Last Sabbath, April 17, 2021, Ontario Conference leaders officiated the merger of two established Scarborough-area congregations into one. President Mansfield Edwards, Treasurer Virene Meikle, Ministerial Director Damson Oppong and Chief Auditor Egberth Jeffers joined Pastor Leonard Northe and members as Toronto North and Salem Company became Ephesus.
The day’s theme was “To God Be the Glory,” as 40 in-person and 80 online attendees celebrated how God has led the two churches over the years and the greater work He will do as they join forces. Undoubtedly, the united congregation will reach more individuals with the message of Jesus as they capitalize on each church’s strengths. For instance, as an older congregation, Toronto North offers more financial stability; Salem offers manpower, youth and vitality. Furthermore, they chose the name Ephesus to signify a fresh start, a return to their first love.
This day was a long-time coming. Over the last few years, Salem and Toronto North members grew closer as they held joint communion services and evangelistic programs. Eventually, Toronto North’s building was put up for sale, and they began worshipping together in November 2019. The program on the 17th made things official. The mid-day service program was planned by the church board, with founding members of both churches contributing a historical sketch.
Attendees learned that both Salem and Toronto North arose in response to community needs. In 1998, Sis. Sylvia Mead-Alexander and Brother Arnold Dawkins (deceased) were instrumental in helping to establish a branch Sabbath School that became Salem Company in 2005. They aimed to expand God’s work in the Eastern part of the vineyard. In 2002, members of Scarborough and surrounding churches determined that a congregation was needed in the troubled Malvern area and formed Toronto North as a branch Sabbath School. Toronto North graduated to church status in 2009. Ephesus will continue the much-needed work in the Eastern region.
In his first message as the shepherd of Ephesus Church, Pastor Northe stated, “All of us have seen two rivers flowing smoothly and quietly along until they meet. When this happens, they clash and hurl themselves at one another. However, as the newly formed river flows downstream, it gradually quiets down, flows smoothly again and joins to form one new river. And now it is broader and more majestic and has more power. So it is in forming a new union. At first this venture is turbulent and stormy, with unsettled issues. Sometimes selfishness and control are prevalent. But when oneness is achieved, the result is far greater than either alone.”
Click here if you are interested in viewing the program. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nhPdbuwYss)