Our Church's History
This is a brief history of Faith Baptist Church and the faith of our forefathers.
Lawrence Avenue Baptist Church was started in March 1957 by two couples, Pastor and Mrs. F. Hulse and Mr. and Mrs. K. Stubbs. In that year Toronto was growing eastward and Orton Park was a new subdivision.
The work began as a Fellowship Church in the G.B. Little Public School. By the spring of 1958 a small nucleus of believers had been joined by forty members from the West Hill church and purchased a piece of land on Lawrence Avenue East across from Mossbank Road for ten thousand dollars.
The church was recognized on October 10, 1958 with twenty-seven charter members. In 1963 the church building was begun and dedicated in the month of March, 1967. For those who are alert it was also Canada’s Centennial year.
Pastor Hulse was ordained in February 22, 1962 in the small bungalow that occupied the future site of the church. He and the members worked hard to build the church and establish the congregation. Materials were gathered from industrial sites and wherever seconds could be found. It was a true do it yourself church building project.
The congregation grew and the new building was filled often to capacity accompanied by much church activity not only on Sunday but throughout the week. There were morning and evening worship services, Sunday School in the afternoon, and busses to pick up the neighourhood children, prayer meetings and ladies mission circles. In May of 1972 Pastor Hulse resigned from the pastorate and Pastor Henry Ford became the interim minister until September of 1973. Not to be confused with the Henry Ford of Detroit.
The strain on Pastor Hulse in getting the church started had begun to show as the church struggled with low revenues, plus the building project required much physical labour on his part, added to his preaching duties and visitation. In the meantime, in the Fall of 1973 the head of the Fellowship, Timothy Starr, suggested an amalgamation between Highland Baptist and Lawrence Avenue as Highland Baptist had no building and land costs had risen considerably. Lawrence Avenue Baptist Church received new members and six thousand dollars from the disbanded Highland Baptist Church. In the interests of both congregations the name was changed to Faith Baptist Church.
In February of 1975, the church clerk M. Reed wrote, “A new pastor, Rev. Donald Perkins was called after much prayer on the part of the church and also on the Pastor’s part and we knew that the choice was of God because the church had continued a steady and sound growth from then until the present time.”
In April of 1976 Pastor Perkins resigned his post at Faith to accept a call to a church in Lindsay. For a year the church was without a pastor until July 1977 when the Rev. R. Kimball and family came from New York, U.S.A. to pastor a growing congregation. The minutes record that, “We praise God for His provision in this matter as we have already been much blessed by Pastor Kimball’s sermons and his untiring efforts on behalf of the members and those who are brought in touch with our church. We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to bless Pastor Kimball and his wife and four children, and make them a blessing to the work of this church” (minutes by clerk M. Reed, 1977).
Clerk Reed also reminds us that Faith Baptist had a strong interest in missions, supporting over eleven missionaries by the year 1977 and he adds, “it was from this church the Miss Eileen Dillon was sent to sing for H.C.J,B. in Quito, Ecuador. She is now in her forth term.”
Years 1977- 1982
These were the years of Rev. Kimball’s ministry at Faith Baptist. One interesting note, according to church minutes recorded on Wednesday, October 26, 1977 Pastor Kimball read a letter requesting the transfer of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Urquhart to become the Pastor at First Baptist Church in Dryden, Ontario. Who would have thought that many years later Dryden would return a favor and send a Dryden boy (Pastor Brian Robinson), born and bred, and converted by the grace of God in that church, to the church here at Faith? Our dear sister in the Lord, Mrs. Margaret MacDonald seconded the letter. The minutes show she was a real seconder and like her life always ready to assist. No one who knew Margaret MacDonald will ever forget her cheerful ways and earnest love for Christ’s Kingdom and his redeemed ones. Mrs. MacDonald passed away in 2004 in Peterborough and was buried from Faith Baptist and surrounded by the church family she loved so much.
Months of April 1982 to December 1982
Although Pastor Kimball resigned in November 1981 he stayed on until March of 1982. It was during the year 1981 that a young person who is now the deacon here at Faith was Baptized. The record reads that on December 23, 1981, “Mr. Huntington and Mr. McKenney interviewed Gary Thompson and were impressed by his testimony. He had professed faith in Christ six years ago, but was not satisfied with his life. He was quite clear in regard to his need for baptism and Mr. Huntingdon recommended that he be baptized. Seconded, by Mrs. MacDonald.” Gary and his brother, Michael were two (amongst many others) of the blessed results of the once flourishing Bus ministry here at Faith. Both he and his brother were baptized here and both continue to work actively in their respective churches. In 2008 Gary’s eldest daughter was baptized at Faith and in 2009 his youngest daugther. So thanks to the faith of our fathers we see the hand of our blessed God at work in the lives of those who live in this community from generation to generation.
It was in this year, 1982, two men, Mr. Paul Russell, and Pastor W.J. Hubbard, who filled the pulpit and supplied the leadership and preparation for a new Pastor, until such time as one should be called. But things were also changing at Faith, in Scarborough. Many of those who had moved into East Toronto were of British descent, with church backgrounds and a long history of Christian teaching. But the neighbourhood was changing with people coming from many countries of different religions. How to reach those who neither spoke the language while looking upon Christianity with suspicion or contempt became the question? Many of the early inhabitants, who had made their homes in Scarborough, when the church was founded, now moved across the 401 highway and found church homes in Churchill Heights (now Morningstar) and Bayfair Baptist, in Pickering. The congregation had dwindled and according to minutes of November 1978 in that year thirty-eight members were taken off the rolls. The diminished congregation was what the next Pastor had to face as the church struggled to keep itself alive.
Pastor Ted Angrove (April 1983 – November 05, 1997)
Pastor Angrove and his wife Audrey and three children came from the beautiful county of Price Edward where he was pasturing a small congregation in Picton, Ontario. One must assume to leave Prince Edward and come to Scarborough it had to be of the Lord. It was at a duly called business meeting on December 15, 1982, chaired by Mr. Huntington, and for the purpose of calling Pastor Angrove to Faith as the new Pastor the church met. It is interesting to see the questions that were asked at this meeting. Someone said that he talked too fast and might he slow down. The answer was that Pastor Angrove was a little nervous. “Why was a man of his age looking for a new position?” The committee gave this assessment, “He is an enthusiastic man, has a sense of humour, and well studied man, and is a fast thinker on his feet.”
In the Annual Meeting of 1983 Pastor Angrove gave this assessment of his ministry. “You are by now aware that I put a very high value and strong emphasis on that old and indivisible trio, - theology or doctrine, the exposition of Holy Scripture, and evangelistic aim.” To these principles Pastor Angrove steadfastly adhered to and the church steadied under his ministry. He was fourteen years in the pulpit at Faith and passed away to glory still in service to Christ his King. He introduced the church to the reformed doctrines of grace but not without difficulty. At one point he feared he might have to resign but with diligence and prayer God steadied the ship and the church became solidly reformed in its commitment to the doctrines of grace. It was due to his steadfast labours that the church continues to maintain that “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). His wife Mrs. Audrey Angrove continues to serve here at Faith and carries on the vision established by her husband in faithfulness to the Scriptures and our Lord Jesus Christ who is head of this church. We continue to appreciate her quiet faithfulness and encouragement in the things of our God.
July, 1998 -
Well now it is my turn to take the stage. In July of 1998 I left London, Ontario with my wife Kathleen and became the Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. After twenty five years of ministry in London I was certainly due for a change. We were accompanied by our daughter Leah while our son Mark was already a member of the congregation. As I look at the year 1998 I wonder, as the others that have gone before, what year will follow the hyphen. At the moment our time at Faith is in the hands of the Lord. I was a good friend of brother Ted Angrove and was asked to take his funeral service at Faith (November, 1997) never realizing that it would lead to a call from the congregation, itself.
As I took my duties here at Faith it was with much fear and trembling. Not so much for myself but for the church itself. How could I help build a church in a very difficult part of Toronto? But I found a faithful congregation willing to work and pray and in time settled into one of the happiest times of my ministry. I have now been here ten years and if the Lord wills, and the congregation remains content, who knows how much ministry is left in me? But trusting our God, who is faithful, when the torch is passed our Lord will continue to shepherd His own.
God has proved himself faithful over and over again to the saints here at Faith. In reading the minutes of the church one sees the ups and downs of church life. There are those who were baptized and who have gone out from us and have returned to the world. Others have remained steadfast and are now serving here and in other parts of God’s vineyard. Reading between the lines one sees the struggles and anguish of the church as it sought to serve the Lord. Yes, there was sin and disappointment. Satan was active in seeking to destroy Christ’s light in this corner of the world. But there was joy and victory. Souls were saved and are being saved. The community is touched by individual lives lived to the glory of God and the ministry of the congregation as a whole. Missionaries are being supported in outposts of Europe and Africa while Christ is preached, crucified, risen and coming again. And as the people of God, Faith Baptist Church remains faithful to an infallible, and inerrant Word of God, and while we have not reached the perfection we long for in Christ, the anchor remains firm and steadfast (Heb.6:19).
Pastor Brian A. Robinson,
The year of our Lord,
January 30, 2009