(This article by founding pastor, Rev. Roy E. Upton, was originally published in the Pentecostal Testimony (now known as testimony) in January 1971. These writings are quoted directly of the author and reflect the writer’s views in the context of that time.)
Another story of Home Missions adventure!
“Have you considered the possibility of pioneering a new church in the fast-growing eastern end of Metropolitan Toronto?” This question was asked by my father during a conversation at Christmas, 1955, as we discussed together my future ministry. Five years of intensive evangelistic endeavor brought to birth in my own spirit a desire to dedicate my energies to the challenge of pioneering.
DISTRICT WITH ACTIVE INTEREST
A quick trip to Belleville brought words of encouragement from our district superintendent then, Rev. W. B, Greenwood. The Eastern Ontario and Quebec District, in due time, took active interest in the project, and assumed the larger portion of my salary for a six-month period.
To fulfill previous commitments, I continued in the evangelistic ministry until April 1956. The while conducting special meetings in Grace Tabernacle and Willowdale, we prepared our first home and began making contacts to initiate our plan.
An informal gathering of interested persons was convened late that same month in a Scarborough home. Seven families were represented. Interest ran high and a further meeting was called two weeks later. Perhaps a dozen families were represented at that second meeting, and it became apparent that God was directing us to build and establish a work in Scarborough.
Weekly Thursday evening services then continued throughout the summer, together with Sunday evening “drive-in” services held on the parking lot of a large supermarket. Contacts were steadily being made, and interest was mounting.
Early in September of that year, we commenced regular services and Sunday school in a Scarborough public school. Forty-five persona attended the first Sunday school session.
The church was officially set in order and the name, “Scarborough Gospel Temple” was approved. Deacons were elected, and a constitution was adopted. There were twenty charter members.
When the decision was made by the congregation to proceed with a search for suitable property, a strategic block of land in an undeveloped region of the borough was located. Though still a grain field, several of us stood upon it one evening and claimed it for the Lord. Our offer was presented and accepted, and this property was purchased at a cost of $16,400.
Plans were immediately initiated for a building program, and construction commenced in the spring of 1957.
An interested builder, Mr. H.G. Bundock, agreed to superintend the entire construction without remuneration. The men of the church gave of their time during evenings and Saturdays. In October of that year, the building was dedicated to the glory of God.
Sparked by an intense fervor to see the work of God expand, this growing congregation over the next five years finally outgrew its facilities. After two years of deliberations, a further major building programs was launched and a beautiful new 600-seat sanctuary adjoining the original building was erected. These present facilities provide 20,000 square feet of useable floor area and house a most progressing missionary congregation to this day. The entire complex was valued at $250,000 when completed in 1964.
FORMULA FOR EXPANSION
Three fundamentals were woven into the fabric of this congregation during its formulative stages:
-Continued emphasis upon the Pentecostal experience with the blessing of God upon all services.
-Strong missionary promotion and outreach around the world.
-Emphasis upon the tithing principle. (Tithing was made a requisite to church membership).
Since 1967, Rev. James Weller has given strong leadership to this congregation and advancement has been recorded in every area. The record of the Scarborough Gospel Temple stands on its own merit. This past summer the congregation assisted in sending seven of its C.A.’s to the Yukon and the West Indies for summer ministry.
This “Home Mission Church” has sent a host of its fine young people to Bible college, several of whom are in the Christian ministry. Two entered overseas missionary service.
On its fourteenth anniversary the total missionary giving surpassed the $100,000 mark. The Sunday school for the past two years has won the national award for the largest numerical increase.
HOME MISSIONS VENTURING PAYS! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!