Toronto United Church Council

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Toronto United Church Council

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        The Toronto United Church Council was established in 1892 under the Methodist Church (Canada) as the Methodist Social Union of Toronto. The Unions objectives were, according to the 1898 Constitution, to promote fellowship, social intercourse, and spiritual life among members of the Methodist Churches; Cultivate the connexional principal of Methodism; to give advice and assistance to church indebtedness and location of churches and church buildings; and in practicable ways to promote the interest of the Methodist Church in Toronto. The Majority of its work involved responding to pleas from Toronto area churches for financial aid. In 1894, The Toronto City Missionary Society of the Methodist Church was established. The Object of the society was to carry out city mission work in Fred Victor Mission as well as other locations around the city as deemed desirable. The directors of the society were appointed annually by the quarterly board of the participating Methodist congregations. The society directed Victor Home, Italian missions, Fred Victor Mission, and fresh air work in the city of Toronto. In 1901 the society changed its name to The Fred Victor Mission Society of the Methodist Church, while its directives remained the same. In 1907, the name of the society was again changed in order to better reflect the work that they did. The new name was The Toronto City and Fred Victor Mission Society of the Methodist Church. In 1912, the Methodist Social Union of Toronto amalgamated with the Toronto City and Fred Victor Mission Society of the Methodist church to create the Methodist Union of Toronto. This new Union carried out city mission, church extension and social service work in Toronto and its suburbs. It also had an advisory role in decisions such as the location of new church sites and the erection or removal of churches. Given the power to acquire property by purchase, gift or lease and money by bequest, donation or subscription, the Union was able to maintain Trust Funds and fulfill its objectives. The Loan Fund made available interest-free loans for the purchase of new sites, the construction of buildings on existing sites, and assistance to financially troubled churches. In 1926, the Methodist Union at 141 Jarvis Street was officially replaced by the Toronto Church Extension and Mission Union of the United Church which continued the activities pursued by the Methodist Union of Toronto, the former Toronto Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, and the Missionary Society of the Congregational Church. The Union also advised on the selection of sites for new churches in the three Toronto Presbyteries (Toronto Centre, Toronto East and Toronto West). When allocating financial aid to churches, especially regarding mortgages, the Finance Committee of the Union evaluated each situation individually according to the needs and financial strength of the community involved. In order to undertake its home mission work, the Union could: acquire real or personal property; mortgage, hold or dispose of property; receive money from various sources; and maintain a trust fund. The Union at 139 Jarvis Street in Toronto was unofficially renamed the Toronto Home Missions Committee in 1933. It changed its name officially in 1935 to the Toronto Home Missions Council of the United Church of Canada. At this time the Council also underwent a change in structure. The council was made up of representatives of the three Toronto presbyteries, and the Secretary of the Board of Home Missions. Financially, the Council was supported by the Board of Home Missions and donations of the Toronto Congregations and individuals. The Council remained at the same address, and continued to direct the same work. In 1973 the Toronto Home Missions Council updated its objectives and changed its name to the Toronto United Church Council. The duties of the Council, according to a 1972 reprinting of its constitution, were to supervise and administer, in conjunction with the Board of Home Missions, the four Presbyteries of Metropolitan Toronto and Toronto Conference, the work of City Missions, Church Extension and other areas of evangelism and social service assigned to it; to promote welfare of the churches and missions in the Toronto Presbyteries; to have oversight of additional work of common interest such as the Victor Home for Women and Fresh Air Work; to establish, maintain and expend funds available for prosecution of this work; to receive bequests, donations and subscriptions for this work; to present the claims of the work to the congregation of the Presbyteries concerned; and to acquire property required for its purpose. In 1973 The Fred Victor Mission began steps to become an incorporated entity. In 1984, the Fred Victor Mission became incorporated with a director appointed by the Toronto Conference Executive. The Victor Home became incorporated as the Massey Center for Women in 1989. In 2008 the Dufferin - Peel Church Extension Presbytery amalgamated with the Toronto United Church Council under the name Toronto United Church Council.


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