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Discovery & Understanding

Jim Crummey's Advent Appeal testimonial in last week's Bulletin, and his personal reflection on it during last Sunday's service, underscores the importance of discovering and understanding the history of St. John's West Toronto as we mark the centenary of its Humberside Ave home.

In particular, it was interesting to discover that, after the extensive celebrations of St. John's 100th anniversary as a parish in 1981, the church shortly thereafter faced the threat of closure. Jim and Sheila Crummey joined St. John's in 1983 during a time of uncertainty as the church focused on growth, not unlike the congregation is experiencing now, some 40 years later.

The process of discovery and understanding is what is most satisfying for me as a professional historian. I'm experiencing both as I delve into the history of St. John's, particularly since it's first 100th anniversary in 1981, and looking back over the 25 years since Andrea, Alie, and I first joined the congregation. Alie was just a baby then and our joining was motivated by looking for a church where she could be baptized; Father Christian baptized her on Easter Sunday 1998.

We quickly discovered the St. John's congregation to be very welcoming and Andrea and I soon found ourselves contributing in various ways. By the fall of 2000, I took up looking into St. John's history for the 120th of the parish, and Andrea got involved in developing "St. John's Journal" and serving as its editor.

As Andrea and I are infamous for keeping things, our paper and computer files include plenty of items related to St. John's, including original copies of "St. John's Journal" from 2001-2002. It's been interesting re-discovering the Journal and getting a chance to develop a richer understanding of St. John's during an especially dynamic period in its history.

I've made fresh scans of the Aug 2001, Advent 2001, and Lent 2002 issues of St. John's Journal, some printed on coloured paper, and they are freely available to read/download here.

St John's Journal - August 2001 St. John's Journal - Advent 2001 St, John's Journal - Lent 2002 Also discovered in our files is a clipping from the November 1981 issue of "The Villager" (aka The Bloor West Villager), which focused on the St. John's Harvest Thanksgiving service for its centenary. The back of the clipping included an advertisement from St. John's listing its services from Nov. 8 through Dec. 8, 1981. Get a close look at both sides of the clipping here,


Originally published in the St. John's Newsletter on December 3rd, 2022

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