How we got to 3576 St. Clair Ave East
A PROGRESSIVE HISTORY
LONG BUT REWARDING READ
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Minister Lamata Neil Pierce
Member of Scarborough Church of God
Scarborough New Testament Church of God
“Only by His grace”
April 14, 2001
Bishop Huel Wilson, Mrs. Clemintina Wilson, other ministers of the gospel; members, and friends of the Scarborough New Testament Church of God, we are gathered at this historic occasion to dedicate this beautiful church to the glory of God and to celebrate God’s faithfulness on this our twenty-third anniversary.
We have come to the end of a long and arduous journey. Today we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of each other, as we continue the journey of faith along new paths.
Scarborough, we have come a long way in twenty-three years. We have grown, and in the process we have changed, yet at heart we remain the same –God—centered and Christ-focused. Our strength and endurance have been tested many times over the years, but we have remained firmly planted in the Lord. In the heat of the day our leaves do not wither, and even in droughts (and we have been through droughts) we blossomed and brought forth fruits.
We salute Rev. Arnold Williams and Rev. Dalton Fraser, who started the Scarborough Church of God. We are thankful for the seeds of faith they planted at the beginning. In ensuing years, Rev. Pastor Basil Miller and Sis. Eualee Miller along with other men and women of like faith, have watered those seeds; God has graciously given the increase.
Rev. Dr Basil Anthony Miller – Senior pastor of the Scarborough Church of God, Mrs. Eulalee Miller, first lady and helpmate of Rev. Dr Miller, Shawn and Kadeen Miller, together you have survived the struggles and the many changes that the church has experienced over the years.
Hats off to you, Sister Eulalee Miller, Your sensitivity and warmth only rival your grace and beauty. You must have shed some tears along the way, and you have suffered loss, but you kept your smile and your dignity. Rev Dr. Miller could rightly say of you (to quote Songs of Solomon.) “You are fair, my love, you are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you. You are like a lily among the thorns, so are you among the daughters.” Sis. Miller, you are a solid as a rock. After all, your life is built upon the ‘rock of all ages’. You have stood the tests of time. We love you. You are a woman for all seasons.
Hats off to you Rev. Dr. Basil Miller, you have consistently and passionately server your church and community for twenty-three years. You are a man of vision, integrity and strong character. You have true grit. The pressure to keep the church together, be a devoted husband and caring father, under great emotional and financial stress, must have been tremendous. You have kept the faith with God, yourself, and the people of God. You and your family have suffered great loss along the way. You have earned our respect and gratitude with your hard work and tears. God is not unjust. He will compensate you for your years of hard work.
Rev. Dr Basil Miller, you have ministered to the broken-hearted, and the bereaved; to widows and orphans; to sick and imprisoned. You are a member of the Eastern Canada Regional Church of God Council, Eastern Canada Evangelism/Home Missions Director, District Overseer/Presiding Bishop of Scarborough church district, board member of the International Bible College, past president and now member of Metro Black Clergy Association. You are also serving as the National/Regional Tent Meeting Coordinator, a member of Horizon Interfaith Community Media Council, member of the Black Community-Police Consultative Committee. You are partner/advisor of the “Out of the cold” program which started at 789 Warden Avenue on November 23rd, 2000, and at this location in December of 2000.
We have had many setbacks, yet by the grace of God we made it. You have staying power. We commend you for your unwavering faith in God that He would see us through the hard times. Words are inadequate to convey our appreciation, love and respect for you. We salute you.
Thank you Rev. Isaiah Parkinson, Sis Zelpha Parkinson and Jordan Parkinson. Rev. Parkinson, you have given many years of unwavering service and support to Rev. Basil Miller and the members of the Scarborough Church of God. For eight years you have been the assistant pastor. Throughout this time you have shown yourself to be trustworthy, loyal, and totally committed to the service of God. Many others have come and gone, but you have remained constant in service. You are a stalwart of the faith.
Rev. Jack Radway and Sister Vivinne Lindsay-Radway, your service to the Scarborough Church of God is appreciated. Rev. Radway, you have stayed the course, through it was rough at timed, you remained unmovable.
Sis, Vivinne Lindsay-Radway, Sis Dell, we thank you for the exquisite cuisine that have tantalized our palettes at banquets, and on other occasions, over the years. We truly appreciate you.
Over the years the Scarborough Church of God has nurtured many men and women, who were given the opportunity for growth and advancement in the kingdom of God. These faithful and dedicated men and women of vision have gone on to nurture others in the faith. Just to name a few: Rev. Calvin Pettigrew, Dr. C. L. Battieste, Rev, Raymond Bucknor and Rev Madge James who both served as the Youth Pastors; Rev. Desmond Thompson, Rev. Tony Williams and Rev, Donald Anderson.
As we celebrate this important milestone in our church history, we truly appreciate the continuous support of those who were there at the beginning and who are still here. They kept the doors of the Scarborough Church of God open so that we who are members of this congregation can be a part of what God is doing in this century:
Sis. Gertrude Keane-Mcfarlane, Bro. Hugh Keane, who started here as a child; Sis Bernice Bennett, Sis Gloria Simms, Bro. N. Myrie, Sis. Marcia McNeil and family; Sis. Findley, Bro. Roderick Powell, Sis Vivienne Lindsay-Radwal (Sis. Dell), aand family, Sus. Gerlin Mckenzie, Sis. Pam Bembridge, Sis Janet Robinson, Sis. Phylis Blackwood and family, Sis Zelpha Parkinson, who served as secretary in the early days; Sis. Barbara Bennett, brother Carlonn and Marlonn Scott who grew up in this church, and Sis Courtney James. Where ever the congregated, you were there to keep the lights on and the fire burning.
Rev. Omar George and Sister Eva-Marie George, we appreciate your support of the Scarborough Church of God. Rev. George, you faithfully and enthusiastically server the Youth/Christian Education departments as a passionate and caring lender. We pray that with the of your lovely wife. You will shine even brighter in your new position, and be a great influence in the lives of those whom you are privileged to serve.
Welcome on board, Rev. Marol Grant, Youth Pastor and Sis Tiffany Grant. You will face many challenges but the rewards will be great.
Thank you, Minister Brian Williams, Assistant Youth Pastor and Sis. Nadia Williams. You have given of your time and talent in service of the Youth Department. We commend you for taking time out of your busy schedule to serve with such enthusiasm.
We thank God for the intercessors. Over the years, you have borne Pastor Miller and the church on wings of prayer. Thank you leaders of the Wednesday prayer and fasting – Rev. Jack Radway, Sister Lily Bartley. Thank you leaders of the All Night prayer meeting – Sister Gerlin McKenzie, Bro. Roy Russel, and Sis Carmen Richards.
Mother Vassell, you have prayed the church through many crises. You have prayed for us to have a place of our own. That prayer has been answered. Continue to pray. We might have lost battles along the way; with prayer partners like you we cannot lose the war.
Rev. Isaiah Parkinson, Bro. Roderick Powell, Bro. Bellfield Dacosta Hoyte, Bro. Harry Napier, and Bro. Alrick Robinson, your special contribution as guarantors shows your courage and the depth of your commitment in service for the Lord. Thank you.
Hats off to the real estate agent Mr. Clinton Smith, who is also a brother in Christ. He worked round the clock to help secure this beautiful building for us. Thank you.
Pastor’s council, officers of the church, we appreciate your encouragement, wise counsel and financial support over the years and especially at this particular time: Rev. Isaiah Parkinson, Sis Eulalee Miller, Sis. Edith Coley, Sis. B. Bennett, Sis. Claudette Reid, Sis. Phylis Blackwood, Sis. Carmen Richards, Sis Gerlin McKenzie, Sis Gertrude Kean-Mcfarlane, Bro. Eddy Dyer, Bro. Harry Napier, Bro. Karlonn Scott, Bro. Bellfield Dacosta Hoyte, Bro. Nevill Myrie, Bro. Brian Williams, Bro. Roy Russell, Bro. Courtney Bucknor, Bro. Roderick Powell, Bro. Trevor Brandford, and Bro. Alrick Robinson. Thank you.
Special mention must be made of Bro. Michael Whitely and Bro. Hugh Keane. We admire and appreciate your show of leadership under stressful conditions. The chocolate fund-raising drive, which you initiated, got many people involved in contributing to the welfare of the church. Today, you are counted among those who are not afraid to stand up to a challenge.
Thanks to the brother who loan us $75,000. At this time he wishes to remain anonymous.
Thank you. Sister Cyleta Gibson and Sis. Gertrude Keane-Mcfarlane for organizing a walk-a-thon and bus trip in the aid of our building fund. You are building a solid foundation of giving for your children, grandchildren and future generations.
Brother and Sister Brandford, we commend you for showing such drive and enthusiasm to raise funds for this great endeavour.
Thank you, Rev. Isaiah Parkinson – Administrator, Sister Claudette Reid – Assistant Administrator, Sis Edith Coley – Clerk. You are diligent and dedicated workers. You’re willing and capable hands have made Rev. Miller’s work much easier. Your continued support in this specialized area is invaluable. Thank you for your faithful service.
Sis. Claudette Reid, you are beyond doubt the crème de la crème. You make things happen. You can get us on a plane, train, or automobile, on time, all the time. You have proven yourself by getting us to conventions and Ladies Retreats. It’s not your fault if we miss the boat during our annual boat cruise. Thank you.
There are others who took time out of their busy schedule to help in the church office: Sis. Faithia Price, Sis. Carol Blake, Sis. Judith Clue, Sis. Natalie Coley, Sis. Bernice Bennett, Sis Phylis Blackwood, Sis. Gertrude Keane-Mcfarlane, Sis. Phylis Coburn and Sis Yvette Harvey. You have been a great help. Thank you.
Rev. Dr. Enez Brown, you have been a strong support and help to Rev. Miller. Thank you.
Thank you Sis. Pauline Green, for working so hard to put together our anniversary magazine, and for sacrificing so much of your time to help in the church office. We commend you for your diligence.
Thank you Mr. Chris Mclymont, printer at the Afro Multi-Media Company. Our anniversary magazine attests to your skills and professionalism.
Special mention must also be made of the most seasoned and experienced members of our church family. They were born fighters. There is not one fainthearted one among them. Mother Vassell, Mother Malcolm, Mother Morgan; congratulations, Mother and Father Headley (Mr. Edwin Headley and his lovely wife and devoted wife, Mrs Myrtle Headley) who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. May God bless and keep you and your family. We thank God for the Headley family. They have supported the Scarborough Church of God for many years.
May God’s richest blessings be yours, Mother James, Mother Bailey, Mother Thousand, Mother Cowan, Mother Findley, Mother Green, Mother Miller, and Mother Smith – you have stayed the course in the calm and in the storms. We honour you.
For those of us who gave and continue to give sacrificially, sometimes out of meagre financial resources, your giving is not in vain. Give us onto the Lord. God is faithful, He will multiply the seeds that we have sown and provide more seeds for us to sow. Every contribution, regardless of the amount, is appreciated. Time and money are resources of which we are constantly in need. Thank you.
Friends of the Scarborough Church of God who have given, regardless of your own needs, thank you, and we pray that God’s mercy and grace will be upon your lives.
Scarborough, we have matured and finally come into our own. After twenty-three years of wandering like children of Israel, we have settle into our own place, not to stagnate but put down roots and spread our branches.
Scarborough, there is a god in heaven who reveals secrets, and He changes the timed and the seasons. On Monday night, October 2nd, 2000, this timely reminder came from God through Evangelist Jennifer Porter. Even while she was speaking, Rev. Miller, the Real Estate agent, and I’m convinced, even angels, were wrestling with principalities and powers in order for us to be here today.
On Tuesday October 3rd, 2000, we faced our Jordan. One minute after midnight we would either be swept away by the raging waters, or we would get safely to the other side. Today we say like Samuel, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”.
Scarborough Church of God, look what the Lord has done! We are possessors of a church, which we did not build. We are also owners of two properties – one at Warden/Eglinton near our former place of worship. The other property comes with a house and is located in this area, near the church.
Let us take a brief look at the one hundred and eleven-year history of the Scarborough Junction United Church.
The Junction, as this area was called in the 1800s, stretched as far West as Victoria Park and St. Clair Avenue, which were known as Moffat’s corner. Some of the villages that flourished at the time were: Highland Creek, Malvern, Scarborough Village, Ellesmere, Wexford, and Worburn.
The first church in the Junction was built in 1842, on Kennedy road, south of Eglinton Avenue. It was called the Primitive Methodist Church. The first minister was Reverend William Lyle. It was built of bricks that were “burned” on the site. The cost of the building was one hundred pounds. Prior to that, the people of Scarborough Junction worshipped in barns, workshops, private homes and taverns. Though they had neither church nor minister, prayer and praise were not lacking. A little cemetery on the East Side of Kennedy Road marks the place where the church stood. The term “meeting house” was used for different places of worship.
The first church on this site, was the Scarborough United Methodist Church, in 1890. The property was purchased from Mr. E. Taylor at a cost of $75.00. The contractor, Mr. Hinds was paid $1,110.00.
Scarborough Junction Methodist Church was the only place of worship in Scarborough Junction in the early 1900’s. Everyone for miles attended this church. There were a few other diversions so the church became the magnet that attracted the people of the community. Here they found entertainment as well as Christian nurturing. There were no radios or television. People went to church and visited each other in their homes.
The church served the Junction for over sixty years.
The Scarborough Junction Church, which is now the Scarborough New Testament Church of God was built in 1958 to accommodate the amazing growth of the Scarborough Junction Methodist Church.
The architects Rounthwaite and Fairfiled were retained to design the future church. It was built by the Varamae Construction Company.
The main body of the church extends from East to West, and was designed to hold five hundred worshippers with the provision to add a gallery, if needed. The tent-like shape of the building was due to economics and aesthetic reasons. It was pleasing to the eye and less material was needed for the interior. The sanctuary was enclosed by a “tent” or triangle shape, made up from massive glulam rafters and sheathed with wood decking. The interior was left exposed. The end walls were made of glass and masonry. This building cost approximately $160,000. The money was raised through loans and gifts.
A corner stone bearing the date, “1958” was placed in the outside wall, south of the main entrance. A sealed cylinder was placed inside the wall. It contained a variety of church artifacts and documentary records. It also contained a movie that showed the various stages of construction.
On Monday, March 21, 1960, at 8 P. M, Scarborough Junction United Church was dedicated. One of the guest speaker was the previous minister, Rev. Wm. Hincks.
The final hymn summed up the collective aspirations of those present. Today we join the congregation of 1960 to say.
To this temple, where call thee
Come, o Lord of Hosts, today,
With Thy wonted loving-kindness
Hear thy servants as they pray
And Thy fullest benedictions
Shed within its walls always.
The Scarborough Junction United Church had a Sunday school that we would have to work very hard to emulate, In 1964 the Sunday school was so large that it took 8 superintends, 8 Nursery teachers, 11 Kindergarten teachers, 18 Primary teachers and one Senior class teacher to manage all the departments.
One outstanding event during this period was when one of the Junior classes took the church service. Two of the students did a sermon dialogue.
By 1971 the size of the classes started to decline. This was partly due to families moving away. During the 1977-78 church year, the church decided to discontinue the Sunday school.
Between 1971 and 1991, the United Women’s Association and the church choir were the only survivors of the dramatic change in church attendance.
We thank God for the people He raised up, who worked willingly and made great financial sacrifices so that today we can call this beautiful place of worship our own, under God.
Hats off to the twenty-two ministers who served the Scarborough Junction Methodist Church and the Scarborough Junction United Church. There is only one female among twenty-one men – Rev. M. R, Thompson. The church has come a long way in a hundred years.
Scarborough Church of God, we have come a long way in 23 years. Look what the Lord has done! In 1978, we moved from the home of Sister Mina Taylor, to the home of Sister Gertrude Keane in January of the same year. Prior to our move to Porter Collegiate, we spent short periods of time at various locations, - Danforth/Chester, Bermasie/Eglinton, at the community centre, The Nazarene church on O’Coonor, Lawrence/Finch, Westview church, the Midland school, Finch.Corinthian; we also rented space from the New Apostolic Church at St. Clair/Danforth Avenue, not far from this location. On occasions, we made use of Sis. Blackwood’s and Bro. Myrie’s basement.
We finally achieved stability at Porter Collegiate, Room 122. We outgrew Room 122 and moved to the Arts Theatre, then to the auditorium. After 17 years at Porter Collegiate – the longest time spent at any of the locations, we moved to Kingston Road where the church office is located. From there we went to Carnforth Road where we spent five years. We thought this would be our final destination, but it was not to be. We put up quite a fight but finally we yielded gracefully. With our dignity intact we moved to Embers at Warden and Eglinton Avenue, that was the second time we went to Embers, then to Don Mills Collegiate, Travel Lodge hotel, Ramada Inn, and then 789 Warden Avenue.
By God’s grace we are here at 3576 St. Clair Avenue East, just a block from the New Apostolic Church where we worshipped many years ago. We have come full circle. God has been good to us.
The wilderness experience is behind us. We’ve been there and back. We won’t go back. Let us look ahead.
We remember those who laboured faithfully among us and then went on to their reward – Mother White, Mother Walker, Mother Chin, Mother Radway. They gave of themselves and their resources to the building up of God’s kingdom. They were women of discretion and wisdom. They had true beauty.
A hearty “Thank you”, to all the ministers who prayed for Rev. Miller and encouraged him throughout the years. Thanks for the heart-warming and faith-building sermons, which inspired us to focus on God’s high calling, in spite of the adverse circumstances.
Hats off to those whom God used over the years used to stir our spirits. To name a few: Rev. Dr. W. A. Blair, Bishop Huel Wilson, Rev. Dr, Canute Blake, husband and wife team – Evangelist Reese, Evangelist Maxine Johnson, Rev. Colin Esseboom, Dr. Cindy Trimm, Evangelist Vannessa Anderson, Rev. Dr. Enez Brown, Rev. Richard Robinson, Sis. Janet Robinson – a faithful and dynamic woman of God, a daughter of Scarborough. Sis Robinson has been serving the Scarborough Church of God for many years. She served in many departments with distinction. We appreciate her consistency in serving the Scarborough Church of God.
Thank you Rev. Madge James for your constant support. May your ministry flourish and produce much fruit.
Hats off to Rev. Dave Jarrett whom God used to in still in us a can-do attitude. You imparted to us much zeal and enthusiasm. Thank you.
Every member of each department is challenged to serve the Lord, using the gifts and talents with which He has endowed us.
Ushers/Greeters: under the leadership of Bro. D. Dyer, Sis. Maxine Forrest and Sis. Zelpha Napier: Continue to convey love and acceptance with extended hands and a warm smile.
Praise/Worship Team: under the leadership of Sis. Norma Barrett: May the high praises of God continually be in your mouths.
Over the years you have brought us trophies and commendations. We take pride in your achievements. Thank you Sis. Juliet Allen, Sis. Susan Mitchell-Scott.
Hats off to you, Bro. Neville Myrie, the man with the sharp eyes and steady hands behind the video camera.
To the sanctuary choir, under the direction of Rev. Basil Miller and Sis. Carmen Richards: continue to lift up your voices and sing praises to the Most High God.
Thank you, Sis, Carol Blake for the outstanding contribution you made to the Scarborough Church of God as choir mistress of the Youth choir, and also the Combine choir. As a past leader of the Praise/Worship team, you server with commitment and zeal. Recently you served as coordinator of the “Out of the cold” program at this location and at Warden/Eglinton – our former place of worship. Well done.
Music Department: Bro. Cleveland Gordon – technician, Bro. Dalton Brown – organ/keyboard, Bro. Orvil Lewis – sound/drums, Bro. Karlonn Scott – bass guitar, Bro. Dexter Powell – drums, Bro. Samuel Rose – Keyboard. You are anointed to make melody unto the Lord. May your instruments resonate with the beauty and Joy of the Lord.
Thank you Bro. Sam Dixon for many years of dedicated service in the music department. We appreciate the excellent quality of your leadership.
Thank you Bro. Dalton Tennant and Bro. N. T, Powell for your contribution to the music department as keyboard player and drummer.
We appreciate Sis. Alison McLean for beautifying our surroundings with beautiful flowers.
Hospitality/Planning committee, and who welcome our guests into their homes: Sis. Phylis Blackwood, Sis. Eulalee Miller, Sis. Bernice Bennett, Sis. Courtney James, Sis. Zelpha Napier, Sis. Juliet Allen, Sis. Lorraine Lyons-Gordon, Sis. Mureen Blake. We depend on your warmn and generous spirit to make our guests comfortable, and to ensure the success of our many programs.
Youth Department, under the leadership of Rev. Marol Grant, Minister Brian Williams and Sis. Tanisha Thompson: you are soldiers. March boldly into the battle. There are many new territories to conquer for God.
Ladies Department, under the leadership of Sis. Eulalee Miller: You are strong, vigilant, faithful and hard working. You are a force to be reckoned with. Remember, winner takes all.
Men’s Department, under the leadership of Bro. Elvis Barrett and Bro. Courtney Bucknor: you are bastions of honour and integrity. Arm yourself with the sword of God. You have an enemy to subdue.
Evangerlism/Home Missions Department, under the leadership of Sis. Lamata Carter, Sis. Carmen Richards, Bro. Roy Russell, Sis. Juliet Allen, Sis. Mureen Blake, Sis. Jasmine Campbell: The harvest is great and the labourers are few; continue to be diligent workers of the Lord.
We highly commend Sis Gertude Kean-Mcfarlane, world Missions representative, for her years of hard work in this department. Sis. Keane-Mcfarlane, your initiative and consistency in ministry are outstanding. You are an asset to the Scarborough Church family.
Christian Education department – Sunday School and Children’s Church, Girls Club: under the leadership of Rev. Marol Gran, Sis. An-Marie Bucknor, Sis. Tiffany Grant, Sis. Lorraine Lyons-Gordon, Sis. Sonia Chambers, Bro. Shawn Miller, and Sis. Damielle Brandford, Sis Camille Cambell: The future of the church and the society is in your hands. May God give you grace to imprint on the young minds and hearts a sense of God’s divine destiny for each life.
Sis. Sonia Chambers, ‘Auntie Sonia’, we appreciate the work you are doing in the Children’s Church. You give love and motherly affection to the children. You are a blessing to the patrons of the “Out of the cold” program, where you use your culinary skills to prepare and serve delicious and nourishing meals.
Thank you members of the transportation committee: Brothers Eddy Dyer, Karlonn Scott, Alrick Robinson, and Frank Mygaya. You got us to our destinations on time most of the time, and by the grace of God you got us there all of the time.
Thank you Sis. Donna Dixon for the excellent work you did in the Christian/Education department. We commend you for using your gifts and talents to enhance the lives of the children.
We applaud Sis. Stacy Vassel and the Elite Dance Performing Company, the Angelic Dancers, and the Drama Team; Continue to praise God in dance and drama. You are making a valuable contribution to the church and community. Your talent will bring you before great men and women. You are God’s stars, so shine.
We appaud the Teen Talent team who represent us in Missouri: Rochell, Latoya, Cadine, Sadie, Ricky, Rocky, Ruth and Marlene. “The Champion” is an outstanding drama production.
The Drama team at present: Stacy, Susan, Rochelle, Latoya, Marlene and Nicole. Productions: “Lazarus Come Forth”, and “Revival in the Land”.
Hats off to you friends and well-wishers. Over the years you have mourned with us and celebrated with us. Thank you for your support.
It’s a time of celebration and reflection. We celebrate the triumphs, learn from the setbacks. Scarborough, our steps are ordered by the Lord. Though we were bowed down at times, we were never utterly cast down.
Hats off to all the members of the Scarborough Church of God. When the storms were raging, we batten down the hatches and stayed together. Bravo! Scarborough. Only God knows how much inner strength and grace it took to say “No” when greener pastures beckoned and familiar faces disappeared. Our presence, prayers, and financial support will never be forgotten. Scarborough, God has been good to us.
To those who have toiled so long and hard in the heat of the sun and far into the night, and to those who are presently toiling, take heart. The footprints in the sand of time will be yours.
Let us face the challenges of the 21st century with zeal, courage and commitment to the work of God, and may God’s richest blessings be ours.
Remember, if we can stand the pressure, we can get the power.
Written by Lamata Neil Pierce
Rev. Dr. Basil Miller
Mrs. Eulalee Miller
Sis. Gertrude Keane-Mcfarlane
Sis. Gerlin McKenzie
Sis. Bernice Bennett
Sis. Phylis Blackwood
History of the Scarborough Junction Church