Church plants new ministry in complex

Group of people sitting in a semi-circle.
Michelle Yeung gives the sermon at the Silversprings Chapel service.
 on October 1, 2015
Michael Hudson

Grant provides funding

When Wycliffe College student Michelle Yeung started her summer placement at St. Paul L’Amoreaux in Scarborough, she had no idea of the pleasant surprise God had in store for her. “I think the opportunity that God has given me is truly a blessed one,” she says.

Working with St. Paul’s incumbent and a faithful group of parishioners, Ms. Yeung has started a chapel ministry at Silver Springs Park, a large housing complex about a block away from the church, which is located at Finch Street and Warden Avenue.

The ministry is housed in a room on the ground floor of an apartment building in the complex. A service of Evening Prayer is held every Sunday at 5:15 p.m., followed by refreshments. About 15 people take part, with the number swelling to 25 for special occasions.

In addition to worship services, the ministry organizes events and workshops for the local community, which is comprised of about 1,000 people living in three apartment buildings and eight townhouses. Most of the residents are immigrants from South Asia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Kenya and mainland China.

St. Paul’s has received a $60,000 grant from the diocese’s Our Faith-Our Hope campaign to fund Ms. Yeung’s work over the next three years.

The ministry provides a vital link between St. Paul’s and the housing complex. The church is one of the most multicultural parishes in the diocese, so its members are able to welcome people of similar backgrounds and provide important assistance such as translation. Residents also have access to St. Paul L’Amoreaux Centre, one of the largest providers of care for senior citizens in Scarborough.

The ministry also focuses on youth. It held a basketball program in the summer and plans to start a homework club in October.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Dean Mercer, incumbent of St. Paul’s, says he is delighted with how quickly the ministry has taken root.  “On something like this we can never see much more than three months down the road, but we’ve had enough encouragement that we’re full of optimism and hope and really quite excited about what has happened.”

He credits not only Ms. Yeung but the parishioners who have helped her get the ministry up and running. “They’ve given their hearts to this,” he says.

The church is already thinking about planting similar chapel ministries in other nearby locations. “We’re hoping that it can occur elsewhere because it doesn’t cost much and it can be led by laity,” says Canon Mercer. “If it’s on the main transportation lines, the central campus remains the church and people are encouraged to become involved in the church as much as they see fit. My joke is that I want everyone at St. Paul’s going to evening prayer all over Scarborough.”


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