Did you know that the church doors of St. Andrew’s are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday and that many other events often take place there on a Saturday?
Did you think that it was a beautiful old building that only opens its doors on a Sunday?
My friend, you could not be more wrong!
Most weeks the building itself is in use 7 days a week almost all year round – and that’s the way the congregation likes it.
St. Andrew’s today is a living church. Its congregation, drawn from across the city, represents the diversity of Toronto. Presbyterianism at St. Andrew’s crosses cultural, educational and social boundaries. The congregation is united by a common commitment to worship and to community service. This commitment is reflected in the St. Andrew’s mission statement – “The people of St. Andrew’s are called by God to serve in faith, hope and love in the heart of Toronto” – a commitment to minister to the needs of the wide variety of people who live and work in the downtown area.
Today’s efforts follow a long and proud tradition in the area of social action. The period up to the First World War was a time of energetic community pioneering by St. Andrew’s. At its Nelson Street Institute – the first of its kind in Canada – it conducted educational work among the waves of new immigrants and the urban poor. Its Holiday House on Lake Simcoe gave needy children a chance to escape the summer city heat and its Penny Bank – later a government institution – gave families their first chance to save their earnings.
Unfortunately, similar efforts are still needed in today’s Toronto, and especially in its downtown core. From AA Meetings, to English Lessons for newcomers, from Breakfasts & Suppers for those in need, to Refugee Support Initiatives, the building and its members offer support, encouragement and access to the day to day practical needs of keeping body and soul together. So once again St. Andrew’s is taking its place in ministry to a growing city.