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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Toronto


The world is certainly changing. That statement won’t come as a surprise to anybody, since at times it feels as if change is the one true constant in our world.

What has me thinking about that this morning is the continually evolving presence of Community of Christ in the city of Toronto. I am by no means an expert on the history of the church in the city, but I do know that only a few generations ago there was one downtown church on Soho street, and a small northern mission on Sudan Avenue, "way up North" in the Mount Pleasant and Eglington area. To the West was the Humber Bay “branch”, and out in the country, way to the Northwest, stood the old Woodbridge church. Soho Street was eventually sold and replaced by a brand new presence on Bathurst Street, and the North Toronto group joined in. This new building was built in stages and I believe was not finally completed until the 1960s.

In the optimistic period of the 1950s and ‘60s, the city of Toronto rapidly expanded into the suburban areas, and so did the church. New “missions” were established in Scarborough, Downsview, Cooksville and Oshawa, and a new church was contructed in Woodbridge. By 1970 we had six congregations in the so called Greater Toronto Area; Toronto (Bathurst Street), Scarborough, Willowdale, Woodbridge, Etobicoke and Mississauga, all with good, solid, and mostly new buildings. The Oshawa group continued to meet sporadically with the members eventually joining Scarborough.

In the latter part of the 20th century, the post-WWII optimism of the church was confronted by the unforeseen reality of the so called “post-Christian era”. Increasingly empty pews led to a period of consolidation. A much smaller Willowdale made the decision to sell the building and become a house church. The three congregations on the West side of the city, Mississauga, Etobicoke, and Woodbridge, decided to amalgamate and form one stronger unit, now known as GTA-West. This congregation is currently in the process of searching for a new location where they can be effective in their mission, and positively impact the larger community for Christ.

The recent rapid growth of Toronto’s population has seen an insistent demand for housing, especially along the subway routes. A few years ago, Toronto’s downtown congregation began to be approached by developers seeking to buy the property for a condominium site. While such approaches were initially rebuffed, the high cost of maintaining and heating the big building eventually led to a deal, and another change began. As the end of 2011 nears, the congregation is still using the old building but is in the process of planning for a new future; perhaps as part of the new condominium. Once again, the question to be answered is, “How can we best fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ in this community?” This small group of faithful disciples is working to discern the answers.

In Canada’s largest city, the presence of Community of Christ continues to evolve. Currently we have three congregations, Scarborough, Toronto, and GTA-West. All three are working to be about their mission. In this, they follow the example of Jesus who said it best so many years ago;
“I must be about my father’s business.” (Luke 2:49).

2 comments:

  1. I have always loved the Bathurst Street Church building. Such a lovely interior with beautiful wood staircases. Has it been sold now?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it has been sold but transfer of posession does not happen until the city issues a building permit for the new condo. That will probably be sometime within 2012.

    Carman

    ReplyDelete