How observant are you? Have you noticed that the Leaside Bible Chapel is no longer at its place on Eglinton Avenue between Sutherland and Laird? Now you see signage for Trinity Grace Church. Are they related? Well, sort of.
About six years ago, the leadership of the Leaside Bible Chapel realized they needed to make a decision. Numbers were dwindling, so they either needed to revitalize or figure out how to grow.
Around the same time, Albert Chung and his family, who were attending a Korean ethnic church, realized they needed to find a new spiritual home – one where they could invite non-Korean friends.
Albert is a second-generation believer, his parents having converted in Korea as teenagers. In Canada, he and Ins Choi, playwright and actor (Kim’s Convenience, etc.), grew up together in the church led by Ins’ father. While Albert’s original academic focus was molecular genetics and biology, followed by philosophy at the University of Toronto, as a young adult, he realized ordained ministry was his true calling. He now has a M.Div. From the University of Chicago – Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a M. Theology in Outreach, Evangelism and Mission from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church In America – Eastern Canada Presbytery.
When Albert got the opportunity to meet with officials from Leaside Bible Chapel, including Russell Sutherland (profiled in the July, 2021 issue of Leaside Life), they realized they shared many values and common interests. There was the potential for a church planting – where Albert would gather 50 or so people, and join to “replant” with about 25 people from Leaside Bible Chapel.
Hence, Trinity Grace Church.
Sunday services are a mix of spontaneity and orderliness, including quiet time during worship. Covid has, as it has for all places of worship, moved many gatherings onto virtual platforms, but they do try to meet in person when safe. They are working to re-establish a gospel presence and be relevant in this community by being missional. They are making connections with young families in the immediate and surrounding neighbourhoods, association with the Jesus Network in Thorncliffe Park. During the week, there are geographically-organized small group gatherings, with the intent of working through the previous week’s sermon, praying and being social.
The church is looking forward to a time when there can again be pot luck luncheons once a month after the services – an opportunity for Lunch. To Laugh. To Learn.