Timeline of Markham Peoples Community Church

April 2000

God Inspired Dr. K.K. Leung to Build a Second Church

Dr. Leung has planted a church in Richmond Hill in 1996 where he served as the senior pastor. Four years later, God inspired him to build a second church in the city of Scarborough. With God’s grace, the first service in the second church was held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Toronto located in Scarborough, in April 2000. Seven seniors attended this worship service.

November 2000

Three Members were Baptized

The first three elderly members were baptized.

May 2001

The Church Continued to Grow

The church grew and by this time the Chinese Cultural Center of Toronto could not accommodate the growing needs of the church with all of the new members joining. As a result, the church rented a 1000 square feet commercial unit at 5800 Sheppard Ave in Scarborough, as the worship place and also space for offices.

April 2002

Purchased the Adjacent Unit

The tutorial centre next door to the rented church, closed down and moved out. With God’s grace, the church was able to rent this unit out also. Moreover, the church was allowed to connect both units and make it into one. Only marvelous God can do this. To top it all, God even gave an opportunity to buy these two joint units for $350,000 CAD. This purchase established the foundation that was going to be used for the church’s future development.

April 2010

Praying Fervently for God Guidance in Church Expansion

Since there were not enough parking spaces in the small strip plaza where the church was located, the members, who came for gatherings in the evening, had to park their cars in the streets. Unfortunately, they did not feel safe parking in the nearby streets. Dr. Leung knew that there was a need to find a place to build a new church. With a small congregation and very limited resources, the members of the church were not convinced if this was the right time to build a new church. Was this God’s will? God’s guidance was needed! Consequently, there were many special prayer meetings that took place and an overnight prayer meeting also.

November 2010

Ebenezar: The “Shining” Stone

After months of serious soul searching and looking for properties to buy, the church found a property on 22 Esna Park Drive in Markham. This property was almost seven acres of land and 35,000 square feet warehouse that included 2,500 office space. The asking price was about $3.9 million. One of the unusual things about this place was: one can easily spot a large piece of rock while driving along the street. This quite a prominent piece of rock was right in front of the office building and it appeared like it was glowing under the sunshine. It seemed as God was saying – this is the place prepared for you! Seeing the stone “shining” served as a reminder of the church’s 5th anniversary celebration. During that celebration, to further honour God and thank Him for His given vision, the church dedicated to God the song “Ebenezar”. Nonetheless, at this time, the church has not made any decision regarding this property but instead continued to pray for God’s guidance and clear direction.

December 2010

The Offer of Purchase was Rejected

In order to help the church members to understand God’s will and vision, it was decided to hold prayer meetings at this property. One Saturday morning, the congregants gathered outside of the main building. The sky was grey. As everyone started to pray, light flurries started to fall. It was a wonderful moment. At the end of the prayer, the sun began to shine through the dark clouds. Congregants could almost hear God say – this is my promised land, and I am pleased. Two weeks later, all Board Members (Deacons) unanimously agreed to put an offer of $3.6 million to buy the property. Should the sale happen, immediately it was necessary to apply to Markham Municipal Government for a change of the land usage. However, the offer was immediately rejected because there were other 7 offers to buy this property, and $3.6 million was the lowest offer.

January 2011

A Vision from God

The church started regular 6 o’clock morning prayer meetings and prayed for God’s permission to buy this beautiful land. During this period of intensive prayers, Dr. Leung received a vision from God. God’s given vision was to build:   1. A multicultural worship place for all nations, 2. A community centre, and 3. A mission centre.   All three would have to be in the same location.   Following this vision from God, the board immediately informed the same real estate agent to follow up with the land owner’ agent. It took more than a month for the real estate agent to get back with the following response: increase the deposit amount in order to demonstrate the seriousness to buy this land. Only later, the real estate agent informed, that all seven offers fell through, for one reason or another, and the land owner and their agent were unable to find any other potential buyers. This was a clear confirmation that God has prepared this place for the vision that was given to Dr. Leung. Thanks be to the LORD, He is the God of Miracles! Consequently, the church committed and increased the deposit amount.   By the end of January, the sales agent came back and informed that the offer of $3.6 million was accepted, but the land owner requested to add a purchasing waiver. The land owner did not want to be held responsible for any objections from the government regarding the change of land use, any environmental issues, noise problems, etc. Since the church strongly believed in the provision of God, the amended purchase agreement was signed. Then, the preparation of funds and bank loans had to take place since the closing date was at the end of March. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was clear that God was doing what seemed impossible in the natural to achieve. He is truly an amazing and wonderful God. To Him goes all the glory!

March 2011

Say “No” to a Short Term Gain

The church received, one offer after another, a total of seven offers to buy this property. Among them, two of them were from the original seven potential buyers who put the offer regarding this place. They were willing to buy this land with a higher price. However, since the church knew that this is God’s given promised land, the church never entertained the idea of selling it to others, even for a quick opportunity to make millions of dollars in a very short period of time. At the end of March, applications for loans from the banks started. Since a few brothers and sisters in Christ from the church work in high positions in some major banks, all applications were done properly by following all necessary procedures. At the end of March, thanks to God, a loan of $2,160,000 was granted. However, it meant that there was still a shortage of $400,000 to complete the deal. Nonetheless, the Scripture is clear that God always supplies the needs of His people. And that is what happened in here. The deal was completed right before closing.

May 2011

The First Sunday Service in the New Church

Architects and lawyers were involved and helped with the land usage change application. During this time, the office place was set up to be a temporary worship place. The first Sunday service in the new church was held on May 15.

June 2011

God Helped to Build Markham Wesley Community Centre

Since it was God given vision to build a community center alongside the church in order to expand the Kingdom of God, the community centre was registered as a non-profit organization. It was named – Markham Wesley Community Centre. Now the issue was, where the money for construction would come from? Some brothers and sisters in Christ have found out that the Government has funds to support these kinds of community projects. One of them is the Trillium Fund. Two of the church members, a brother and a sister, worked round the clock to apply for a $300,000 grant. Yet, when the head of the Trillium Fund heard of the community plans, he encouraged to apply for the maximum amount of $500,000. In order to get the money, the church had to raise the same amount. When the application was approved, the church had no idea where the matching $500,000 will come from. Once again, God showed the way when it seemed there was no way for it to happen. Through God’s love, the church was able to raise all $500,000 to match the government funding!

August 2011

The Proposed Community Centre were Accepted

The application was accepted by the Town Planning Board. It was then submitted to the municipal councils for hearings on September 13.

September 2011

More Challenges

The application was approved by the Markham Municipal Council on September 13th. However, it was a conditional approval – there had to be no objections within two weeks. The church was thankful to God for His grace and even went out with the Mayor and a few Councilors to a restaurant to celebrate. Two weeks had passed and there was no objection from anyone. However, when the third week came, the church received three objections from the nearby factories. Their lawyers had requested to reopen a public hearing, stating that the construction of a church and a community centre at this site will affect their business. They further stated that since their business is environmentally sensitive, when a church is built close by, they would have to spend more money to meet the new environmental requirements. They also argued that the church would also affect the city’s employment rate. The municipal authorities had decided to re-open the public hearing.

October 2011

More Challenges: Environmental Assessment

On October 18th hearing, the city councillors voted. There was a difference of only one vote against the construction of the church. The council had decided to reopen the hearing. The application for reconsideration was dismissed and the church needed to get an environmental consultant. The consultant’s job was to do an assessment regarding how much the change of land use would affect the environment and what needs to be done in order to comply with the codes and bylaws of the Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau.

January 2012

More Challenges: Zoning Compliance

The church’s lawyers started to work with the lawyers of the Municipal Government to develop plans that would be in compliance with zoning by-laws.

February 2012

Legal Challenges

Three companies in the neighbourhood joined forces and hired a team of lawyers to fight against the establishment of a church at this location. A trial was scheduled at the Municipal Council.

April 2012

Move Forward in Faith

Three companies jointly petitioned against the re-zoning applications of the church that was led by the city council. Because of the vision given by God, the church decided to move forward before the settlement of the trial and started to invite potential builders to bid for the contract to build the community centre. The hired architect also believed that the appeal against the building of the church would not affect the building of the Community Centre.

July 2012

Construction Commenced

Construction of the community centre commenced.

July 2012

First Appeal Hearing Scheduled

The church hired more experienced lawyers to appeal the opposing party. On July 19th the church received a notice from the Appeals Committee that the first hearing was scheduled for November 5.

September 2012

More Challenges: Faith

Since the architects and contractors of the community centre did not have in-depth understanding of the whole process, they did not apply for some of the necessary building permits. Consequently, the municipal government not only asked to stop building the centre, but also asked the part of the Community Centre that was built – to demolish, and reverse to its original form. At this point, the only thing to do was to pray and leave it at the Mercy of God. Some brothers and sisters who did not understand the vision of God, started to question if it is God’s will to build a community centre.

October 2012

God is Always Faithful

Since the demolition of the newly built area of the community centre would cost a lot of money, and the re-zoning application was still in progress, the church asked for permission of extension. Praises and thanksgiving go to God for the request was granted.

November 2012

Set for a Second Hearing

At the first hearing, the two sides exchanged the legal provisions on environmental issues and compliances. A date for a second hearing was set. Because of lack of financial resources, the church’s lawyers suggested to settle the case out of court, if possible. If it is settled in the court, there was a high probability to pay hefty litigation fees, and the case could drag on for a long time.

February 2013

The Case is Settled

On February 27th, the church’s lawyers, together with one of the church’s leaders, sister Irene So, met with the lawyers of the opposing party, environmental experts and provincial and municipal officials. The purpose was to discuss the details about resolving the disputes. The meeting started in the morning but there was still no reconciliation in the afternoon. Then, God intervened.  By 3PM, Environment Canada issued a severe snowstorm warning. An agreement needed to be reached, or else nobody could go home that evening. Thanks to our wonderful God, the eagerness to get home before the snowstorm, urged the opposing party to settle quickly. Finally, they decided to cancel the appeal and both parties reached an agreement; the Minutes of settlement was drafted.  All praise and glory goes to LORD for His intervention and His wonderful acts.

April 2013

Approval of Re-Zoning

The Government informed the church of the approval of re-zoning. This meant that the site plan agreement and Land Use Regulations (By-law) would be drafted soon. Later this month, the church was summoned by the Ontario court and was informed that the construction of the Community Center was illegal and had to be stopped because the architect and the contractor did not have the building permit. In case of a dispute, the hearing date in court was set for May 17th.

May 2013

Prayers & Petitions

Cash-strapped, the church could no longer afford to hire a lawyer to go to court. Therefore, prayers and petitions continued as the church kept on asking for God’s mercy. On May 17th, Dr. Leung and Irene So, as representatives of the church, went to court. All praise and glory go to God again. The church was fined only $5 for photocopies, that were part of the administration fees, instead of being fined for more than $200,000, but the contractor was fined $2,500. Dr. Leung and Irene So were relieved and pleased for they again experienced God’s grace and mercy.

October 2013

Plan Control Agreement

On October 22nd, the church and the city government signed the site Plan Control Agreement, and applied for the Building Permit for the Community Center for the second time. The condition of the Building Permit was to require the bank to prepare $128,000 Letter of Credit (L/C) and cash payment of $240,000 to pay the Parkland Fee. An architect also informed the church that it might have to pay the estimated land premium fee for more than $700,000.

December 2013

Fee Deferral

Because of the financial difficulties, the church had to ask the government officials to defer the $240,000 Parkland Fee. The request was granted. Thanks and praises go to God, the land premium fee was also substantially reduced.

January 2014

Construction of Markham Wesley Community Centre Continues

Despite of all these difficulties, the construction of Markham Wesley Community Centre could finally resume.

July 2014

Construction of Markham Wesley Community Centre Completed

The construction of the community centre was finally completed. However, the centre was granted only a conditional occupancy permit. According to the by-laws, the church had to build a garbage room and 314 parking spaces in order to have a permanent occupancy permit. Nonetheless, the centre was already operational. In spite of these setbacks, it was God who made this vision to come true. To Him be the glory!

October 2014

Expanding the Sanctuary

The city informed that the church could extend a few years to fulfill the conditions for the permanent occupancy permit. However, there was an issue. The construction of the garbage room and 314 parking spots would cost more than a million dollars. Again, only God could help and guide in this situation. The church continued to pray fervently, hoping to get a clear direction of what will come next. After praying for a period of time, it was clear that God wanted to expand the sanctuary. At the beginning it did not make sense because the church had only about 100 members. Then it dawned that the application of re-zoning of the property allowed to accommodate more than two hundred worshipers. The idea to expand the church with such limited resources was difficult for many brothers and sisters to fathom. With God’s guidance, and with determination and conviction, there was a decision made to go ahead. A few architects were invited to present the church with several options. After evaluating different options, the brothers and sisters made a final decision regarding architect.

March 2015

Designing the Church

The chosen architect completed the preliminary design and met with the city Planning Department. The church realized that a new permit is needed since the expansion of the church is regarded as a new project. That meant that it will take more than five years for the first phase (zoning), to take place, and there would be a large amount of money spent. However, if the City Planning Department could accept that expansion was only a change of plan with “minor adjustments”, it would save a lot of time and money. The church’s architects were not sure what to do. Again more prayers were needed. During this time the church was asking God if the expansion is God’s will.

April 2015

Project Consultant for the Church

Glory goes to God for he prepared an experienced city planner who had just retired from the Planning Department to be the church’s consultant to discuss this project with the city. However, again when the group that objected the construction of the center got news of the church’s expansion, they sent a letter of objection.

May 2015

Environmental Reassessment

The church re-recruited environmental specialist to reassess the impact of the expansion in order to deal with the lawyers from the opposing party.

October 2015

Amended Plan Approved

Thanks be to God, because the amended plan was approved by the Committee that reviewed the changes. On October 21st, it was presented to the city Council and it was approved.

November 2015

Application for Expansion Approved

As a result of the exchange of a large number of documents between the lawyers of both sides and the church’s advisory board, the October 21st public hearing was adjourned and rescheduled to November 4th. The congregants continued to pray and call to God. Thanks to God, the application for expansion was unanimously approved by the Municipal council in the public hearing and then by the Land Use Change Committee, with no objection from the opposing party. The church started to look for a building specialist to work out a preliminary study on the budget for the construction.

December 2015

Expansion Plan Approved and Budget Calculated

The expansion plan was approved, and the budget was calculated. However, now the issue was finding the money. It was clear that the only thing that can be done at this time is to continue to pray and leave it to God.

March 2016

Loan Secured

The church negotiated with its current bank and secured a loan. Afterwards, the financial plan was developed.

March 2016

Construction Loan Guaranteed

The terms and conditions that the bank gave were difficult to fulfill. Consequently, some brothers and sisters from the church stepped up and personally guaranteed the construction loan.

April 2016

Contract with Construction Company

Although the bank’s loan was not secured yet, with God’s guidance and confidence, on April 28th the church signed a contract with a Christian construction company.

September 2016

Church Ground-Breaking Ceremony

The Wesley Community Centre has been operational for some time. Since the centre had more than 1600 members, the church has decided to have an official opening ceremony on September 10th. For this special occasion, all who have helped, including the Mayor, the Councillors and representatives from three tiers of the government, were invited to attend this special ceremony. The Mayor came and broke the ground for the church’s ground breaking ceremony. Again all praises and thanks go to the Lord. Many guests who joined this special ceremony were witnesses to the glory of God.

October 2016

$7 Million Loan

A Christian banker who loves God, came to visit the church and saw Ebenezer, our special rock. When he saw that rock, God moved him to take up the responsibility of financing this church. God is truly amazing. Though this Christian banker knew that the church was financially very inadequate to deal with such a huge project, he helped to obtain a $7 million loan without any collateral. To top it all, the interest was lower, compared to the current church’s bank rate, and the repayment period was longer. Praise the Lord.

November 2016

Starting Demolition

The church started the required demolition of part of the building according to the design, and hoped to finish the sewage system in the parking lot before the snow falls.

January 2017

Fees Waived

During this time, the church experienced a lot of difficulties, yet at the same time, saw a lot of God’s grace. There were countless examples of God’s intervention. For example, the architect advised that there will be substantial development fees. Yet, since God knew that the church cannot afford it, praises go to Him, for these hefty fees were waived. Instead, the church paid a substantially reduced amount and some fees were allowed to be paid by instalments.

February 2017

Tyco’s Cooperation for Road Widening

Besides various issues, such as construction and plan changes, the church faced one more hurdle: the entrance to the driveway was not wide enough. The narrow opening to the driveway might create traffic problems in the future. The opening had to be widened. For this reason, the construction work was held back for several months. The congregants continued to call on God regarding His intervention. The church’s neighbour (Tyco) was willing to give up part of their land so that the road would be widened. This is truly God’s grace. In February, the legal papers were received. God is amazing. Although it usually snows in February, there was no snow since construction started.

May 2017

Building a Modern Church

During the construction time, God moved Dr. Leung to focus on the younger generations. In order to make the church more youth friendly, Dr. Leung knew that he needed to build a contemporary church with multifunctional facilities instead of a traditional church. However, a concept of building a contemporary church with multifunctional facilities was a new concept to the church’s architects. Consequently, a lot of time was spent to make changes to the structure and the interior design.

July 2017

Updating the AV System

Since God’s vision was to have a contemporary church, part of it was to have a contemporary worship, which would include an AV (Audio and Video) system and an LED video wall.  As a result, professional engineers were needed to fulfill this vision. Thanks the Lord, for He provided several non-Chinese brothers who are professionals in this field, to do the entire engineering and installation process of modern lighting and acoustics systems.

September 2017

Funding the Video Wall

God knew that church was in a bad shape financially. So God arranged the two financial institutions to finance an LED wall, the sound and lighting systems.

March 2018

Pastor Jacob Lau and Pastor Renata Acuña Join the Church

When the new sanctuary was almost complete, God arranged Pastor Jacob Lau and Pastor Renata Acuña to join the church’s ministry team. What an amazing God! All praise goes to God alone for His timing is always perfect!

August 2018

Auditorium is Completed

With God’s help and guidance and cooperation of various professional teams and individuals, the new auditorium was finally finished. The new auditorium (sanctuary) has a 48 feet long by 16 feet high LED video wall, the most modern sound and lighting systems, a youth centre, a children centre and other modern facilities. During this journey, God’s grace was every step of the way. Moreover, He taught the congregants many valuable lessons. God made it clear that faith is not what is seen, but what one believes in and what is based on the teachings of the Bible. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.” God wants people to know that this is the temple built by God Himself, and it will be filled with His glory. Amen!