St. Thomas à Becket, Erin Mills South, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Oct. 22.
In September 1972, eleven Anglicans met in the gymnasium of Erin Mills Secondary School in Mississauga, marking the first service of a new church community. They met in school gymnasiums and the basement chapel of the parish rectory for worship and fellowship. The diocese appointed the Rev. Canon Timothy Foley as its first incumbent. Early ministries for the young families included a children’s ministry, fellowship groups and social events such as camping trips and outreach walks.
Visioning and planning by parishioners and the incumbent led to building a new church on a five-acre site at the intersection of Erin Mills Parkway and Burnhamthorpe Road (land jointly purchased earlier by the diocese and four other church denominations, with the intention being for the five parishes to share the land and building). On May 29, 1977, parishioners processed from Pierre La Porte School to the church, which was hallowed by Bishop Lewis Garnsworthy. The Anglican congregation continues to share the building with Glenbrook Presbyterian church.
At the parishioners’ request, Canterbury Cathedral in England sent a commemorative stone, which remains imbedded in a St. Thomas à Becket church pillar to this day. In 1996, the church added a larger worship space.
There have been three incumbents since St. Thomas’s inception: Canon Foley (1977-1981); the Rev. Canon Jim Woolley (1981-2018); and the Rev. David Matthews (2019-present). Many ministries have developed and thrived during their respective incumbencies.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the Community Connect Ministry Team was started, to facilitate communication and support parishioners through the pandemic. Enhanced technology also helped maintain worship and communication.
Parishioners host an annual Caribbean Night and monthly Soup at Noon. The church also supports outreach ministries such as a Deacon’s Cupboard, Open Door and an annual Vacation Bible School.
In 2016, two local churches challenged each other to a cricket match; this has grown into the diocese’s annual cricket festival involving 11 churches. The church’s Christian stewardship of the earth led to the installation of a rain garden in 2019; thanks go to TD bank for its generous support. In 2020, in conjunction with Mississauga’s tree planting initiative, the parish planted 100 trees on the property.
The parish family is made up of many nationalities and ages, reflecting the diversity of the community. It gives thanks to God for half a century of worship and fellowship and eagerly looks forward to continuing its spiritual and pastoral role in the Erin Mills South community.
Submitted by St. Thomas à Becket, Erin Mills South