History – Introduction

This section was written around 1970 

None of us have been members of St. Ansgar for fifty years, but our congregation has been a lively fellowship for that long. Now we pause to thank God for this life and liveliness. In our thanks we recall what has happened and try to understand what God has been doing among us. We see that we have developed our own character during these fifty years and we thank God for any good qualities that have emerged.

The character of our Church has been shaped by its mission. At first our mission was to the Danish immigrants and their children, then it broadened to include the community in which we are based, and we have even developed to be a metropolitan Church. In our history there have been those who had a vision they considered worth struggling to realize, even if that vision could only be achieved in part. There has been and is the vision of gathering into Christian community the thousands of Danish and Scandinavian immigrants. There is the vision of reaching and serving the immediate North York-North Toronto community. Finally there is the vision of gathering Lutherans and other Christians from all sectors of this cosmopolitan city. The vision has always been large and still is large, although at any one time we have always been a small congregation.

The character of our Church has also been shaped by the circumstances of its members and the situation of our nation. The periods of immigration have been our opportunity. The poverty and transiency of the immigrants limited that opportunity. The Great Depression and World War II developed a sense of community among us but handicapped our growth. The characteristics of the past three decades – prosperity, inflation, mobilty, the leisure-life style have also been a mixed blessing that influences us.

Thirdly, the character of Our congregation has been shaped and toughened by our struggles. There was the struggle of adapting to a style of Church life suitable to Canada from the style of Church life prevailing in Denmark and Europe. Only a small percentage managed that transition. There has been the painful but purposeful struggle in the transition from Danish to English as the language of worship and teaching. The matter of supperting a pastoral ministry and providing places to worship and meet that would be appropriate and that we could afford has been no small struggle. Making decisions about these matters sifted the congregation but also developed in us a deeper sense of purpose and loyalty.

Most of all the character of our Church has been shaped by the personal Christian influence and witness of its members and pastors whose love of the Lord and His Word and His people made them spiritual fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers to us all. Most of these members came out of the Church of Denmark. Several pastors and many of its laymen have come out of file practical churchmanship of the United States. Now our congregation is enriched by members fro m a variety of Lutheran and evangelical sources from around the world. At this point in our history we thank God for all who have been, and now are, our friends, teachers, intercessors, exhorters, leaders, and pastors at St. Ansgar. Our future is in the Lord’s hands but with Him we now shape what is to come. We pray that we fulfill our solemn task with love and resting in His Grace.¬†

Original Credits Carl Larson, Philip & Irene Jorgensen

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