Expanding Ministry

by Barry Parker, Rector

Posted on October 3, 2017

St. Paul’s Bloor Street (SPBS) has a long history of seeing needs and striving to meet those ministry needs. When the Diocese of Toronto recently asked us to collaborate with them in rebuilding a strategic congregation located reasonably close to SPBS, we saw this as an opportunity to re-energize another historic, faithful church in the heart of the City.

St. George the Martyr (SGTM) located at 197 John Street, is nestled on the south end of Grange Park between the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). At the end of 2016 this congregation requested the Diocese take over administration of the church, and take charge of rebuilding the congregation in numerous ways. Our own Executive Pastor, Joyce Badley, has been the SGTM Diocesan Administrator since early spring to make this rejuvenation possible. Along with Nadia Smid, a member of SPBS, they have been stabilizing and assisting SGTM to begin the transition to renewing a robust and vital ministry. This was the first step.

As SPBS is considered one of the best examples of a dynamic and growing congregation with incredible resources, the second step came this summer when we were asked to make SGTM a mission of SPBS. We accepted this exciting opportunity as we long to see effective and transformative ministry flourishing in our city. That means SGTM is now run by a Board of Management with the Rector of SPBS as Chair and Incumbent (Senior Minister) of SGTM. The Board is a competencies-based Board comprised of members from SPBS and SGTM.

You will rightly wonder about the impact on the current ministry of SPBS. We do not anticipate any changes to our ministry, only collaborations and synergies that will enhance the ministry of both SPBS and SGTM. The Diocesan leadership is enthusiastically supporting this initiative. Our student intern, Orvin Lao, is the Lay Pastoral Associate of SGTM and the Clergy of SPBS will serve as Priest at their Communion services once per month. We are also internally reorganizing ministry roles to enhance and amplify our effectiveness at both SPBS and SGTM. It is our vision to rebuild SGTM into a sustainable, thriving congregation that will be self-supporting in all facets. Hence, we see this as an opportunity to contribute to broader Kingdom ministry in downtown Toronto, until SGTM is back on its feet.

Along with our SPBS Trustees and the rest of our staff team, I am excited about the possibilities for ministry in the City. Please pray for this ministry opportunity. You will be hearing more about this exciting new initiative at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, October 22nd.

Stay tuned!