Psalm 78 tells God’s people to remember and tell others what the Lord has done so that a future generation would also know and put their confidence and trust in Him and not forget His works or commands.
If you are familiar with Lindsay Reynold’s book Footprints1 and/or have taken the Alliance History and Thought course, you will know the strong history of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) in Canada. Here is a short refresher: In 1887 A.B. Simpson came to Toronto with the four-fold Gospel message: Jesus as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. This movement with the help of the indomitable Pastor John Salmon grew and on November 6, 1887, the first public church services of the C&MA took place at Wolseley Hall, corner of Gerard and Yonge Street in Toronto, ON. This church community Pastor John Salmon established became known in 1893 as Bethany Tabernacle.2
First Alliance Church of Metropolitan Toronto grew out of these rich beginnings and has been the fragrant aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ at the corners of Huntingdale Blvd, Bridletowne Circle and Finch Ave East since 1977.
From 1949 to the mid-1970s we had been the Alliance Tabernacle on Yonge Street but in the early 1970s the members voted to move to the Scarborough area and build new. A godly man and developer named McClintock sold property in the 1970s to several churches in the area of Scarborough because he wanted the Christian church to be well represented amidst all the new development. On October 14, 1974 we received the title for land for just $2. Originally we were slotted to get a different piece of land located nearby, but the church who was to get our present property asked if we would swap with them as this property was the smallest. Our then agreeable leaders said okay and this decision in the long run turned out to be a significant blessing to us from the Lord.
Of all the churches which received property from McClintock in this area, only our property had the unforeseen opportunity to purchase additional adjoining land. In the late 1980s when Hydro decided to dismantle their electricity towers and lines and sell their property, under the leadership of Pastor Ross Ingram (1984-2000) and our then elders’ board, we were able to purchase the land for just over one million dollars. Now we own 3.3 acres of prime real-estate, and under the leadership of Pastor Bruce Edwards (1997-2014), a courageous elders board, a strong building committee, many volunteers plus through the faithful giving of our people we were able to expand and renovate from 2009 to 2011 parts of our facility of which presently we, plus two other C&MA churches, and many groups, use almost non-stop.
Every time I tell this our story of how we came to be at this location my heart wells up in thanksgiving and praise to God for all He has orchestrated, and for wise and courageous men and women who sought the Lord’s vision and stayed the course to accomplish His plans and purposes. I thank God for our present pastors, elders, and leaders and pray they will be men and women of God who continue to seek the Lord and do His will. I ask our Heavenly Father to keep providing ongoing godly leaders because the task is not finished, and that our churches will be a light to the nations until Jesus Christ returns.
The First Alliance Church Vision Prayer is, “God, our Father, make us a body of people so transformed and empowered by Your Word and Spirit that our communities, nation, and world will see and know Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
The C&MA Vision Prayer is, “O God, with all our hearts, we long for You. Come, transform us to be Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, Mission-focused people, multiplying disciples everywhere.”
As we faithfully pray these two Vision Prayers, we look forward with eager anticipation and high expectation to all God is going to do in and through this His body of believers.
1 Lindsay Reynolds, Footprints: The Beginnings of the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada, The C&MA in Canada, 1982.
2 Lindsay Reynolds, Smidgens of our Heritage: First Alliance Church of Metropolitan Toronto. Booklet published by First Alliance Church for their 100 year celebration, Nov 1987.
Lynda and her husband, Bryan, have been part of First Alliance Church (FAC) Toronto since the early 1980s. Lynda and Bryan have two sons. Lynda works at FAC as the Lead Ministry Administrator, she loves communicating church history as living history and is eager to call each new generation to faithfully serve Jesus.