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Closing the Doors on Doors Open Toronto @ St. John's, 2023

After a break of 15 years, St. John's once again participated in Doors Open Toronto on May 27 and 28, with more than 200 people venturing through our front doors, most for the first time, to explore and experience St. John's warm, welcoming, and uniquely colourful home on Humberside.

Many came from various parts of the city as Doors Open tourists, often making St. John's a special destination. Most visitors were from our neighbourhood, entering the church for the first time, or returning after some years, or seeking us out after seeing promo postings on Facebook or on phone polls. It's safe to say that St. John's put on a good show for them.

The main focus of Doors Open @ St. John's was showcasing the 100th anniversary of our building through a series of 10 posters displayed around the church, along with an accompanying booklet, which highlighted key aspects of the history of St. John's and the importance of its building in the broader community.

As the overall theme of Doors Open Toronto was "City of Sound," the posters and booklet included histories of St. John's organ, the bells, and it concerts series. On Saturday, there was live demonstrations of the organ, thanks to Stephen Ford, organist for St. Matthias, Bellwoods Church. Musical highlights from St. John's recent Patronal Service, featuring Ken Whiteley, were also played. And as described elsewhere, St. John's hosted a special "Open Doors, Open Hearts" concert on Saturday evening that featured a variety of our musicians/performers. On Sunday morning, Doors Open visitors also heard the powerful sound of the organ performed by John Stephenson, and our musicians, Alie and Dan, during our Pentecost service.

For Doors Open visitors, the most noticed elements of St. John's were the wall colours, the stained-glass windows, and the movable pews. Another popular attraction was going up to the balcony to take in the full view of the church's interior. The major effort to tidy up the balcony area certainly paid off. The balcony was especially popular on Sunday as it provided a great view of our Sunday morning service, as well as St. John's the Beloved's Sunday afternoon service.

Doors Open @ St. John's was a collaborative effort spearheaded by myself and Mother Alexandra, with major assistance from Michael Taylor and Andrea Rutty. There was great support from the SJWT-100th Team and the many volunteers who helped with preparing the church and being part of the event, welcoming visitors and leading them around the church. Special thanks as well to the 8 volunteers provided by Doors Open organizers to help out in a variety of ways. While the doors are now closed on St. John's return to Doors Open Toronto, the doors to our home at 288 Humberside will always remain open to everyone.

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