First United Methodist Church of Canada
Burnaby, British Columbia (Greater Vancouver / Metro Vancouver)
I would like to welcome you to the First United Methodist Church of Canada (FirstUMCC). We are a vibrant and growing community of believers who come together for fellowship in the Greater/Metro Vancouver area.
What started as a small group of friends with a yearning and passion to celebrate, serve, and make a joyful noise for the glory of God flourished into this nurturing, caring and supportive Church that is open to everyone.
We invite you to join us for service and we look forward to meeting you.
– Rev. Querubin “Bing” Canlas Jr.
We believe in one God who exists eternally in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These thee are one God, the same substance, equal in power and glory.
We believe the Bible is the written Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is our divine authority in all manners of faith and life.
We believe all men are sinners and are unable to save themselves or do anything to earn their salvation. We believe Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who became man and lived and died and rose again to provide forgiveness for sin through His death on the cross. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
We believe salvation is a supernatural act of God in the heart of the undeserving sinner. It is only grace through faith in Jesus Christ that you are saved. God saves people by drawing them to Jesus by His Holy Spirit.
The First Years
What started as an informal gathering of friends who trace back their church roots from different United Methodist Churches and United Church of Christ in the Philippines became Samahan UMC. Samahan is a Tagalog word meaning “a grouping of people with one purpose or a common interest,” Samahan members have one thing in common; they love to sing and make a joyful noise for the glory of God. Rev. Willem Romeijn and Rev. Jo-Dene Romeijn-Stout named the group Samahan.
It started with Henry Santiago’s phone conversation with the Rev. Dr. Querubin D. Canlas of Seattle, Washington, USA. , who informed Henry about Victor and Gertrude Espiritu of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Henry, who with his sales background is at ease making cold calls. Henry phoned Vic and introduced himself, then he phoned Meynardo “Jun” and Liliarose Jose and one introduction led to another.
On August 15, 2004, Rev Willem Romeijn and Rev Jo-Dene Romeijn-Stout with Glen and Jean McGuire from Lynden United Methodist Church, Lynden, Washington, drove North to Vic and Trudie Espiritu’s house in Coquitlam for coffee, conversation and fellowship. The group then was composed of Vic and Trudie Espiritu, Edwin and Charlotte Lamigo, Jun and Lil Jose, Pastor Ulysses and Connie Dimayuga, Danny Lamigo, Manny and Leonor Fortuno, Henry and Emma Santiago, and our Grand Old Lady Aurora Lamigo. After a “getting to know you” quick start, a brief study on the life of John Wesley was led by Rev. Willem.
With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Samahan took Alpha Course starting August 29, 2004 and every second and last Sunday of the month thereafter, and it was concluded by Rev. Genevieve Fisher Clark, Pastor of Lynden UMC at that time. Vic and Trudie Espiritu volunteered to host the first Alpha Course and Fellowship and other families took turns and opened their homes for the following ones. Everybody enjoyed these pot luck fellowships and study time. A group from Bellingham, Washington, Danny and Melly Aspiras, Guillermo and Nati Soriano, Manny and Betty Tapalla, Manny and Nelly Lascano, joined some of these study and fellowships, and from Vancouver, Apple and Dada Fortuno, Daisy Lamigo, Vivian and Hernan De Leon.
The Samahan continued to grow in number because Vic invited singers to join and Henry tirelessly tracked other Methodists in the Greater Vancouver Area, and Bellingham, Washington. New additions included: Jimmy and Rosa Dionido, Richard and Rowena Batitis, Tricia Louis, and Adoracion “Ate Doying” Garcia. There were children and young adults who tagged along with their parents: Roy and Rem Santiago, Alyssa Espiritu, Carmela and Andrew Lamigo, Icthys and Hesed Dimayuga, Ariel, Dariel, and Loveliel Batitis, and Thea Fortuno.
Samahan continued to grow, not only in number but in Spirit as well. On its second year, new additions included Job and Shelah, Sherwin Jay, Milca, and Alyssa Pacamarra; Joel and Susanna, Jarel and Sandrik Dionido; Zeny Espinosa, Raquel, Ryan, Rachell Castaneda; Mario and Flory, Joshua and Jordan Ramirez; Anatoly and Luisa, Aaron Paul and Analou Eliseeff, Rodolfo, Celia and Ronalyn Dela Cruz, Jaime Dionido Jr. and Leila Ragojo.
We would like to welcome new members of First United Methodist Church who were baptized, confirmed and received into membership during the well-attended Easter Sunday worship service. Welcome to our Church family!
July 16, 2006
Get Together Fellowship for Rev. Isagani and Cynthia Lazaro.
Rev. Isagani Lazaro volunteered to help Samahan Fellowship Group.
September 11, 2006
Meeting with Rev. Edward Paup – Bishop Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Rev. David Valera – Director of Connectional Ministries, Rev. Edsel Goldson – District Superintendent Puget Sound District
From Samahan: Rev. Dr, Querubin D. Canlas, Manuel Fortuno, Raquel Castaneda, Henry Santiago, Rev. Isagani Lazaro of the United Church of Canada.
September 24, 2006
First Vesper Service – held at Apple and Dada Fortuno’s Home
October 05, 2006
United Church of Canada gave the green light to PNW UMC to proceed in organizing the local church. (with Official Letter)
November 05, 2006
First Communion Service – held at Espiritu’s Home
December 03, 2006
With Henry Santiago’s initiative and tireless efforts, Samahan found a home: Whalley Presbyterian Church, Surrey, BC Evening Worship and Sunday School.
January 07, 2007
Henry, Emma, Roy, and Rem Santiago donated Liturgical Colors, Communion Set, Offering Plates, Communion Table Cloth, Communion Top Cloth, in memory of Mrs. Merci P. Santiago.
Months of February 2007 and March 2007
Studies on Christian Doctrine led by Rev. Dr. Querubin D. Canlas
Lessons about Family and Home
February 20, 2007
The name Samahan United Methodist Church was approved by the government of British Columbia.
March 23, 2007
Application for incorporation was approved.
April 23, 2007
Date of Registration as Canadian Registered Charities with Canada Revenue Agency
June 13, 2007
Samahan officially introduced to PNW during Annual Conference.
September 30, 2007
Samahan UMC officially chartered.
Guest Preacher: Rev. Solito Tuquero – Bishop Manila Episcopal Area, Philippine Central Conference of the United Methodist Church.
January 12, 2008
First Charge Conference presided by Rev. Edsel Goldson District Superintendent and with Rev David Valera, Director-Connectional Ministries. Held at Guildford Recreational Center, Surrey, BC.
March 24, 2011
From Samahan UMC to First UMC of Canada.
Province of BC Approved the name change.
July 01, 2008 – June 30, 2011
PNW appoints Rev. Conrado Gonzaga (from the Philippines)
August 02, 2009
Samahan UMC Moved to Vancouver, BC
New home: Grace Memorial United Church of Canada
July 01, 2011 to Present
PNW appoints Rev. Querubin “Bing” Canlas Jr. to First UMC.
November 4, 2012
First United Methodist Church of Canada moved to West Burnaby United Church of Canada
Church Anniversary Speakers
2008 Rev. Dr. Bender Baysa Agtarap
2009 Rev. David V. Valera at Whalley Presbyterian
2010 Rev. Conrado M. Gonzaga at Grace UCC
2011 Rev. Daniel Foster DS Puget Sound District PNW UMC at Grace UCC
2012 Rev. Grant Hagiya Resident Bishop PNW UMC @ Grace UCC
2013 Rev. David V. Valera at West Burnaby UCC
2014 Rev. Querubin C. Canlas Jr. at West Burnaby UCC
Notes and Events compiled by: Henry Santiago
Narrative form written by: Liliarose Jose
“Moving Forward God Leads Us We Follow courtesy of Lilia Rose Jose
“Isang Bangka Tayo” courtesy of Pastor Ulysses Dimayuga
Editor: Rev. Dr. Querubin C. Canlas
Edited for current publication by: Rev. Querubin C. Canlas, Jr. (November, 2014)