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December marks centennial for The Rez

The Church of the Resurrection, 1100 Woodbine Ave. – affectionately called The Rez – is celebrating 100 years.

How thankful we are to St. Paul’s Bloor Street and St. John’s Norway for having the courage and foresight to begin The Church of the Resurrection. In 1912, a group of hard-working and determined men and women decided that an Anglican church was needed in the East End. They canvassed door-to-door for funds, and worked to raise the capital needed to build The Church of the Resurrection on the corner of Woodbine and Milverton Avenues.

This image shows a group of the founders of the Church of the Resurrection in 1912. PHOTO: submitted

This image shows a group of the founders of the Church of the Resurrection in 1912. PHOTO: submitted

To mark this amazing anniversary, The Rez commissioned resident artist Marilyn Pike to paint a picture of what the neighborhood looked like a century ago. After researching archival photos and images, Pike has created a lovely ode to the neighborhood that The Rez has been a part of for 100 years.

A century in any neighborhood would see incredible changes and growth. One hundred years ago, the building was packed with three services every Sunday and afternoon Sunday School for the many children in the area. The church bell was rung each Sunday morning to start the week, and hundreds came into the church every week.

After several decades of robust ministry, however, the neighborhood and the church began to change. Some say that the advent of TV, and the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night, changed everything! First the Sunday evening service was cancelled; Sunday School moved to the morning service, and many families began to move to the suburbs.

As time passed, we were getting older, but we were still feisty! We celebrated our 50th anniversary, and had a Christian Youth Band, ‘Parable’, who went out and played around the neighborhood. Despite a committed membership, the numbers attending lagged, and in the 1990s, the church was in danger of closing. Then, thanks to the intervention of Bishop Michael Bedford Jones, The Church of the Resurrection was itself resurrected. With the help and guidance of the Rev. Chris King of Little Trinity, the Rev. Duke Vipperman was encouraged to apply to take on the leadership, and begin the process of revitalizing The Rez with young families.

This began an amazing church plant. The Rez continues to grow and welcome many children and families, and we now have a wonderful, simple community garden that brings the neighbors together into a shared space. May The Rez continue to grow in our neighborhood!

Visit the church online at therez.ca.

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