Ontario Conference News


Ontario Conference News (OCN) 

Thursday, August 10, 2023 

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UPDATE: Ontario Conference Continues to Show Compassion to Refugees Amidst Crisis

As Ontario grapples with an ongoing refugee crisis, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taken a proactive role in making a tangible difference in the lives of refugees. Pastor Andrew King, the Director of Compassion Ministries at the Ontario Conference, sheds light on the church's continuing efforts to aid those affected by the crisis.

Pastor King, working closely with his team, has been rallying resources and support from various churches. Every week, essential food and toiletries that have been generously donated by different congregations are delivered by the vanload to address the urgent needs of the refugees and asylum seekers. Recently, Pastor King assessed the conditions firsthand at two major locations in Toronto: Revivaltime Tabernacle on Dufferin Street and Dominion Church International on Shepherd Avenue.

"It breaks my heart to see these people, looking for a new life in this great country, living in such conditions," Pastor King expressed with genuine concern. He was referring to the dire circumstances faced by over 200 individuals living temporarily in the churches, many sleeping on the floor. With Toronto's government shelters operating at maximum capacity, refugees have been turned away since June. While those seeking asylum through federal programs can't get help until their claims are fully processed; leaving people stuck in limbo with nowhere to sleep.

As the government works to move refugees from churches into hotels as a temporary solution, Pastor King emphasized the Ontario Conference's commitment to continue to offer these individuals support to, “Help give these people a sense of dignity in a very difficult situation.”

Pastor King expressed his gratitude for the GTA Federation of Community Services, a group of Adventist Churches working together to support those in need. He also thanked all the individual churches around the Conference that have been actively supporting those in need through prayer, financial aid, and material support. These efforts are crucial in ensuring that basic living necessities are met and that the suffering of the refugees is alleviated.

Despite the tremendous efforts of churches to provide necessities, the demand still outpaces the supply. If you or your church would like to contribute and show the love of Christ by helping others during this crisis, reach out to the Compassion Ministry department at the Conference. “It is best that donations and assistance are coordinated, to ensure specific needs are being met and resources shared appropriately,” said Pastor King. At present, there are four key needs: food and toiletries, sleeping cots so people do not have to sleep on the floor, winter clothing, and volunteers willing to donate their time and expertise. This includes not only helping in the distribution of resources but also people with expertise in counselling and in the immigration process.

As we come ever closer to Jesus, there will be a growing need for churches to show the love of Christ not only through preaching the Word but in demonstrating love and compassion to those in need. We need to be ready. If you would like to volunteer or if your church would like to be connected with your local Adventist Federation of Community Services, the Compassion Ministry department stands ready to assist.

As the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to play an integral role in supporting refugees and asylum seekers during this crisis, the words of Ellen G. White resonate in our present circumstances: "We are to think and care for others who need our love, our tenderness, and care. We should ever remember that we are representatives of Christ and that we are to share the blessings that He gives… for the purpose of bringing brightness into their dreary lives, for the purpose of relieving their poverty and distress…, acting unselfishly and in harmony with the instruction of Christ.” The Review and Herald, November 12, 1895.

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media

Faith, Destiny and Evangelism: Pastor Edwards Celebrates Jamaica's Independence With a Message About Embracing Jesus

Last Sunday, August 6, Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Vice President of Evangelism and Outreach, delivered a thought-provoking message at the 61st annual Jamaica Independence event held at Revivaltime Tabernacle Church in North York, Toronto. The event drew dignitaries from various countries, including the Jamaican High Counsel. Pastor Edwards seized the opportunity to not only celebrate his homeland but to emphasize the central role of God in every nation's story today.

Drawing from Psalm 11:3, which inquires, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Pastor Edwards guided attendees to acknowledge that while political leaders, national heroes, and cultural influences have shaped Jamaica's nationhood, it was the unwavering foundation and belief in God that stood as the bedrock of the nation. He pointed to the prayer embedded in the national anthem and the commitment to God within the national pledge. Since the inception of the nation, schools commenced their days with prayer and worship, imparting values through sayings like "Whether great or small, God created them all," establishing in the minds of generations of youth that God is the Creator of the universe.

Then Pastor Edwards discussed the present reality: "What can the righteous do" when the spiritual values that once fortified the nation are now being eroded? The depth of the question hung heavily as the meaning was clear. Without a relationship with Jesus, there is limited ability to contribute meaningfully to society. He challenged the audience, reminding dignitaries and all that were present of the crucial importance of their relationship with God—the same God that was the cornerstone establishing the nation is the same God that will allow them to make a difference in their country.

Concluding his impassioned address, Pastor Edwards extended a heartfelt appeal, urging individuals to recommit their lives to Jesus and to pass on their spiritual legacy to the next generation. The response to the appeal was powerful. Government officials, business leaders, and others came forward, some with tears in their eyes. Many approached Pastor Edwards afterward, expressing how his words had rekindled their awareness of their urgent need for Jesus in their lives.

Upon reflecting on the event, Pastor Edwards emphasized, "As Adventists, we must shift our perspective on evangelism. The key lies in consistently engaging with our community, showcasing the relevance of our faith in their daily lives. By doing so, we become not only approachable but also relatable. This creates the opportunity to communicate the Adventist message of hope and wholeness through Jesus."

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media

Notes of Restoration: A Special Benefit Concert to Help a Family in Need

This Saturday the 12th of August, a special event is set to unfold at the Scarborough Seventh-day Adventist Church at 7:00 pm. Titled "Jamaica Cries Out for Help," this extraordinary concert aims to lend a helping hand to a family in dire need. Seventh-day Adventist David McLaughlin, a world-renowned saxophonist, came across the heartrending story of a destitute family in Jamaica. The father was murdered during a robbery, leaving behind his disabled wife and children in a state of utter poverty.

"They have no running water," expressed Mr. McLaughlin, his voice full of compassion. "Their current living situation is hardly more than a shack, where the roof exposes them to the elements and basic necessities like running water are absent. The children are forced to use buckets as their bathroom and empty them daily."

Mr. McLaughlin was moved to act. He said the Bible teaches that we must "Learn to do good; Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow," quoting Isaiah 1:17. He resolved to organize a benefit concert that would not only aid in building a proper home for this vulnerable family but also assist the children in accessing education.

When contemplating the venue for this event, Mr. McLaughlin turned to Pastor O'Connor of the Scarborough Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Pastor O'Connor's dedication to helping the community and innovative ideas for outreach made him a natural choice. "This is an important cause and as a church we are happy to help, no strings attached," affirmed Pastor O'Connor. “Events like this benefit concert allow us to forge meaningful connections with our community in a way that goes beyond traditional evangelistic or worship service. It's an opportunity for our neighbours to see us put Jesus' teachings into action." O’Connor emphasized.

The concert has garnered support from corporate sponsors, and the lineup promises an engaging experience for attendees. Pastor Andrew Thomas from Mt. Olive Adventist Church, along with ministers from other denominations, and esteemed figures like Ben Johnson will attend the event. Notably, Dion Flash is set to deliver a musical performance that's sure to captivate the audience. As an exciting bonus, a giveaway for an all-inclusive stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is also on the agenda.

For those who wish to contribute to this noble cause, you can give a donation at the concert or purchase tickets online. Simply visit and search for the concert title "Jamaica Cries Out For Help."

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media

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Ontario Conference
of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Mission
To Reach Ontario and the world
with the distinctive, Christ-centered,
Seventh-day Adventist message
of hope and wholenessThe Vision
Connecting like Jesus

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