Latest News

September 3, 2020

Please visit our Reopening for worship page for details about onsite worship starting September 13.

August 12, 2020

Dear Friends;

We are still moving through our great season of dislocation, the Pandemic of 2020. Now that we are heading into mid-August, we want to provide a brief update with respect to our ongoing ministries at St. Paul’s

o The Sight and Sound Project is in full swing. The massive pipe organ, font, some pews and other valuable internal physical components of our worship life have been covered with purpose-built structures for protection. Like any major renovation, the expert construction team is uncovering issues that we could not foresee. What it does highlight is that the timely, critical need for this work is confirmed as more of the wiring and lighting structures are in worse condition than we realized. The banner photo above will give you a sense of the scope of this massive undertaking.

o The Parish Selection Committee continues in their prayerful discernment with respect to seeking the next Rector of St. Paul’s. In spite of the limitations imposed by COVID-19, they are making excellent progress. As we can all understand, it is a very confidential process so concrete news is not currently available. We do know that the search has included the worldwide Anglican Communion with the support of our Diocesan Bishop, Andrew Asbil. Please continue to pray for our Parish Selection Committee as they continue their prayerful deliberations.

o We continue to offer online ministry and that dimension is growing monthly. Whether it be our online Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, weekly Worship experiences, Getting Traction (the weekly time committed to digging deeper into the sermon of the week), Compline, Health Ministries (Griefshare, DivorceCare and Dealing with Depression) or the daily Bible study; St. Paul’s is reaching people like never before. We have regular engagement with various folks around the world, let alone our local congregation. The summer Youth Media Interns are learning and growing together.

o We continue to provide 225 meals per week to those living on the margins in our neighbourhood. We are meeting with various community groups to coordinate growing our service ministries.

o Our sermon series on the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit” and currently “Life in Transit” are resonating with many people. If you haven’t had a chance to watch and listen, we encourage you to do so. Just go to our YouTube page and you can find them there along with worship music.

o We await the Diocesan guidelines as to what re-opening the facilities for gathered worship and ministry will look like. The staff have been planning various contingencies and scenarios so that we can physically gather in the safest and most effective manner possible. To be clear, the ministry of St. Paul’s Bloor Street has never stopped. Yes, our facilities are currently closed, but we are amazed at the new and unique ways St. Paul’s continues to minister and serve in our 179th year.

o One way that you can contribute is to fill in the “Parish Re-Opening Survey” here: https://forms.gle/YWXZXcUe9vAvkvK37. Your feedback will be invaluable to us in our planning. I thank you in advance for taking a few minutes to fill it out. Please complete it no later than Thursday, August 20th.

Finally. Thank you for the amazing financial support of the ongoing ministry. Our online giving has increased substantially and many of you are mailing in your regular offerings. For that we thank God and we thank you. As you can imagine, with our facilities closed, there is no other sustainable income and so we rely on your financial support more than ever. We take the stewardship of your financial resources very seriously. St. Paul’s Bloor Street is a community effort!

Every blessing to you as we prepare to enter this Fall season of transition and continuing dislocation. However, we move forward together in hope and confidence for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Sincerely,

Barry Parker, Rector

June 9, 2020

When I think of how my final months of ministry at St. Paul’s Bloor Street might have concluded, never would I have imagined the impact of a worldwide pandemic. Back in February, we thought the Coronavirus was something that affected people halfway across the world. By mid-March, it was a global pandemic affecting us all.

On March 13, our Diocesan Bishop, Andrew Asbil advised us that all churches in the Diocese of Toronto would physically close. Since that time St. Paul’s has started and is continuing to develop new forms of online or virtual ministry. Janet Earle has transitioned Children’s Ministry to an online platform where children and families can continue to learn about Jesus and how he loves them so very much. Ian Koiter meets with the Youth Group online to discuss issues they are dealing with and how their faith can help them in difficult circumstances. Many of our Connect Groups are meeting regularly via online gatherings. Together we all have been able to worship together on Sunday mornings and then join in the virtual coffee hour following the services. While it has been difficult not to gather physically as a community, we praise God for the new and exciting ways he has shown us how to worship him and bless others.

This week, the provincial government announced places of worship would be able to start to gather again. This is good news as a first step to eventually reopening our doors. However, we have been advised that Anglican churches in our Province will remain closed for in-person worship services until at least September. This decision by our Bishops was made in consultation with public health experts and with the well-being and safety of all parishioners being of utmost importance. St. Paul’s will follow the guidelines laid out by our Bishops.

Thank you for your continued support of our ministry at St. Paul’s. Your financial gifts, prayers and encouragement are all part of Gospel ministry that is reaching so many in new and creative ways.

I know many of you are anxious to gather again in person for worship. You miss the community. I do too. At this moment though it is not possible for the safety of everyone in our community. We will gather again when it is safe to do so. We very much look forward to returning to gathered worship, including the celebration of the sacraments such as Baptism and Holy Communion. At. St. Paul’s, we will continue to look for new ministry opportunities as we seek God’s heart and guidance for our online ministry and pray for the time when we can all gather again to worship.

Sincerely,

Barry Parker, Rector

May 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the containment efforts continue to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19. It is a challenging time for everyone. I don’t think any of us thought it would last this long, but it has. This drawn out time of social distancing and changing living patterns has taken a toll. People are feeling weary, uncertain and stressed. With the uncertain future of the way we will live our lives in the post-pandemic era, it is easy to be wrapped up in fear. But we know, that even with all the fatigue and uncertainty, Jesus Christ is still Lord. He alone knows our future. We go forward with his ministry of grace and hope.

The kingdom building ministry at St. Paul’s Bloor Street continues during this time. Not in isolation to the world, but with the awareness of Jesus’ call for us to spread his message of hope and reach out to others. May is designated Mental Health Awareness month. The theme of the month is “connection”. Mental Health experts and care providers urge everyone to seek out and work at social connection in whatever form possible. Reach out to others and share the concern and love the Father has for all his children.

With connection as our goal, St. Paul’s Bloor Street offers an increasing number of points of connection. These can all be found online through our website—www.stpaulsbloor.org. Here are a few, with more to come:

o Sunday worship online from 10:30 – 11 am.
o Virtual Coffee Hour on Sundays at 11 am.
o Children’s Ministry every Sunday 9:30 – 10:30 am.
o Youth Ministry every Sunday starting at 11 am and every Wednesday evening at 7 pm.
o A short, midweek gathering for the ancient service of Compline, every Wednesday at 7 pm on Facebook.
o Connect Groups running all through the week.
o GriefShare and DivorceCare starting soon.
o care@stpaulsbloor.org provides a portal of care with our community. If you are able to serve and help others or if you need assistance of any kind, let us know through this email.
o Preparing and serving hundreds of weekly meals to those on the margins.

We are so grateful to you for continuing to support the ministry of St. Paul’s financially. This has allowed us to continue to serve and bless many others in new and unique ways and provide connection points during this pandemic.

Many are wondering if the Rector Selection process is continuing. Although slowed by the realities of working in this pandemic season, the search firm, Bishop Andrew and your Parish Selection Committee continue to work; gathering, researching and assessing candidates for the next Rector of St. Paul’s.

The future may seem uncertain, but we know the ministry will continue. We are spending a lot of time in planning next steps, even though we do not know exactly how ‘re-opening’ will look. We do know we are not going back to “the way it was”. How do we engage the reality of smaller gatherings, a new online presence and other variables as we move forward? I say again, the Gospel centered ministry of St. Paul’s Bloor Street will continue. We will pray for guidance and wisdom to plan for safe ways for our community to gather in the future. Whether it will be online or in person, Jesus Christ will always be the centre of our ministry.

As with every organization, due to the COVD-19 crisis, there have been some staffing changes in order to be the best stewards of the resources entrusted to us:

o We have suspended the search for a Priest to fill the Director of Witness position.
o With the closure, Victor Short our Volunteer Coordinator and Front Desk assistant, along with 3 Custodians are no longer employed at St. Paul’s.
o With the necessary leap to a robust online presence, we have brought Doug Romanow onto our staff as a part-time Creative Arts Producer. Doug is a renowned Canadian music producer and a member of St. Paul’s. He will be coordinating our online offerings. We are also blessed to have James Finnerty, the 9:30 audio tech, expand his role to audio/visual editing. As well, our Youth Minister, Ian Koiter has been invaluable in his work behind the scenes.

I am grateful to so many of you and our great staff who long to continue to serve and bless others with the ultimate point of connection, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even with everything around us changing and creating disequilibrium—the one unchanging element of life is the Good News that we exist to proclaim in Word and deed.

Every blessing to you. Keep in touch. Stay connected.

Barry Parker

April 1, 2020

Dear Friends,

Things are changing at an astonishing rate in the face of COVID-19. We have all been affected in some way. One of the challenges for all Churches is that for centuries we have physically gathered for worship, prayer, study, care and service. Everything recently changed within two weeks as we rightly cannot gather physically at this time. Hence, we are pivoting more in a few weeks than we have in centuries to connect in new and unique ways:

Beginning this Sunday, April 5, which is Palm Sunday, we will be posting a worship service at 10:30 am that you can engage with by connecting to stpaulsbloor.org/watch-online. Join us on YouTube or Facebook where you can chat and connect with us live!

We will have a Good Friday worship service online at 10:30 am on April 10. You will be able to watch this gathering at stpaulsbloor.org/watch-online. Join us on YouTube or Facebook where you can chat with us live! A Good Friday gathering for children will be happening at 9:30 am. A Good Friday Youth gathering will happen at 11:30 am: you can join using this Zoom link (Meeting ID: 422 211 042)

On Easter Day, April 12, we will celebrate the Resurrection with a service @ 10:30 am. Connect to stpaulsbloor.org/watch-online.  Join us on YouTube or Facebook where you can chat with us live! Children’s Ministry will happen online at 9:30 am and Youth Ministry will happen online at 11:30 am.

We will continue to post sermon podcasts online.

We have a weekly virtual Children’s Ministry experience on Sundays at 9:30 am. You can join the Zoom by emailing Janet Earle who will send you the Zoom link.

We also have weekly virtual Youth gatherings every Wednesday @ 7 pm and Sunday @ 11:30 am. You can join on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings using this Zoom link (Meeting ID: 422 211 042)

The Rev. Karen Isaacs is leading Compline every Wednesday @ 7 pm. This wonderful midweek evening gathering can be found live on our Facebook Page at 7 pm (you do not need a Facebook account to watch), or posted on our YouTube page following the live broadcast.

Even though the physical church is not open, I can assure there is a lot of ministry still going on. We are rapidly learning to lean into our vision where we are a church made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit, a city made new by the gospel of Jesus Christ and a people made whole by the grace of God. Your financial gifts allow us to offer online Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Sunday worship, connecting with all of our large and diverse parish though pastoral outreach and Connect Groups. To that end, as we continue to grow ministry in this new age, I encourage you to consider online giving which is easy and vital in supporting the ongoing ministry of St. Paul’s.

If you like to use envelopes, feel free to mail them as we have a secure post box outside St. Paul’s.

Another option to support St. Paul’s is through Pre-Authorized Giving that gives you peace of mind that you are supporting St. Paul’s on a regular basis. All contribution methods are safe, secure and confidential.

To support our parish we have a new email address that invites parishioners who need some form of care or prayer to request it. As well, those parishioners who would like to offer care or prayer are invited to respond.

What I said in the update of March 20 still applies.

I appreciate your prayers and support for St. Paul’s. We are traversing uncharted territory. The good news is that as we follow Jesus, He knows exactly where we are going and to that we remain faithful and grateful.

Every blessing to you in these anxious times. May the God of peace grant you a still heart and a quiet mind.

Sincerely,

Barry Parker

March 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

As you know things are changing rapidly with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and now unfolding in our City. Who could have realized a week ago, the changes that have been occurring so rapidly, almost hourly? Hence, a brief update from me with respect to St. Paul’s Bloor Street.

We have received direction from the Diocese of Toronto that all Church facilities are to be closed immediately. Hence, the physical space of St. Paul’s Bloor Street is closed and not accessible. This is in effect seven days a week for the foreseeable future. Hence, there is no Sunday opening for private prayer. We, as a community, will continue to pray and worship, albeit in different ways.

The Church Office is closed so that our staff, working remotely, can practice an ‘abundance of caution’ through social distancing. I am indebted to our staff who have been working hard on cleaning, communication and continuing our ministry.

We are now posting our video sermons online in addition to the podcast option.

As I mentioned before, I encourage you to consider online giving which is easy and vital in supporting the ongoing ministry of St. Paul’s. As well, another option to support St. Paul’s is through Pre-Authorized Giving that gives you peace of mind that you are supporting St. Paul’s on a regular basis. All methods are safe, secure and confidential.

I appreciate your prayers and support for St. Paul’s. We are traversing uncharted territory. The good news is that as we follow Jesus, He knows exactly where we are going and to that we remain faithful and grateful.

Every blessing to you in these anxious times. May the God of peace grant you a still heart and a quiet mind.

Stay tuned to our website which we will update with any new developments.
Sincerely,

Barry Parker
Rector

March 14, 2020

Dear Friends. As you know things are changing rapidly with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe.

As of late Friday evening, the Bishop of Toronto has suspended all public worship services until further notice. So, tomorrow and for a few Sundays thereafter, there will not be formal, gathered worship at St. Paul’s. As well, we will suspend the Tuesday 12:10 pm Holy Communion worship. It is our intention to have the Sanctuary open on Sundays from 8 am – 12 noon for those who choose to come in and pray. We, as a community, continue to pray and worship, albeit in different ways.

We are investigating alternative worship through our online presence on our website and posting video sermons.

St. Paul’s will remain open for ministry and business as per usual. As always, we are here to care for our community and neighbours. Should you have a concern or question, our staff is available for you. Our office remains open to enable you to drop off your offering during the week. I also want to encourage you to consider online giving which is easy and so very helpful in supporting the ongoing ministry of St. Paul’s.

I appreciate your prayers and commitment to St. Paul’s. We are moving through uncharted waters as I cannot think of a time in our 178-year history where Sunday worship was suspended. The good news is that as we follow Jesus, He knows exactly where we are going and to that we remain faithful and grateful.

I am indebted to our staff who are working overtime on cleaning, communication and continuing our ministry. Every blessing to you in these anxious times. May the God of peace grant you a still heart and a quiet mind.

Stay tuned to our website which we will update with any new developments.
Sincerely,

Barry Parker
Rector


Helpful Links

Government of Ontario Official COVID-19 website

Government of Canada Official COVID-19 website

World Health Organization

Connect with us!

Phone Number
416-961-8116
Location

St. Paul's Bloor Street
227 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 1C8

Office Hours

Office Closed

Weekday Online Connections

Mon-Thurs at 12 noon: Bible Study
Wed at 7 pm - Compline
Wed at 7 pm - Youth Group

Sunday Worship

9:30 am - Children's Ministry

10 am - Onsite Worship

10:30 am - Online Worship

11:10 am - Getting Traction

11:30 am - Youth Ministry

Update on reopening