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This year Trinity – St. Paul’s United (TSP) marks our 35th anniversary. We are celebrating 35 years of a vital, active, and engaged presence for faith, justice and the arts on Bloor Street.
Our congregation was created from two historic faith communities, Trinity United and St. Paul’s – Avenue Road United churches. Both congregations had deep roots dating to the 1880s in evangelism, community outreach, and international mission and partnerships
By the 1970s, the changing nature and demographics of downtown Toronto led United Church members and leaders to re imagine the role and future of congregations in our neighborhood. It was out of these discussions that modern day TSP emerged.
At the time the St. Paul’s – Avenue Road building was sold. The revenues were invested in different initiatives including renovating Trinity United and creating the St. Paul’s Centre at Trinity. This venture was new and bold for downtown congregations. It was declared at the time “We believe that the new Trinity – St. Paul’s concept is an imaginative use of historic resources, current assets and future hopes.”
Thirty-five years later TSP strives to faithfully live into the future imagined by those who were there at its founding and who are part of its present. When asked recently about why they are a part of the TSP community, here are what some people said:
- I come because all kinds of believers, non- believers, all kinds of Christians and non Christians and people of other faiths are welcome
- We really struggle to live out in equal parts faith, justice, and the arts
- The music nourishes my soul
- I walk away feeling hopeful and alive
- There is always some new kid to be with
- It is a good time
- TSP is supportive of the disability community
- We support and walk with people who are struggling
- I love the sense of social justice throughout the worship and work of the congregation
- TSP is geared to helping the community
- TSP challenges the status quo
- There is an intense feeling of people who have a faith that is profound and makes a difference in lives.
As we build our future, we draw support and insight from words found in a history of TSP published in 1987. At the time, the people of TSP wrote:
“The tools of life and faith are in our hands, the avenues of prayer and planning both belong to us. Then let our future embrace two views: one is the personal and communal nurturing offered by rich worship and deep caring, the other is an unswerving desire to face the suffering and dysfunctions of our contemporary world, and to bring it to the love and justice of God.”
Herein is wisdom. Thanks be to God!
The Rev. Dr. Susan Mabey
After leaving TSP Susan Mabey became the pastor of Christos Metropolitan Community Church. While serving that congregation, Susan earned her Dr. of Ministry, in 1999. She met and married her wife, Katherine in 1994, and together they welcomed their daughter Anna in 2001. Meanwhile, their son, Aaron Miller (who was baptized by Bill Phipps at TSP) was ordained in the United Church and is serving the congregation of University Hill in Vancouver. Aaron and his wife, Kate, have blessed Susan and Katherine with two amazing grandsons, Levi and Jude. Susan left Christos MCC in 2001 to pursue a career in teaching. She currently teaches a grade 1/2 class at Thorncliffe Park Public school. Last year, Susan was the recipient of the Craig Chaplin Memorial award for her work at school during the parent protest against the new sex-ed curriculum. (For fuller description see: https://myjourneywithaids.wordpress.com/tag/rev-dr-susan-mabey/)
The Very Rev Dr. Bill Phipps
After leaving TSP Bill Phipps became the executive secretary of Alberta and Northwest Conference, 1983-93. He then served as Minister at Scarboro United Church Calgary, 1993-2007, with time out to be moderator of the United Church of Canada, 1997-2000. He retired in 2007. Bill’s major involvements these days are: Living into Right Relations, following up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Climate Change and the Peace Prize and Fundraising Committee of the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary. Bill is married to writer Carolyn Pogue who writes a twice-monthly blog for the UCC Observer. Bill’s daughter Sarah lives in Toronto, his son Jeremy lives in Winnipeg, and his step-daughter Andrea lives in Yellowknife. He has four grandchildren living in Toronto and Yellowknife. (For fuller description see: http://www.audiefox.ca/feature-profile-the-very-rev-bill-phipps/)