175th Anniversary Message From the Archbishop


Posted on June 7, 2017

A Message from The Most Rev. Colin R. Johnson, Archbishop of Toronto

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

John Macquarrie, a 20th C. Scottish theologian who taught at Oxford, wrote that God is everywhere, not confined to church building. But, he added, without having certain places set apart to acknowledge God’s presence in the midst of the community, then in the popular mind, God ceases to be recognised anywhere.

The celebration of the 175th anniversary of St. Paul’s is a remarkable milestone. The buildings are magnificent but we know that they only point to the greater glory of God. The anniversary of a parish does not idolize the buildings but recognises the mission of the community that gathers in those buildings. It is the vibrant people of faith we recall today – those who gather today and those who have preceded us whose lively faith has been a model for ours. We come to worship God as he is revealed in Jesus Christ, to read and pray the Scriptures, to celebrate the sacraments that draw us closer to the life of Christ, to learn and deepen our faith so that we can engage more fully in an active life of service to others in the name of Jesus and with the strength of the Holy Spirit. We gather in these buildings to be sent out into God’s world empowered for the mission he prepares for us there.

This parish has been a beacon of the Good News that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection changes lives and changes the world. Through the witness of great leaders, lay and ordained, and by the living example of ordinary parishioners, you have had a remarkable impact on multitudes of people whose lives have been transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ. You have influenced the life of the city around you. You continue to make a remarkable contribution to the life of our Diocese through your mission work locally and internationally, the vocations to ordained ministry you nurture, and especially the exemplary training and support you give to build up effective, articulate Christian lay leadership. In this you epitomize an evangelical parish in the very best of that great tradition.

It is my delight as Archbishop to thank and congratulate you, on behalf of the 200 parishes of the Diocese of Toronto, for your witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to pray for your continued ministry. I look forward to joining you for worship on Sunday.

Yours faithfully,

The Most Rev. Colin R. Johnson

Archbishop of Toronto