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|2146: St Paul's,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hans and Sylvana Boldt
Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
of Canada, Diocese
The large building is a Gothic Revival design built between
1851 and 1854, with significant changes and expansions taking
place in the intervening years. There is also a parish hall
(Cody Hall) which is joined to the church by an atrium.
They offer a number of education programmes, including small
groups for healing, grief, divorce, and those new to or exploring
Christianity. Small groups, described on their website as "a
great place to meet others and learn to follow Jesus among friends,"
meet at various times and locations. They offer a variety of
services described as "quiet communion", "relaxed
worship" and "classical worship."
St Paul's is located on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto, near
an upscale shopping district, and at the end of the city's gay
village. Nearby is the national church house of the Anglican
Church of Canada and the excellent Anglican Book Centre.
The service was held in the presence of the Rt Revd George H.
Elliott, Bishop of the York-Simcoe Episcopal Area of the Diocese
of Toronto. Serving as bishop's chaplain was the Revd Deacon
Aldith Baker. Presiding at the service was the Venerable Peter
Fenty. The preacher was the Revd Canon Cheryl Palmer. Also taking
part were readers Olivia Waterman and Elsa Jones; intercessors
Matthew Waterman and Janet Jake; acolytes Karimah Butler and
Aliya Whyte; and crucifer Martin Bradley. Karen Richardson,
a Toronto-based poet, gave a reading.
The date & time:
Sunday, February 27, 2011, 4.30pm.
What was the name of the service?
16th Annual Celebration of the Black Heritage of Our Church.
How full was the building?
About one-half full. There were about 800-1000 people present.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A man gave me a bulletin but said nothing. When I sat down,
people said hello as they joined me in the pew. A woman behind
me tapped my shoulder and asked if I had been to this service
Was your pew comfortable?
It was a standard wooden pew with kneelers that were too close
for proper kneeling. I had to bum kneel. The pew was comfortable
enough considering the service lasted for two hours.
How would you describe the pre-service
There was quiet chatter as people greeted one another, but it
was not distracting or bothersome in this large space.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Would you be seated, please?"
What books did the congregation use during the
Just the order of service, which was very detailed.
What musical instruments
Organ, trumpet, steel pan. The organist and choir director was
William Khan, who conducted the Augmented Diocesan Choir. Also
providing music were the Yes to Life Choir and the Worship in
Steel Band, featuring drummer Takudwza Mudereri on the steel
Did anything distract
The sanctuary was filled with many flags, and I kept wondering
what their significance was. There was a photographer who was
very annoying. He was really getting in the faces of the musicians
and liturgical dancers, and I wanted to go and tell him to sit
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
It was a real mix. Bishop Elliot greeted the congregation, prayed
over the gifts, and gave a final blessing at the end. There
were Old and New Testament readings but no gospel reading. Intercessory
prayers were read. The guest choirs and band were fabulous,
especially the steel pan. However, I thought the congregational
singing was dry and stiff. The hymns they chose were very traditional,
but some did not fit with a celebration of African heritage,
nor did they fit with the theme of the service. I'm just not
sure why they were chosen. I really enjoyed the offertory, which
had liturgical dancers garbed in colourful head dresses and
costumes dancing in the aisles, and the choir singing "Every
Time I Feel the Spirit." The poet Karen Richardson read a reflection
after the offering had been received. There was no celebration
of holy communion, which was sort of disappointing, as I would
have liked to have seen how they would have done it in this
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 Canon Parker had prepared notes, and referred to them
regularly, but her style was conversational and easy to follow.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
The title was "Seize the Promise: God's Goodness Sustains
Us." She spoke about how things may fall apart around us,
but we must hold onto Christ to sustain us. We must always count
on Christ for our hope.
Which part of the service was like being in
The music was amazing. I have never heard steel pan in worship
before, but it was great. The Augmented Diocesan Choir was very
good, and I would have like to have heard more from them.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The choice of hymns was odd. They were very old, familiar hymns,
but I would have liked to have sung spirituals or hymns that
were more relevant to the theme of the service.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I had to run, as my parking meter was about to expire. I didn't
expect the service to go two hours.
How would you describe the after-service
I don't think there was any.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5 This is not a normal St Paul's service, but I really
enjoyed it and will attend it in the future. Previously, this
service had been held at St James Cathedral, but was moved to
the larger St Paul's a number of years ago. I don't think I
could attend St Paul's regularly, though, as their lack of community
outreach bothers me. I should think that a church this size
could manage more than what they do.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
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