ESL Ministry

As a multi-cultural community, we want to support those of you whose first language is not English. Our ESL program helps you to learn English, become more familiar with life in Canada, and help your spiritual wellbeing by discussing biblical teachings. These classes are relaxed, friendly places for you to practice your English, make new friends, and get connected with people from other countries. You will learn and practise speaking, reading, listening and writing English using both our ESL books and Bible-based curriculum.

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ESL header

About Our ESL Program

  • Fall Semester Classes: Monday, September 19 – Friday, November 25
    Registration Dates: Sunday, August 21 – Sunday, October 16

    Winter Semester Classes: Monday, January 2 – Friday, March 10, 2023
    Registration Dates: Sunday, December 5, 2022 – Sunday, January 29, 2023

    Spring Semester Classes: Monday, April 17 – Friday, June 23, 2023
    Registration Dates: Sunday, March 19 – Sunday, May 14, 2023

    • Please register before the start of each semester, if possible.
    • Before you register, please read the following information to understand and agree to the program description.
    • Our classes are free, but you must commit to at least one semester.
    • All NEW students must register.
  • Our ESL program offers many classes of different levels. We have a class for you no matter how long you have been speaking English!

    Our volunteer teachers are patient, encouraging and caring, and these classes are a safe place for you to practice your English, make new friends, and have fun with folks from other countries. You will have a chance to share your cultural and family experiences, and hear interesting stories from other students.

  • Our program uses ESL books that systematically progress through six English levels. We also have an ESL Life Group that discusses the weekly church sermon. Following, are the different levels with preview links of the student books that are used for them. The student books are $20 each and will be used for the whole year which consists of three semesters.

    There are two components to each ESL class:

    • The English language component based on the above ESL books.
    • The Bible-based component that corresponds to the English level of that class.
  • To place you in the correct English level, we will give you two assessment exercises:

    • A multiple-choice online reading test that will take 10-15 minutes
    • A speaking test by a Zoom meeting that will take 10-15 minutes
    • The results of the two tests will be reviewed by our Registration Team in order to place you in the most appropriate class and level as described above. We will also take into consideration your attendance preference and class availability.
  • ESL volunteers help students learn English and become more familiar with life in Canada. They also help students with their spiritual wellbeing by discussing biblical teachings.

    Who can apply? 

    Teacher assistants must know Jesus as their personal Saviour. Teachers need to be Willingdon Church members.

    How do I get involved?

    If you are interested in teaching or co-teaching an ESL class, please fill out the volunteer form. Select “International Language Ministries” as your area of ministry, and select “ESL Teacher/Assistant” as the specific area you would like to volunteer in. After you submit the form, we will get in touch with next steps.

    We are so grateful for your interest in serving with us!

Meeting Times

  • Each of our three semesters consists of 10 weekly classes, followed by a five-week break.
  • In-person classes will be at Willingdon church on Friday mornings from 10:00 am – Noon.
  • Online Zoom classes will be in the evenings from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.
  • You may sign up for an in-person or online class or one of each, which will give you two classes per week instead of one.
In-person Friday Morning Classes (10 am – Noon)ESL Student Book ($20)Online Evening Classes (7:00 – 8:30 pm)ESL Student Book ($20)
C1A Introductory 1 (Mandarin/English)IntroMonday E3 Intermediate3R
C2A Introductory 2 (Mandarin/English)1RMonday C2 Introductory 2 (Mandarin/English)1R
E1A Introductory 1IntroTuesday E2 Beginner2R
E1B Introductory 21RTuesday P2 Introductory 2 (Portuguese/English)1R
E2A Beginner2RWednesday E1 Introductory1R
E3A Intermediate3RWednesday E4 Advanced 14R
E4A Advanced 14RWednesday E5 Advanced 25R
E5 Advanced 25RThursday E5 Advanced 25R
Friday C1B Introductory 1 (Mandarin/English)Intro

Find Your Class

ESL Class - E Category

Taught in English

E Category Classes

“E Category” classes are taught in English, and students from all language backgrounds are welcome! The aim is to help students learn English using themes common to day-to-day life. We do this through reading, listening and speaking, and occasional writing.

ESL Class - C Category

Taught in Chinese and English

C Category Classes

“C Category” classes are for Chinese-speaking students with little or no English language experience. These classes are taught in both Mandarin and English with the aim to eventually transfer students into E Level classes which are taught completely in English. If necessary, Cantonese will also be utilized in order to help students learn.

ESL Class - P Category

Taught in Portuguese and English

P Category Classes

“P Category” classes are for Portuguese-speaking students with little or no English language experience. These classes are taught in both Portuguese and English with the aim to eventually transfer students into E Level classes which are taught completely in English.

ESL Class - S Category

Taught in Spanish and English

S Category Classes

“S Category” classes are for Spanish-speaking students with little or no English language experience. These classes are taught in both Spanish and English with the aim to eventually transfer students into E Level classes which are taught completely in English.

Student Testimony

Janet Archila, Logs in from Guatemala

English Version:
My name is Janet. I live in Guatemala, but my brothers live in Vancouver and attend Willingdon church. They told me about the ESL classes. However, I was a little afraid to join them since I was always afraid to speak what little I know in English. Finally, I decided to join the ESL program which has been a beautiful experience for me. To join my weekly lessons, I sign in online from Guatemala to my ESL class in Burnaby. Little by little, my fear to speak in English is being eliminated. I have been able to improve my pronunciation and learn new words and phrases that, for a long time, I have pronounced and used them incorrectly. I have been able to meet and interact with people from other cultures who have the same goal as I, learn more about the Word of God and work toward being able to communicate fluently in English.

I am very grateful to Willingdon church for this great opportunity. In my country, we speak Spanish, so ESL classes are an excellent opportunity to practice and learn English. I thank the teachers for their patience and time to prepare the classes. which are entertaining and interesting. God bless you.


Spanish Version:

Mi nombre es Janet, soy de Guatemala pero mis hermanos viven en Vancouver. Ellos asisten a la iglesia Willingdon, me contaron sobre las clases de ESL (English as a Second Language).
Sin embargo, dudé un poco en recibirlas ya que tuve miedo de hablar en inglés. Finalmente me animé y decidí incorporarme a las clases de ESL, las cuales han sido una bonita experiencia para mí.
Cada semana me uno a las clases de ESL en Burnaby conectándome desde Guatemala, gracias a las clases he podido poco a poco dejar el miedo que tenía para hablar en inglés, he podido mejorar mi pronunciación, y también he aprendido palabras y frases nuevas que durante mucho tiempo las pronuncié y utilicé incorrectamente. He podido conocer e interactuar con personas de otras culturas que tienen el mismo objetivo de aprender inglés, aprender más sobre la palabra de Dios y lograr una comunicación fluida en inglés.

Estoy muy agradecida con la inglesía Willingdon por esta gran oportunidad, en mi país solo se habla español por lo que las clases de ESL son una excelente oportunidad para poder practicar y aprender el inglés. Agradezco a los maestros por su paciencia y tiempo para preparar cada clase, las cuales son muy amenas e interesantes. Dios les bendiga.

Alejandra/Alex (Spanish)

English Version:

My experience with ESL classes at Willingdon Church has been very helpful. It has enriched my vocabulary and, of course, it has kept me familiarized with biblical terms and words. For me that is so important to learn the meanings of new words and idioms, to understand better all the messages that God has given us and also learn the correct use of those new words and phrases.

It also has been such a blessing to meet all the wonderful people in the group and of course to share opinions and experiences which make time run very quickly during the classes, because doing so, I think is one of the best ways to build up one another in the group.

I personally think that the ESL program is a very important and useful tool for foreigners in Willingdon church because, attending them, we can be able to create a closer link to the Church and a feeling of being part of the body of Jesus Christ by meeting people with similar interests and with the most important thing which is to thirst and hunger after God’s Word and Holy Spirit.


Spanish Version:

Mi experiencia en las clases de ESL de la Iglesia Willingdon ha sido de mucha ayuda para mi, ya que ha enriquecido mi vocabulario y por supuesto me ha hecho estar más familiarizada con términos y palabras bíblicas. Esto es muy importante para mí porque aprendo el significado de nuevas palabras y modismos que me ayudan a entender mejor los mensajes que Dios nos ha dado en su Palabra.  Además aprendo a usar correctamente estas nuevas palabras y frases.

También ha sido de gran bendición conocer a toda la gente maravillosa en mi grupo de ESL y desde luego compartir opiniones y experiencias que además de hacer que el tiempo corra muy rápido en las clases, nos edifica el uno al otro en el grupo.

Personalmente pienso que el programa de ESL en la Iglesia Willington es una herramienta muy importante y útil para extranjeros, porque asistiendo a las clases, podemos ser capaces de crear una mayor y mejor conexión y acercamiento a la Iglesia y sentirnos como parte del cuerpo de Cristo al conocer gente con intereses similares y que también tienen hambre y sed de la Palabra de Dios y de su Espíritu Santo.

Danielle/Dani (Portuguese)

English Version:

I have been part of the Willingdon ESL program for almost two years.  I remember when I started attending, I was afraid of speaking English.  I was very well received by the teacher and friends of the group.  It is wonderful to be with people from different countries and cultures and to know that we are a body in Christ.  The teacher is very kind and helps us on the journey, and has always taken care of us in many ways.  In the ESL class, in addition to the opportunity to study the Bible and learn English, you will find a family.  Today I can communicate more easily and I have gained dear friends.  I am grateful to God for the Willingdon ESL program and for the friends I made there.


Portuguese Version:

Eu faço parte do programa de ESL da Willingdon por quase dois anos.  Lembro-me de quando comecei a frequentar, tinha medo de falar inglês.  Fui muito bem recebida pelo professor e amigos do grupo.  É maravilhoso estar com pessoas de diferentes países e culturas e saber que somos um corpo em Cristo.  O professor é muito gentil e nos ajuda na jornada, e sempre cuida de nós de várias maneiras.  Nas aulas de ESL, além da oportunidade de estudar a Bíblia e aprender inglês, você encontrará uma família.  Hoje consigo me comunicar com mais facilidade e ganhei amigos queridos.  Sou grata a Deus pelo programa de ESL da Willingdon e pelos amigos que fiz lá.


Shinyoung (Korean)

English Version:

My family’s life in Canada began three years ago, and I had to face many problems after I got here. If I faced these problems in my country, I could easily solve them, but the language difficulties made me feel like a child who didn’t know anything. Even in simple conversations, my brain needed time to organize words, and people had to bear with my poor English-speaking skill.

The most urgent thing I had to solve was the language barrier, and while trying to do that, I got to know Willingdon Church and started to attend services and ESL classes. The teachers were very kind and generous in helping me not to be afraid to make mistakes when speaking, listening, reading and writing English. I was able to continue studying English with their help

After the COVID-19 outbreak, one day, I heard from my ESL teachers that online classes would be started and I was glad to hear that news. I am learning the Bible through textbooks these days and enjoy classes by sharing daily conversations and prayer requests. They send me emails every week to prepare for online classes. I value my ESL class.


Korean Version:

가족의 캐나다 생활은 3년전에 시작되었고, 나는 이곳에서 지내면서 해결해야  할  많은 문제들에 직면해야 했습니다. 만일  이런 문제를 우리나라에서 직면한다면 간단히 해결할 수 있는 일이지만 언어의 어려움은 저를 아무것도 모르는 아이처럼 만들었습니다.  간단한 대화에서 조차도 나의 두뇌는 단어들을 정리할 시간이 필요했고 사람들은 이런 나의 미숙한 영어를 감당해야만 했습니다.

내가 가장 시급하게 해결해야 할 것은  언어의 장벽이 였고, 이것를 해결하기 위해 애쓰는 중에,  저는 윌링던 교회를 알게 되어 예배와 ESL 커뮤니티에 참석했습니다. 선생님들은 매우 친절하고 너그러웠고, 제가 영어를 말하고, 듣고, 읽고, 쓸 때 실수하는 것을 두려워하지 않도록 도와주었습니다. 저는 그들의 도움으로 영어 공부를 계속 할 수 있었습니다.

가 발생한 후, 어느 날에 ESL 선생님으로부터 온라인으로 금요일에 수업이 시작된다는 것을 들었고 저는 이 소식을 듣고 기뻤습나다. 저는 요즘 교재를 통해 성경의 역사를 배우고 있고 일상적인 대화와 기도 요청을 서로 나누며 수업을 즐기고 있습니다. 그들은 온라인 수업준비를 위해 나에게 매주 이메일을 보내줍니다. 그리고 그 수업은 저에게 소중합니다.

Connie (Chinese)

English Version (Translated to English by ESL teacher):

Dear teachers, classmates and friends, I am Connie, a student of the ESL 2A class at Willingdon Church. I am from China. I am pleased to share with you my learning experience and gains from the ESL program. I started to take ESL classes two years ago at Willingdon Church. My first class was taught bilingually, in Chinese and English, meant for beginners with Chinese language background. My teacher LC was very kind, conscientious and responsible. The students liked her class very much. The learning atmosphere in the class was very positive, and Teacher LC’s flexible teaching methods helped me to progress greatly in my English proficiency, especially with my listening and speaking. To this day, I still keep in touch with my classmates and teacher on WeChat like friends.

Then the global COVID pandemic hit us in the spring of 2020, and many programs and events had to be cancelled. Thankfully, I learned from Teacher LC’s WeChat that during the pandemic, Willingdon Church would not stop the ESL program, but would continue to offer ESL classes online instead. I really appreciated her letting me know, so I could continue to learn English with the fall term ESL classes in September. This time I wanted to try an English-only (not bilingual) Beginner level class. Initially, I was still a little hesitant. Can I keep up in an all-English class? Well, this anxiety quickly disappeared.

The current Teacher LE is also a good teacher who is amiable, responsible, and flexible with her teaching methods. Her persuasive, creative and meticulous teaching methods made me feel at ease with the English language. My fellow classmates all participate energetically, following Teacher LE’s instruction, practicing listening and speaking skills with commonly used dialogues. Together we learned many new vocabularies. During this semester, I learned a variety of commonly used dialogues in life: such as daily greetings, numbers, calendars, four seasons, directions to places, making appointments, human body parts, and useful knowledge on protection against the new Corona virus. More importantly, through the short Bible stories, I not only mastered more English vocabulary, but also learned and comprehended more knowledge in the Bible, which made me more interested in seeking spirituality. The result from this one semester is indeed rich and rewarding. Now I can understand most of the English prayers said by Pastor and Teacher before and after class.

I really like the ESL classes at Willingdon Church, and I appreciate the hard work of the teachers. The next semester will start soon and I look forward to it. I will continue with the current class, in order to learn more English and the Bible, so that I can use English to gain a deeper understanding and closer relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is God who gave me such a wonderful learning experience. It is God who sent good teachers like angels to teach us English. Thank you and praise our beloved Father Abba for His daily grace! Amen!


Chinese Version:

亲爱的老师,同学和朋友们,我是威灵顿教会ESL 2A班的学员Connie,我是从中国来的。很高兴和大家一起分享和见证我在威灵顿教会ESL英语班学习的心得和收获。前两年我就在ESL上过课,是双语的,我的老师非常和蔼可亲,认真,负责任,同学们都非常喜欢她的课,班上的学习气氛浓厚,老师灵活的教学方法使我的英语水平,尤其是听说方面,取得了很大的进步。至今我还与这班的同学和老师像朋友一样保持着微信联系。从老师的微信得知,在疫情期间威灵顿教会并没有放弃ESL的教学,开设了多个不同水平的网上远程教育的英文课,我又能够继续我的英文学习了,真的衷心感谢她。我现在已经可以在全英文的教学环境下学习了,刚开始时,我还有些犹豫,我能跟得上吗?但现在的老师也是一位和蔼可亲,认真负责,教学方法灵活多样的好老师。她循循善诱,严谨细致,不厌其烦的教学方法使我一点都没有压力,学员们都精神饱满,全神贯注的跟着老师的节奏互动、练习听力和口语对话,并学到许多新词汇。仅在这一个学期,我已学习了到生活中常用的各种知识,比如,日常问候,数字,日历,四季,认路,预约,身体的各部位,还有对新冠病毒的防护知识。更重要的是透过几个圣经小故事,我不单掌握到更多英文词汇,还学习和领会到圣经里的知识,令我兴趣盎然,意犹未尽。仅仅一个学期收获确是丰富的,现在牧师和老师的课前课后祷告,我都能听懂大部分了。我真的太喜欢威灵顿教会的ESL班,也太喜欢老师们辛勤的付出。下学期是2021年的1月8号开学,我期待着,我还是要继续现时的课,学习更多的英文技能和圣经知识,可以进一步用英文深刻的认识和靠近主耶和华。是上帝使我有这样美好的学习经历,是上帝派遣如天使般的好老师来教授我们英文。感谢赞美敬爱的阿爸天父!我们每天每日都得着您的恩典!阿门!