led the congregations to do what were pleasing to God through local ministries and short-term missions. It was just pure joy seeing our congregations, in particular the youths, growing strong in faith, joining and serving God through mission trips to Prince George, Panama, Medicine Hat, London UK, and Saskatoon. These brothers and sisters actually put God’s teaching into practice. “Whatever we do, we do it for the Lord”.
A number of fellowships had experienced remarkable growth. Their usual meeting rooms could no longer accommodate them. The Mandarin Ministry had at the same time matured into establishing their own worship service, Sunday school, and fellowship groups. Thus, in face of rising need, the availability of space and other facilities was again quickly approaching full capacity. By God’s grace, we managed to meet the ongoing demand for space and equipment use because brothers and sisters willingly strive to accommodate one another. The room, facilities and equipment booking system was indeed put to good use.
In order to accommodate the continuous growth of the Cantonese congregation, a Saturday Cantonese Worship Service at 9:30 AM was embarked on March 6, 2004.
God had also first given the vision of the Phase III Development to the Board of Elders in 2003. After various discussion, revisions and three Special General Meetings, we chose our present blueprint in October 2006, which includes a Multi-Purpose Hall with the size of a full basketball court, more classrooms for Bible School, children and seniors as well as more office accommodation for our growing pastoral team. Upon the completion of the Phase III building, the AWANA Club meetings would be moved to the Multi-Purpose Hall in order to facilitate further expansion. The progress of our Phase III Development indeed testified God’s clear guidance for WCCAC to invest in the next generation of believers.
In these five years, God had brought several of His own workmen to pastor WCCAC. Rev. Stephen Cheung was our second Senior Pastor from February 2004 to November 2008. Vicky Leung took up her role as the Children Ministry Director in September 2005. In 2007, Rev. Albert Kwan, Pastor Kevin Ji and Pastor Derrick Chan were added to take care of the spiritual needs of the Cantonese and Mandarin congregations and our Chinese youth. We further added Joey Ung as the Children Ministry Assistant in August 2008. On the other hand, Rev. Paul Ho, Rev. Joseph Liou and Rev. Chee-hian Kwek answered God’s callings to other ministries.
During the period, WCCAC had commenced short-term missions to Lima, Peru and Taiwan internationally as well as Red Deer and Lethbridge domestically.
It was a tremendous joy to see the Phase III development completed and its Dedication Ceremony was held on October 4, 2009, our 16th Anniversary. The entire piece of land which God gave to us in 1994 has been fully developed for His use. The increase in space and facilities had given us added faith in welcoming a promising future.
During the period, the Lord has guided WCCAC in rebuilding its pastoral team. While we were waiting for our next Senior Pastor, the Lord has brought in our two English pastors Rev. Eddy Lim and Pastor Robert Sterie and led Rev. Eric Lai into a new chapter of his ministry outside WCCAC. Rev. Henry Tseung became our third Senior Pastor in July 2010. He was followed by Pastor Derek Chen who joined WCCAC in May 2011 as an Assistant Mandarin Pastor. On the other hand, Rev. Eric Lai, Rev. Albert Kwan, Pastor Derrick Chan and Rev. Eddy Lim had left WCCAC for new ministries.
In order to accommodate the continuous growth to the Mandarin congregation, a Special General Meeting held on December 13, 2009 approved in principle the expansion and renovation of Room 215 to become a Chapel by annexing the adjacent classrooms. The expansion would increase the seating capacity from 120 to 220 and was expected to be able to cope with the growth for the next five years. The renovation was completed and the Chapel Dedication Ceremony was held on December 19, 2010.
Apparently, we were outwitted by the Lord in the growth of the Mandarin congregation. The average attendance of the Mandarin worship services rose to 200, only slightly more than two years after the Chapel became available for use. Under the leadership of the Senior Pastor and the full support of our two Mandarin Pastors, the Board of Elders has approved the plan to commence a Saturday Mandarin Service in October 2013.
We are indeed grateful to the Lord for His tremendous blessings on WCCAC in the past 20 years and the challenge and opportunities which He has laid in front of us.