Tuesday, January 23 started like any other day for Pastor Patterson, lead pastor at Toronto Central Adventist Church. He parked his car at the church for his regular office hours and was surprised by the smell of smoke. He looked up and noticed a hydro transformer sparking. Immediately, Pastor Patterson called Toronto Hydro to shut down the transformer. Looking towards the church, he was shocked to see "water was pouring out from underneath the front door like a river!" Correctly assessing the situation, he made an urgent call to 911. Within minutes, fire trucks arrived on the scene. The firefighters discovered remnants of a fire near the front foyer. The water Pastor Patterson saw earlier was the fire suppression system trying to extinguish flames. The firefighters were able to bring the situation under control quickly.
By the end, the pastoral offices, washrooms, front foyer, and many adjacent areas were flooded. Smoke-damaged building materials were present, while other items were charred beyond repair. In some cases, the firefighters removed additional sections of drywall to ensure no hidden embers would allow a flame to re-ignite.
As of this writing, Fire Inspectors have not determined the cause of the fire. Until repairs are made, Toronto Central Adventist Church will be worshipping online for the next few weeks.
"I praise God that no one was in the building or hurt at the time of the fire." Pastor Patterson shared. "I also see God's hand in helping to save the building." He said. "One of the firefighters told me that when I called 911, his truck just happened to be nearby, allowing them to respond quickly." Also, the damage could have been more severe if Pastor Patterson wasn't there for his regular office hours.
When asked how the GTA Adventist church community can help support Toronto Central, Pastor Patterson said, "We need all of your prayers that our church will be able to open soon as we have a funeral for one of our members scheduled for February 11."
Let's offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for His mercy in limiting the damage to the building. Let us also pray for the congregation to return to in-person worship soon.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
Elders' Roundtable Impact
The first Elders' Roundtable of 2024 occurred last Sabbath afternoon on January 20. Hosted by the Ministerial Secretary department headed by Frankie Lazarus and his associate Raul Gonzalez, nearly 300 elders joined in on Zoom to listen to presentations and engage in group discussions about the direction of local churches in the Conference.
The session started with a devotional from Conference President Jakov Bibulović. He focused on 3 John, emphasizing the importance of church leaders engaging in self-care in their ministry. He also stressed that they need to seek the power of the Holy Spirit to become the role models God wants them to be. That is the only way they can help keep their church on mission, especially in adversity.
Executive secretary Emile Maxi followed the devotion, presenting the Ontario Conference Strategic Plan document. He reminded them that the document reflects comments, thoughts, and ideas given as far back as constituency meeting; he stated that the goal of planting 28 new churches, receiving into fellowship 10,000 new members, empowering leadership, and creating more small groups can only be done with the full engagement of all the leaders and members throughout the Conference. When he asked, "Do you believe increasing our membership by 10,000 is achievable by 2028?" there was a resounding "Amen" in response. One person posted in the chat, "We serve a big God, and nothing is impossible with Him."
The conference treasurer, Virene Meikele, followed this presentation. She provided a financial overview and indicated that God had blessed the Conference with an increased level of offering this year.
After these motivating presentations, participants were put into breakout rooms. They were asked to discuss how they could help create more effective leadership in their church and consider ways to reach the goals outlined in the strategic plans. Discussions were vibrant, and the results would be shared with the Ministerial Secretary.
The Elders Roundtable set a positive tone for the direction of the Conference. Many left motivated and ready to start work. However, success rests not just on the elders and pastors but also on your participation. You can download your copy of the strategic plan here and start engaging with your church members, board, and leadership on how your congregation can achieve these transformational goals.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
Blessings Overflow at
10 Days of Prayer
During the 10 Days of Prayer from January 10 -20, 2024, the evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence was seen and felt as God's people gathered to pray. At the joint virtual prayer meeting on the first and last days, Prayer Ministry leaders from different Ontario Conference churches led prayer sessions. Hearts were lifted to the Throne of Grace as beautiful praises, confessions, petitions, and thanksgiving were uttered to the One who sits on the throne.
For the first session, the devotional readings by Pastor Anthony Reid and Pastor Edgar Nunes reminded us that less is better when God is in it, and disconnecting from the digital distractions of the world on the Sabbath will bring tremendous blessings as we focus on connecting with God and our family and friends.
On the last day, people were blessed with the testimonies of individuals representing different age groups – seniors, older adults, young adults, teens, and children. Their testimonies affirmed the goodness and mercy of the Lord and that He hears and answers prayers at His right time and according to His perfect will.
At the end of the meeting, as people signed off, a smaller group stayed behind to greet each other leading to another time of witnessing and praying.
Truly, it was a blessed hour of prayer, and "what a balm for the weary! Oh, how sweet to be there!”
Director, Health & Prayer Ministries
“Ambassador” Pastor Bob Winsor Speaks to Europe on Multicultural Ministry
Pastor David Neal, the Communications Director for the Trans-European Division, recently visited Nepean in Ottawa and was deeply impressed by the vibrant work happening there.
During his visit, he interviewed pastor Bob Winsor, discussing what it means to be a Mission Driven Church, fostering a Culture of Evangelism, and the significance of Unity around Mission. The conversation explored the importance of helping Immigrant families understand evangelism from a North American perspective. Pastor Winsor's comments capture Nepean's commitment to the mission and mirror the broader experiences within many Seventh-day Adventist congregations in Ontario.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
“Steps to Christ”
Last year Linda, Alma and Neriah from the Cornwall Seventh-day Adventist church decided to give their lives to Jesus. In the following interview with Rachel Fourny, they share their journey to Jesus and their current walk with Him.
Q. What made you decide to give your life to Jesus?
A. Linda: “I realized that He is THE only one true God who saved me from sin.”
Alma: “My mom was very much a believer in God. In the living room [there were] two large pictures of Mary and Jesus on the wall where we slept. She sent us to Mass and we learned about the life of Christ in Catholic school. In my life it seems like He was always there for me. I love him so much.”
Neriah: “The first thing that made me decide to get baptized was actually my mom. We would watch Christian Bible shows together and sometimes they would be about baptism. Once in a while my mom and my sister would bring up baptism and talk about their experience. I would think that that is something that I would like to do.”
Q. What were the circumstance that you made the decision?
A. For Linda, Alma and Neriah it wasn’t a series or an appeal form the pulpit. Each made their decisions after doing Bible studies with different members in the church.
Q. What is their life like now?
A. Linda: “My life has changed. There are more difficult challenges [but] I will get through them.”
Alma: “My life has changed… I am a part of the church family [and] I feel like if ever they needed me or I needed them, they would be there. I love to help out. And I know I will never be alone. I take my grandson when I can [because] I want him to love and know Jesus as I do.”
Neriah: “My life has changed. Before I was baptized, I found it harder to ask for things, ask God for help. So, I would try to do things on my own. But now [I know Jesus loves me and is always there for me].”
Q. Are they active in the church?
A. Linda participates in Women's Ministries and church service by reading the offering appeal or doing the scripture reading. She will be serving as a deaconess in 2024. Alma volunteered at the VBS held in July and can often be found helping out in the kitchen during potlucks and brunches. Neriah is an active participant in Sabbath School, Children's Church, Children's Day and the upcoming Christmas program.
Q. Did they bring friends and family?
A. Linda is the first and only one baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church from her family. Neriah is the last person to be baptized in her immediate family, following her parents and older sister into the waters of baptism. Her parents, older sister, paternal grandfather and church family witnessed her decision to commit her life to Jesus. Alma is the first and only person in her family to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. Some of her family members (sister, sister-in-law, son, son's girlfriend) and friends came and witnessed her baptism. She hopes and prays that they will choose to accept Jesus as their Saviour one day.
Let's remember all new believers in our prayers and ask our Saviour that their work with Jesus will remain strong.
Cornwall Seventh-day Adventist Church
Last Sabbath, January 20, 2024, Pastor Mon Ryan Llamado was installed at Fairhavens Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church by Pastor Frankie Lazarus.
Get ready to celebrate a significant milestone in the history of Adventism in Ontario! The year 2024 will mark 125 years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the province. We will celebrate this milestone at an extraordinary camp meeting starting Friday, May 31, to Sabbath, June 1, at the International Centre. Share your ideas with us! Submit your proposed camp meeting theme to the Communications and Media department at OCN@adventistontario.org by January 31, 2024.
Calling all writers and editors! Have you ever dreamed of being a reporter? Do you have the gift of copy editing? Reach out to us! Please email your contact to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Bird ticket rates are now available for the 2024 Spring Gala Masquerade Ball. Don't miss your chance to take part in this extraordinary evening. Secure your spot now by clicking on this Eventbrite link. This is going to be an enchanting evening of live classically-themed entertainment, a formal dinner and an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many individuals in the community.
DATE: May 4, 2024 TIME: Dinner starts at 7:00 pm VENUE: Ukrainian Heritage Centre, 38 Lviv Blvd, Oshawa Ontario L1H 3C3