There is no work, great or small, that the Lord cannot turn into an orchard springing from the seeds of faith residing in His Children. So then is the history of the Mount Carmel Seventh-day Adventist Church (MCSDAC) whose journey represents the enduring love that God has promised time and again. The Church experienced numerous organizational birth pains even up to the present, but the most important thing we have learned during these experiences is the sureness of God’s love, always available when needed. And even when unaware of it.
It was in the spring of 2000, during Pastor Leo Launio's visit with Hector Jurado, retired Executive Secretary of the Quebec Conference, that the notion of planting another Filipino Church in Montreal, specifically in the Cote des Neiges area, was conceived. Excited about the idea, Pastor Leo Launio sprang into action sharing this vision and enlisting some of the members from the Montreal Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church who were living in the Cote Des Neiges area.
Pastor Launio presented the idea of a branch Sabbath School project as a church planting group to the Quebec Conference board of Directors on March10, 2001, and was approved on March 24 of the same month. On June 30, 2001, a business meeting was convened and the Montreal Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church voted for the formation of the core group to lead the church planting efforts. This core group, composed of 15 members, of whom were newly-converted believers from the Montreal Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church. These believers, who have leadership potential and exemplary Christian lifestyle, took upon themselves through faith this herculean task of reaching people for Christ, helping them grow toward spiritual maturity and eventually become active instruments in soul winning.
Pastor Launio opened his apartment-home as the group’s first meeting place for mid-week prayers on Wednesdays and vespers on Friday’s, meetings were then delegated in each of the core group members’ homes. On Sabbath the core group members met as a branch Sabbath School before the divine worship service at the Montreal Filipino SDA Church.
With an active Pastor and leaders at the helm available, willing and committed to put time and energy in propagating the mission of the church, the group showed significant progress in the years ahead. From May 2001 through April 2002, the increase in attendance of the mid-week prayer meetings and Friday vespers necessitated that the Montreal Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church allow the group to convene in a much larger place in the area. The “Mount Carmel” name was adopted from the Prophet Elijah’s story, an analogy of the group’s choice to stand up for Christ. This began a long string of events that found the members even more convinced that God’s hand is at work.
The inclusive months saw Pastor Launio and the company scouring a much bigger area for its services, one that is big enough to accommodate both members and guests for Sabbath worships. The hunt led them to warehouses and possible church edifices; neither was adequate in providing space and conflict in service schedule. Problems came one after another, still the core group members realized and sure enough, they weren’t really “problems” after all but interesting “experiences”. In effect, the group became much stronger and happier.
Greaves Adventist Academy (GAA) was an answered prayer. The school was holding extension classes on the second floor of the Marche Plus store located at 6495 Sommerled, and a decision was made to sub-rent the said place along with GAA. On May 18, 2002, the place became the venue for the Mount Carmel Company where it also had its first Sabbath worship service. Attended by the core members and a whole delegation of visitors, brothers and sisters from other churches, Pastor Launio preached on “Elijah’s call and challenge at Mount Carmel”. This would resonate for another year until more changes in the group’s journey took place. It was the same year when the Quebec Conference through the Personal Ministry Department headed by Pastor Emile Maxi sponsored “Revelation offers Hope in a World of Terror” Bible Prophecy Seminar, a series of evangelistic meetings with pastor Mark Finlay as its speaker.
Realizing that this was no ordinary call, the group mustered all resources to pave the road for the evangelistic series. As the eve of the evangelistic series approached, the members braved the rain and cold weather distributing literature and Discover bible study guides to homes, bus stops, and in the metros. As well as inviting friends, neighbors and family to New Beginnings small group DVD presentations. These efforts were coupled with Bible study groups which led to the Baptism of Brother Robert and Sister Emilie Cacatian, the first fruits of Mount Carmel through core member Walter Pineda’s Bible Studies.
The weeks of Metro Ministry in Van Horne attracting passerby and residents to the “Revelation offers Hope” series yielded an acquaintance with Charles Genter and Ava Harriot. Eventually, when the series concluded, Brother Charles and Sister Ava decided to accept Christ and become members of the Mount Carmel Community.
The second quarter of 2004 saw both opportunities and developments in Mount Carmel’s history. The GAA discontinued the extension classes at Sommerled, implying that the company could no longer meet there.
The beacon lighted further when the group was blessed with a new home, by renting the Montreal West Presbyterian Church at 169 Ballantyne avenue North, Montreal West. The group met here for the first time on June 19, 2004.
The Lord would have other plans for the company. During the last quarter of 2004, Pastor Lauino received and accepted a call serve in Calgary. The group was left without a pastor for a few months until Pastor Leclerc came.
Pastor Leclerc, known for his down-to earth attitude and a confidante, ushered by the group’s creation of small group meetings, emphasizing the need for prayer in an individual’s journey with God. He spearheaded the Junior Crusade, an evangelistic series aimed at calling the youth to the fold. At the end of the ten night Amazing Adventure presentations by Doug Bachelor, at least seven children indicated their interest to be baptized. His leadership helped in realizing the group’s recognition as an official company by the Quebec Conference. Several new members were also baptized during Pastor Leclerc’s time at the helm of the ministry.
In 2009, Elder Paul Musafili the Conference's treasurer, took the reins after Pastor Leclerc’s departure. His calmness and optimism was much appreciated by the members. Through his ministry, the church was enlightened about the gift of stewardship, instilling in them the spirit of community service. During his time, a revival week was conducted with Pastor Gerry Pasikatan as the guest speaker, and a stewardship seminar was given by Ulysses Guarin. Armed with a conviction that the company is fit to be recognized as a church as it was envisioned nine years ago, his leadership and guidance played a vital role in the realization of this vision in initiating the process by contacting the Quebec Conference about this endeavor. The growth of the company continued under his leadership resulting from the baptism of additional members.
On April 10, 2011, the Quebec Conference Board of Directors voted Pastor Juan Carlos Atencio to continue his pastoral labours at Mount Carmel. Although his leadership was short lived, Pastor Atencio continued to focus on the youth of the company by initiating a separate youth program every Sabbath afternoon. His leadership is remembered for its untiring efforts to help the youth to be steadfast in the ministry. Bro. John Vasiliou was baptized during his time furthering the roster of Mount Carmel’s membership.
Within its blessed decade, the Mount Carmel Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Company had seen and experienced God's blessings and enduring faithfulness. Some challenges has almost but shaken the company, yet God's guidance and the group's persistence have endured and succeeded.
With Pastor Oneil Madden leading, the then company is now an official Church, having been endorsed by the Montreal Filipino SDA Church to the Quebec Conference for the recognition last April 7, 2012. On April 15, 2012, ten years after the company's humble beginnings, the Conference voted unanimously in favor of upholding the recognition and endowing the status of Mount Carmel Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Jesus Himself talks of God's kingdom as likened to a small mustard seed that grows into a tree so that birds and other creatures can flock to its shade. Mount Carmel Seventh-day Adventist Church, from a small group of members that withstood tests of leadership changes and relocations, now sees the parable in its full light, acknowledging the presence of the Almighty in making the impossible possible. The growth of this church in the years to come is a testament to how the Lord begins, and promises to finish what He started.