Church begins centenary celebrations

A group of children sing and do actions.
Members of St. Bede’s, past incumbents and friends enjoy a service and a meal to mark the start of year-long celebrations at the Toronto church. The service included music by St. Bede’s Praise Band, a homily by Archdeacon Cheryl Palmer and a performance by children of the parish.
 on November 29, 2023
Michael Hudson

Marking its 100-year journey from a Scarborough community church to a multicultural parish, the church of St. Bede launched a year of centenary celebrations. The inaugural service on Oct. 28 was nostalgic, celebratory and purposeful.

In a gathering of congregants, friends of the parish, previous incumbents and members from yesteryears, the parish celebrated its journey thus far. Glorious music by the choir offered praise and thanksgiving, and an adorable children’s program encouraged the gathering to go out into the world carrying the light of God’s love. Past parish priests in attendance were honored to commemorate their leadership and contributions. Video presentations painted a vivid tapestry of the parish’s history and vibrant community life.

Jennifer McKelvie, the deputy mayor of Toronto, was a special guest and felicitated the congregation on 100 years of service. Having grown up in the neighborhood of St. Bede’s, Ms. McKelvie remembered the very engaged church from her childhood.

Archdeacon Cheryl Palmer commended the parish community on adapting to new realities over the years. She urged the congregation to take the message of Christian love beyond the walls of the parish.

St. Bede’s originated as the Regent Park Mission in 1923. It quickly blossomed and was established as a parish in 1924. In 10 short years, a church building was constructed, up on a hill, replaced by the current building built in 1959.

The parish became an integral part of the community and its faithful followers, bringing to life the theme for the centenary, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

Under the able leadership of many Anglican priests, the parish has continued being a beacon of light living out the discipleship of Jesus and fulfilling the ministry of the Church beyond its immediate neighborhood. Today the parish consists of a congregation that gathers in worship and fellowship from every corner of the Greater Toronto Area, with the Rev. Dr. Irwin Sikha as the incumbent.

Those unable to attend the inaugural service in person had the opportunity to join virtually. The event was livestreamed, with the recording available at The service was followed by a sumptuous meal and fun activities such as a photo booth and auction.

The inaugural celebration sets the stage for several centenary activities planned over the upcoming year, promising more moments of reflection, connection and joy.


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