A Re-Building for Impact
To construct again, to restore – this is the mandate of Toronto Alliance Church (TAC). It was spoken about a city in Scripture and it is our story. “You will rebuild the ancient ruins…” (Isaiah 61:4) The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada began right here in this community in Toronto just over a hundred years ago. That foundation is still there waiting to be re-built.
We want to rebuild. We want to restore. That is the vision God has given us.
It’s imperative for the development of this work downtown that we find a significantly larger building – one that will contain this vision that God has put on our hearts.
We believe that there is a call from God to rebuild the church in the urban core.
100 years ago, the Alliance had a remarkable presence in the urban core of Toronto. By any standards, their life and ministry were admirable.
They “tramped the lanes and alleys (sometimes in the dead of night), feeding the poor, praying over the sick, comforting the sad, counseling the frustrated, and encouraging the unfortunate… They established the Toronto Mission Union in 1884 which, at its zenith, operated five mission halls, a senior citizens home, a convalescent home and Toronto’s first home nursing service… In Bethany Home, people in material, physical and spiritual distress were ministered to at no cost. Bethany Workingman’s Home housed, fed and preached the gospel to ninety men each night… They turned a brawling billiards hall into a renowned Alliance missions centre.”
Excerpts taken from Lindsay Reynolds, Footprints (p.89, 214, 290, 330, 332)
The Ruins – Sadly, the strong beginning of the Alliance was not sustained after the turn of the century. Various issues contributed to the collapse. Among them were a broken gentlemen’s agreement, lack of leadership development, expropriated properties, and outreach at the expense of the church’s health. By 1920, nothing remained in the downtown. Buildings were sold. The Alliance regrouped, moved northward, spread all across Canada and to many nations. Yet downtown, the work was gone.
The Re-building – Moving back into the urban core, First Alliance Church, with the help of the Eastern Canadian District, planted Toronto Alliance Church in 1992. Public meetings were held in homes and then into a school. And finally in 2002, a 4000 square ft. space was rented at Queen and Bathurst – up the stairs at 602 Queen Street West.
Toronto Alliance Church became a church of the community as folks from the downtown made the church their own. In addition, many moved downtown in order to participate in the work. Ministries among the needy mushroomed and steadily, the church has grown. Permanence in the heart of the city, though difficult, is critical to our mission. With God’s help, this church will always be here – not just existing but thriving.
What kind of a building are we looking for?
We need a building that is…
- In Parkdale in the southwest end of downtown Toronto
- On or very near Queen Street
- A large worship space
- On the Street level
- Adaptable space suitable for multi-purpose use
- Commercial kitchen
- Office space
- Additional Wish list: a recreational area, storage for food bank and clothing, housing for interns, parking, café area
Why in Parkdale?
This is a return to our roots. About 100 years ago, the Alliance had a significant presence in Parkdale for 25 years. Our first steps as a denomination in Canada were taken here in Parkdale and downtown Toronto! Now we see this area as strategic because…
- Response to a call from God. This was discerned in a 21-day season of prayer and fasting as a church.
- High rate of poverty. Our calling historically as a church has been to be near the poor and needy.
- Where the nations gather. This is one of the most multi-cultural communities in the city and a first stop for newcomers to Canada.
- Where our outreaches have been centred. We have initiated and grown many ministries in south Parkdale in recent years.
What are Our Next Steps?
Re-Building a Worshipping People
Church leadership is preparing for a strong congregation able to sustain growth in Parkdale. The initiative needs a strong, mature church, able to stand firm and take on greater works of service.
Developing Ministries in Parkdale
We do outreach in Parkdale schools, homes, rented facilities, soccer fields, parks, etc. Now we also lead our Sunday ministries in a rented church there. It is clear to all that we need a permanent space of our own there.
The Board of TAC is being represented by the Re-build Committee as it works to prepare the funding partners, the financial model, search for available properties, obtain the mortgage needed, etc. and all things regarding an eventual property purchase.
Capital Campaign Promotion
Speaking in churches regarding the work and vision of the church continues, communicating with donors, and presenting to interested individuals is leading to the partnered support needed to realize this vision.