Return to Toronto

On the thirtieth anniversary of the initial Week of Prayer in Toronto FPC, the members of the presbytery and some of their families gathered May 13-17. It was the ninth time for the Toronto congregation to host the event. The session and committee and the congregation, under the capable direction of Dr. Larry Saunders, the church’s minister, and Dr. Frank McClelland, the church’s founding minister who is now minister emeritus, burnished its legendary reputation for hospitality. At least once per day and sometimes twice, the church provided a meal for those attending the Week of Prayer and did so with remarkable efficiency and grace.

Rev. Ian Goligher, moderator of the presbytery, greeted those who attended the opening prayer session on the evening of May 13. Among those in attendance in addition to the members of the presbytery were Rev. Dan Greenfield, executive secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, of which the FPCNA is a constituent member, and the Ulster presbytery’s official delegates, Rev. Gordon Dane, moderator of the Ulster presbytery, and Rev. David Priestley. Mr. Priestley, a retired minister, was spending an extended period in Canada to supply the pulpit in the Calgary church. Each of the delegates preached in the prayer sessions during the remainder of the week along with Rev. Derrick Bowman of Winston-Salem, NC, and Rev. Andrew Simpson from Prince George, BC, who was attending his first North American Week of Prayer.

A highlight of the week was a special service in the church on Wednesday evening. There, the presbytery ordained Mr. Jonathan McAnally and installed both him and Mr. Alex Newell as ruling elders in the Toronto church. [Rev. Geoff Banister, the deputy moderator, presided at the service, and Rev. Stephen Pollock, the deputy clerk, delivered the charge to the newly installed elders.] During the presbytery meeting that afternoon, the members acted on the report of the Examination Committee that cleared Mr. Miloš Šolc of the Czech Republic to become a licensed minister in the FPCNA. Following his licensing, the presbytery voted to issue him a call to serve as a missionary in the ongoing work in his native country. The presbytery appointed a special commission to conduct the ordination of Mr. Šolc on the Lord’s Day afternoon following the Week of Prayer.

The Seminary Committee’s report enabled the presbytery to act on advancing the Seminary’s program while Dr. Mark Allison, Seminary president, continues to recover from treatment for his serious illness. The Examination Committee recommended that the presbytery accept under its care two applicants—Mr. Benjamin Thomas from Orlando FPC and Mr. Frank D’Addurno from Barrie FPC.

The presbytery voted to re-elect all of its incumbent officers and to re-appoint both of its assistants. The presbytery heard from the Mission Board the report on the advances toward obtaining better transportation for the use of the mission in Jamaica. The members were glad to renew fellowship with Mr. Richard Craig, a student under care of the presbytery. The Mission Board indicated that Mr. Craig was able to devote more of his time to study and the work of pastoral care for the people who attend the mission work in Jamaica.

After the presbytery adjourned on the afternoon of May 16, the members of the presbytery enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the church building. During that occasion, Rev. Goligher conveyed to the church the appreciation of the presbytery for the warm hospitality that everyone enjoyed. He mentioned specifically the members of the session and committee of the Toronto church and the people who provided the meals throughout the week. The next gathering of the presbytery will occur at the fall Week of Prayer in the FPC of Malvern in Pennsylvania, October 7-11, 2019.

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By David Mook

Rev. David G. Mook is the minister of Phoenix Free Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Arizona. He serves as clerk of the presbytery of the FPCNA, chairman of the Constitutional Documents Committee, and is an adjunct professor in the field of practical theology at Geneva Reformed Seminary.