The ground had been prepared for this the year before. When we first came to Canada in 1964 we decided to compromise and become Presbyterians. Mollie had been raised in the happy warmth of Cheam Baptist Church. She was ill at ease in the somber liturgy and music of Anglican worship. She gagged at the antiquated jargon of Canons and Archdeacons, Lent and Ember days, Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, Septuagesima, collects and rubrics. None of our four children had been baptized as babies. I had also come to the conclusion that the Anglican denomination I had been ordained in was so stuck in its traditions that it could hardly survive the counterculture of the sixties. I hated its refusal to accept others to communion till they were properly confirmed.
So we used to drive down the Don Valley Parkway and across to Knox Presbyterian on Spadina Avenue. We loved the long rich sermons of Bill Fitch. Then some good friends in Don Mills asked us to come and join them in St. Mark's Presbyterian. When we moved to Collingsbrook Road, which was then at the northern limit of Metro Toronto, we linked up with Donald MacLeod at Bridlewood Presbyterian. They used to meet at Don Mills Collegiate where our children, Rachel and Peter, had begun high school. For the second time I applied to be accepted as a Presbyterian minister, but got cold feet as I filled in the forms.
One evening in the spring of 1970 Mollie and I decided to attend the evening service at Little Trinity on King Street in the run down part of Cabbage Town. At that time Hippies were not appreciated among respectable Christians. As we arrived we could see the building was packed with young people wearing bellbottom Jeans and flower child dresses. A beautiful girl named Gunta Sturis greeted me at the door and gave me a flower and a kiss. That settled it. If this was what Anglicans were about, I wanted back in.
For the first time in her life Mollie delighted in the Anglican services led by Harry Robinson. We were thrilled and encouraged by many new friends in our new family. We were moved by the long haired students kneeling next to Bay Street business men around the circular communion rail. And then Bill Foley at the organ would begin the notes of a charismatic song, and the church sounded like heaven.
--Robert Brow, A Personal View of the Twentieth Century, Chapter 9, my emphasis
Posted April 6, 2011 at 5:40 am
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