Avenue Road Church
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|Avenue Road Church, now a Hare Krishna temple|
|Location||Avenue Road, Toronto, Ontario|
|Denomination||United Church of Canada|
|Previous denomination||Presbyterian, United Church of Canada, Church of the Nazarene|
The Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, subsequently Avenue Road Presbyterian Church, subsequently Avenue Road United Church and later Church of the Nazarene, was a church located on Avenue Road on the northeastern corner of Roxborough Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
A number of well known preachers served in its pulpit after it passed out of the hands of the Presbyterian and United Churches, including Charles Templeton of the later Church of the Nazarene and the famous author Aiden Wilson Tozer.
Templeton founded the church in 1941 as an independent congregation, but it eventually became associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.
Designed by Gordon & Helliwell, the building was originally the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant; aptly named in contrast to the Anglican Church of the Messiah across the street (which was also designed and built by Gordon & Helliwell) a few years earlier, was built in 1899. The Presbyterian congregation (renamed Avenue Road Presbyterian Church in 1902), joined the United Church of Canada in 1925.
They eventually left the building, joining with the former St. Paul's Methodist congregation, a few blocks south, (St. Paul's-Avenue Road United Church, now Trinity-St. Paul's United Church on Bloor Street, west of Spadina Avenue), and it remained empty for 14 years. Templeton and his wife decided to rent the empty building for $100 a month, even without a congregation. Due to his dynamic preaching, the new independent congregation grew until Templeton went into debt to pay for the construction of a balcony to hold hundreds more. It was soon after the balcony was completed that the structure was severely damaged by fire. The building was repaired thanks to donations from supporters across Canada and the United States.
In the mid-1970s, the growing congregation left the downtown area to found Bayview Glen Church north of the city in Thornhill, Ontario. During the congregation’s move, there was controversy surrounding the sale of the church building to a buyer who secretly represented a Hare Krishna group. Despite the church’s desire that the building not be sold to the group, it has since become one of the most popular Hare Krishna places of worship in Ontario.
Today, Bayview Glen Church is one of the pre-eminent evangelical churches in the Toronto area, and one of the largest Christian and Missionary Alliance congregations in Canada. Currently, services take place at 9:15 am and 11:00 am on Sunday mornings.
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