The History of Mount Olive SDA Church
By Veronica Lyttle
In the Fall of 2015, the Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church reached a significant milestone. The members celebrated the accomplishments of their first twenty five years and the continuous development of new programs and services to its members and surrounding communities.
The group effort began with Dr. Steve D. Cassimy and Pastor Arthur Zaft, former pastors of Perth Avenue (now Toronto Perth) and Kingsview Village Seventh-day Adventist Churches respectively, along with some vibrant and enthusiastic members, who embarked on a journey to establish a new congregation in the Rexdale area of Etobicoke.
In October 1990, the Branch Sabbath School opened its door at the North Albion Collegiate Institute (NACI) to the Rexdale community. The name was later changed to Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church. The new church was under the leadership of Pastor Arthur Zaft, senior pastor and Pastor Joseph Bulgin, associate pastor, along with sixty (60) members who were willing and ready to do the Lord’s work. Later the congregation move to its present location as a tenant. The members worked diligently to bring people into God’s kingdom.
Services and programs were implemented to meet its members’ need and well-being while out-reach evangelism was its primary focus. Street Ministry, Personal Ministry and Community Services were some of the out-reach ministries that were organized to minister to non-believers. Ingathering, Investment, Church Building Fund and other departmental fund-raising activities were major events that were used in the development of our church. The physical and social need of our members and visitors were met at our Saturday night socials, banquets, boat cruises, walk-a-thons and summer picnics. In the first decade there were Pastors Arthur Zaft, Joseph Bulgin, Theodore Mc Leary (deceased), Manley Coleman (deceased), Samuel McKenzie, and Ledford Morris.
The second decade saw continued growth and implementation of new services and programs in the church such as; preparing and delivering hot meals to one of the women shelters for battered women and children monthly, supplying food to Youth Without Shelter, volunteering at one of the seniors homes in the Etobicoke area, feeding the homeless in downtown Toronto, setting up the food bank and soup kitchen, running the options for youth program, women’s retreats, preparing and delivering sack lunches to one of the youth shelters in Toronto and recognizing the seniors on their birth months. Additionally, School supplies were given to children and youth in the church and communities.
The congregation also opened its doors to other denominations who rented our facilities for worship and social gathering. Pastor Morris continued in the second decade and the church was purchased under his leadership. Pastor Morris holds the distinction of being the longest serving minister of the church; he served for eleven (11) years. The congregation also had Dr. Kenneth Campbell (retired) and Pastor Joseph Amankwah who served for approximately three (3) years. Pastor David Rogers and Stanley McFarlane later joined the congregation in September 2010. On August 21, 2016, Pastor McFarlane and his family said farewell to the church. Pastor Rogers is still currently serving.
As the church reflected on twenty five (25) years of service to its members and the surrounding communities, we can certainly say that God has brought us this far and we are grateful for His divine care, love and mercy. What began as a Branch Sabbath School with sixty (60) members has blossomed into a congregation of three hundred and eighty Six (386) members and counting.
With divine assurance, the congregation can sincerely say “To God be the glory great things He hath done.”