In 2012 the St. Andrew’s ev. Lutheran Latvian and St. Andrew’s ev. Lutheran Estonian congregations were approached by Grace Church, Toronto, regarding the possibility of using our jointly owned church (St. Andrew’s Church located at 383 Jarvis Street, Toronto) to hold their Sunday worship. Those initial discussions developed into a possible consideration to sell the church to Grace Church.
Our congregation considered this possible purchase offer in a deliberate and open process that included the review of several alternate options for meeting the congregation’s future needs. In exploring these options, a number of Town Halls were held to permit the congregation, as a whole, to provide advice and counsel on these issues.
Through this process the congregation concluded that the physical facilities within the St. Andrew’s church were too large and expensive to maintain given the size, and the programmatic needs, of our congregation. The effort to maintain the church was impacting our ability to meet our mission and vision.
In exploring alternatives to staying in our church, the congregation concluded that the best alternative was to forge a partnership with the St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Latvian Church in Toronto and to use their facilities for our worship and services in Toronto. It was also determined that our congregation needed to increase its outreach and also increase it’s worship and services in Sidrabene.
Following a number of meetings with the leadership of the St. John’s congregation, a cooperation agreement was signed with them and we began holding our worship and services there effective January 2015.
In February 2015, Grace Church committed to the purchase of St. Andrew’s church at 383 Jarvis Street, with a closing date of October 1, 2015. This will permit that facility to benefit from the stewardship of a vibrant and growing congregation.
For over sixty years, St. Andrew’s church at 383 Jarvis St. was our home, the place where our children were baptized and confirmed, and where our congregation members were married. It was a very important place where we shared our joys and sorrows. And for many years it served as the home for our ethnically based activities; Latvian school, scouts and guides, danceprograms, and, relief organizations serving Latvia. The memories of all those events and activities are heart felt and deeply cherished. Departure was emotionally difficult for many of ourparishioners and it will take time to adjust to the transition.
While the transition has not been without challenges, the future for our congregation is bright and filled with opportunity. The transition provides us with the opportunity to refocus our missionand vision and take advantage of the synergy provided by the cooperative activities that we are now involved in with the St. John’s congregation.
Our congregation looks to the future with enthusiasm and great expectation.