Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.


The Toronto church will be open (DV) for public service today. Only the morning service will be held for the next few weeks at its normal time of 11.00am. Certain restrictions will be in place, details of which have been sent out to those on the church mailing list. The evening service, at its normal time of 6.30pm, will continue on sermonaudio. The Wednesday evening prayer meeting (7.30pm) for this week will be on zoom as will the Sunday evening pre-service prayer time (5.50pm) Those on the mailing list will be informed of any further changes.


Like most other churches we have been closed out from our place of worship due to the Covid19 pandemic.  It is not the first time we have experienced being closed out.  The first Free Presbyterian meeting in Toronto was on July 4, 1976 in a rented church on Cosburn Avenue.  Four weeks later we had our last service there because of ecumenical pressure.  It all started with Anglican minister and Toronto Star  religion editor, Tom Harpur.  He stirred up opposition to us because we were virulent opponents of the ecumenical movement.   The rented church was on property owned by East York School Board.  Suddenly they discovered an immediate need for a new tennis court – right on the site of the church and a neighboring building.  We were given an order to vacate the church by the end of July.

Church secretary, Gordon Bryant and I met with the Board’s representative, D.A. Morrison, to ask for an extension to enable us to make alternative arrangements but he adamantly refused us any leeway.  He also brusquely refused our request to rent East York school property for Sunday services.

Fortunately, Scarborough Board was much more reasonable and allowed us to hold Sunday services for two years in Wexford Public School on Pharmacy Avenue.  The Cosburn building was demolished and the site, less tennis courts, is today a car park and a mute testimony of the intolerance and bigotry of the ecumenical movement.  On reflection it was probably the best thing for us for it taught our people to stand, stay, and pray together.  God had greater things for us to do.


This has been a hot and dry summer so far, and the lawns are burnt brown.  An article in Eagles’ Wings by Dr. Alan Cairns on spiritual drought is appropriate.

“There hath been no latter rain.” [Jeremiah 3:3]

“Spiritual drought makes a wasteland where once there was a Canaan.  It reduces a land flowing with milk and honey to poverty and want.  It produces spiritual famine, powerlessness, and despondency.

“No generation knows this better than ours.  E are living through a prolonged and terrible drought.  Gone are the days of great awakenings when the preaching of the old evangel caused a deep fear of God to fall upon multitudes and led them to faith in Christ.  Where once there were floods of blessing we have only dried-up river beds that testify to what used to be and mock our present deadness.

“The lack of spiritual fullness is evident on an individual level, too.  Do you not lament that in your own experience you have lacked the latter rain?  The latter rain is the rain shortly before harvest.  Without it the harvest is scorched.  Ah! Where are the fullness and freshness we know we should experience?  Where is the freshness we should have in prayer?  Where is the power we should have in witness?  Where are the results we should see for our preaching?  Alas! “there hath been no latter rain.”

“This drought is not accidental.  Jeremiah says, “Therefore the showers have been withholden.”  When the heavens are as brass it is because God has shut them up in response to our sin. [2 Chronicles 7:13].  The worldliness so prevalent among God’s people today is the direct cause of our spiritual drought.

“The answer to our needs is clearly the opening of heaven and the outpouring of the latter rain.  2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us how to obtain this blessing.  It can come only by self-humbling, prayer, and repentance.  Can we endure another day of drought?  May God drive us to our knees and keep us there till we hear the “sound of abundance of rain.” [I Kings 18:41].


The writer is to have surgery in Sunnybrook hospital on August 4th.  The procedure is TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation). Normally, it involves two days in hospital, so hopefully there will be no break in the delivery of our weekly “Bits and Pieces”.  Many thanks to the prayer warriors whose prayers are appreciated.  God has already answered with the early date for the surgery.