Over 200 people from all over Ireland celebrated the opening of Grace Abundant Filipino Community Church (GAFCC)’s new church building at 10 Main Street, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland on the 7th of May 2022. The inaugural service for the full gospel Christian church offered prayers for the new Philippine government administration and a ray of hope in a world ravaged by wars and by the COVID pandemic.
“This is always a prayer concern in our weekly meetings. We do not have any political affiliations concerning the Philippine Presidential election, but we encourage our members to adhere always to their civic responsibilities and to vote wisely,” said nurse Elica Cando Falconitin, event host and one of seven Deacons of GAFCC.
The building at 10 Main Street Blanchardstown (10 MSB) was acquired by GAFCC in July 2020 during the pandemic and planning permission to build the church was granted in March 2021. Nearly €1 million were spent to purchase the building plus about €750,000 more for renovation, but all costs were funded through personal donations and loans from its Filipino and Chinese members. The building has been developed into a church and community centre, with a worship hall, a number of meeting rooms, a coffee shop and office spaces, one of which they hope Philippine Honorary Consul Raymond Garrett would use occasionally to provide consular services to the Filipinos in Ireland.
“It was a challenging time to raise funds for renovating and building the church especially during the prolonged lockdowns in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. But co-workers, friends, and other church partners worked together against all odds to make the completion and opening of the building possible” added Falconitin.
The community started as attendees of the English congregation of the Chinese Gospel Church (CGC) at Lucan’s Esker House in 2016. The following year, Filipino Fellowship meetings were held every second Sunday, with Reverend Cedric Chau as the overseeing pastor and Elder Mimi Kuan as the Elder. On the 11th of September 2017, the fellowship formally registered as a church, which was followed by the appointment of seven Filipino deacons. The partnership of the Chinese Gospel Church (CGC) with the Filipinos started way back in 2004 when a small group led by Pastor Josephus Papas was granted usage of CGC’s church hall in Middle Abbey Street for their weekly fellowship meetings. Now with over 100 members and a new fellowship group in Drogheda, an average of 70-100 people attend GAFCC’s Sunday worship services every Sunday at 11am.
“The new building will be a spiritual home where there will be a sense of belonging; where love, honour, and acceptance is always felt,” said Elder Mimi Kuan.
Reverend Cedric Chau added, “GAFCC’s mission is to foster relationships not just among the Christian community, but with anyone who shares our burden in fulfilling our God-given vision to build this Christian Home Away from Home for the Filipino community in Dublin.”