Our StoryThen and Now
The story of Trinity Grace Church is the tale of a beautiful marriage, not between a bride and groom but between two churches. On one side was Leaside Bible Chapel and, on the other side, was a budding group of people who dreamed of planting a church which they could invite their friends to.
On One Side: Leaside Bible Chapel, 1949-2015
Leaside Bible Chapel was established as an independent Evangelical Church in 1949 by a group of families from the Christian Brethren Assemblies, commonly referred to as the Open Brethren. Construction of the church building began on May 29th, 1949. The first service was a New Year’s Watch Night Service held in the upstairs room on December 31st, 1949. The building as it stands today was constructed in two phases four years apart and from the beginning included space for two stores to serve the local Leaside community and reduce costs.
Acts 2:42 describes the New Testament church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to Fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Based on this New Testament model, the Chapel, led by a team of elders and deeply committed members, flourished through the fifties and sixties with large numbers and innovative outreach through popular children’s meetings and a ladies coffee hour, to name a few.
Support of missions both home and abroad was a major focus of the chapel. Often close to half of the church’s budget was designated for the spread of the good news in Europe, Africa, Asia, in addition to the strong support of Christian summer camps in Ontario and gospel outreach in Quebec.
After many decades of fruitful ministry, Leaside Bible Chapel reached a crossroads in 2014. The need became apparent to reevaluate its strategy to reach the community and greater Toronto with the gospel.
On the Other Side: A Vision for a New Church
Albert and Linda Chung were serving faithfully at Young Nak Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto, a local Korean immigrant megachurch. The church was home to them. Yet an insatiable desire stirred in their hearts to share the gospel of grace beyond the Korean community. They dreamed of a multiethnic, multigenerational, and multiclass church to which they could invite their friends of diverse background, a church without cultural hurdles.
Thus began a six year journey of preparation, which included further studies in church planting, networking with church planting coaches, and an intensive six week internship in New York City with Redeemer City to City. After 12 years of ministry, Albert and Linda took a step of faith in 2014. The task of choosing a target area for a church plant felt daunting, since Toronto is a city of just over six million spread over nearly seven thousand square kilometres. One day in prayer, Albert got the idea to plug pins on a Google map of where all the couple’s friends lived. Everyone lived within a 10 km radius of the major intersection of Don Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave.
God began to lead Albert and Linda to like-minded souls excited about the vision of the church plant. Over time, a group of about 40 people were gathering to pray. They envisioned a church that would overflow the gospel of grace for the good of its neighbourhood and beyond.
God’s Wonderful, Mysterious Orchestration: How It All Came Together
After resigning from Young Nak, Albert took on an internship at Grace Toronto, a local church in downtown Toronto with a vision for urban mission. They provided Albert the opportunity to lead two small groups in his church plant target area. In one of the small groups, God brought Albert into contact with a family who had recently entered a season away from their home church, Leaside Bible Chapel. On hearing about Albert’s vision, the couple connected Albert to the elders of Leaside Bible Chapel, who were at a crossroads themselves.
Albert and the elders met in December 2014. Thus began a seven month journey of envisioning together, praying together, and training together for a renewed presence of the gospel in midtown/uptown Toronto.
On June 22, 2015, both sides came together in unanimous agreement and enthusiasm to plant Trinity Grace Church. Leaside Bible Chapel, in a gesture of unspeakable Kingdom-mindedness and generosity, gave themselves selflessly and cheerfully to being replanted as Trinity Grace Church under Albert’s leadership. Only in eternity will we see the fullness, profoundness, and beauty of their untethered transfer of stewardship in people, resources, and building to the new church plant.
By God’s overwhelming and overflowing grace, Trinity Grace Church launched and had its first public worship at 826 Eglinton Ave E., on Sunday, November 1, 2015.
To Be Continued…
Trinity Grace Church exists to glorify God as we enjoy and follow Jesus. We envision this grace overflowing into a New Culture, a New Community, and a New City. We find our life in Being Glad, Belonging, and Being a Blessing in and through the gospel.
God has helped our vision to become a reality. We love our multiethnic, multigenerational, and multiclass church. Our family is still growing and maturing in its mission, but we are gladly on the way.