The words above are from a flyer printed in November 1925 to announce the call to the first minister of Eglinton and Bedford Park Presbyterian Church. The Rev. H.E. Abraham was inducted to the pastoral charge on December 3, in a service held at St. Clement’s Anglican Church.
From its birth in January to the induction in December 1925 the congregation of E&BPPC relied on ministers from the Presbytery of Toronto and beyond, to preach at morning and evening services at the Capitol Theatre. Due to the shortage of ministers after Church Union was consummated on June 10, 1925, continuing Presbyterian clergy were run off their feet. Why? Because people like the founders of E&BPPC were eager to move forward.
The newly-elected elders and managers led the congregation, as did the willing women and men who established two Sunday Schools right away, and those who would form the congregation’s chapter of the Women’s Missionary Society. Musicians came forward to form an orchestra to lead the singing at the Capitol. The crucial first ten months of the congregation’s life were overseen by its members, with a little help from busy ministers.
The records we have at Glenview from those early days all reflect the hope and enthusiasm expressed in the quote above.
What can we learn from the faith of the founders, some of whose descendants are members of Glenview today? Can we find lessons for today’s leaders, and potential leaders of our congregation?
· They trusted God. They believed they were answering God’s call to move forward, not simply to preserve what had been before 1925.
· They gave generously to their congregation: money, time, talents, the use of their homes for business meetings and times of fellowship.
· They were excited about creating something new. They formed a Building Committee early, but took their time to get it right. They settled in a new neighbourhood, on the growing edge of the city.
· They adapted to meet their pressing needs. Whose idea was it to ask the managers of the Capitol Theatre to allow the congregation to move in? Presbyterians, meeting in a place that showed movies! Imagine that! Yes, at least some of the founders had lively imaginations.
· They believed God was working among and through them, not just for the good of continuing Presbyterians, but for all God’s people.
The best way to celebrate this congregation’s anniversary is to learn from the founders. The best way to move forward into the uncertain future all congregations face is to emulate the founders’ trust in God, generosity, excitement, adaptive spirit, and imagination. Believe it! God is working among and through us, not just for our good, but for the good of all.