The first Advance church plant into Canada


Lawrence and Elizabeth Keen are planting out of City Gates Church, into the small town of Quesnel, in Western Canada. We caught up with the Keen’s and Vic Stander (City Gates) for some background to this exciting move.

City Gates has put together a great introductory clip. Check it out and then read up on some of the details below.

Lawrence and Liz Keen…

What is your timeline for the move, and likely build up toward Sunday meetings?
We are looking at a launch during the Spring or Summer of 2021.  We don’t have a venue yet but we are praying that God will provide a space for us.  In the interim we are being intentional about setting up our living room to host gatherings as needed. 

Currently, we are meeting people and having meals with them in our house to build relationships, we are looking for hands-on opportunities to serve our city and the residents, (seniors, the homeless and orphans) and meeting weekly to pray for Two Rivers Church and Quesnel.  We plan to hold our first Alpha early next year, with the group that gather with us for that making up the core for the launch of our Sunday meetings.

Will you be working in the marketplace, or focusing full time on the plant?
I am going to focus on establishing the church. In deciding to come to Quesnel I elected to take a reduced pension which would allow me to focus on the plant. My wife was able to get some funds from her employer when she left but will probably work to supplement our income.

Quesnel town, British Columbia

If someone reading this wants to get involved, what are the options?
If someone feels moved to support us then first of all we’d really appreciate their prayers! If they feel so moved they could also support us financially. And if they felt like they’d like to consider joining us in Quesnel then please get in touch with us to discuss!

Vic Stander…

Will this be an independent church, or will there be some connection with City Gates?
Two Rivers will be an Advance partner church, experiencing strengthening from the North American Hub on the West Coast. But as the sending church, I trust that we will certainly play an ongoing role in supporting this church through regular calls and visits, sending teams, prayer, finances, etc.

Vic and Tanya pray for Lawrence and Liz at their commissioning service at City Gates Church

Tell us a bit about this unique plant?
We’re excited about this plant for many reasons. Having seen Lawrence & Liz in action while visiting Quesnel, I have no doubt that they are uniquely gifted for the task at hand – especially with the “street cred” and history Lawrence and his family name carries there. Another reason is that this is not only the first Advance church plant in Canada, but also the first church plant for City Gates Church. A seed that Mike & Edwina Holmes planted long before my arrival to transition their leadership. We trust that this will be the beginning of a multiplication movement in our church and across Canada.

What can the movement pray for?
There is still much to be done on the ground in Quesnel before it’s an official church. So in terms of prayer, favour on the Keens as they engage with the community, preach the gospel, disciple people, raise up leaders and implement the strategies God gives them. Pray for God’s protection on their marriage. Also, Lawrence’s health will remain on the top of our prayer list for sure.

The Keen’s arrived in Quesnel in September (2020) and shot a short clip to mark the occassion!

For Advance churches

If you would like to share this news with your congregation, City Gates has made a video download as well as prayer slide available.

Financial support for the the Keen’s plant can be given through the portal setup by City Gates, available here.

Check out the Two Rivers church page on the City Gates website. There you can see the Keens’ progress in Quesnel on an up-to-date timeline, as well as watch a more in-depth mini-documentary outlining some of the details surrounding their church-planting journey