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


LOCUST PLAGUE.  A locust plague of Biblical proportions has invaded northern Kenya in January 2020.  The swarm of locusts measured about 40 by 25 miles and is thought to contain about 240 million per square mile, or about 240 billion locusts.

In all the media reports of the infestation and devastation none seemed to draw the parallels with the plague of locusts in Moses’ day (Exodus 10).  They are happy to downplay the Exodus plagues and try and explain them away, but when faced with a real life situation they are strangely quiet.


THE CORONAVIRUS has alarmed many people as it spreads like a plague across the world with over 100,000 infected and over 3000 deaths.  Everyone is concerned and proper hygienic practices are necessary to curtail its spread.  The Christian has an added line of defence for God has promised His people that “I will put none of these diseases upon thee” because He reminds us that “I am the LORD (Jehovah Ropheka) that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26).  While exercising correct procedures (avoiding crowds where infection is likely, and using good hygiene) the Christian should also pray and claim God’s specific promises in prayer.


MRS. BETTY HOUSTON.  The long time members of the Toronto Church were saddened to hear of the death of Betty Houston in February.  Betty, and her husband Sam, were members of the congregation in the nineties, when Sam was engaged in outreach for the church.  They returned to Ulster in early 1990 and set up home in the Hillsborough area.  Sam will be long remembered for his beautiful singing voice.  Our sympathy goes out to him, his sons, Grant and Alan, and their families.


CHRIS AND HANAH KIM.  The Rev. Kim and his wife were received into membership on Sunday March 1.  The Rev. Kim ministered for many years at the Pure Korean Bible Presbyterian Church in Toronto.  Since his retirement the Kims have been attending Toronto FPC and Mrs. Kim has been a great help playing the piano at the weekly prayer meeting.  More new members will be received at the next communion service.


WHITEFIELD WINS.  The Whitefield Christian Schools (WCS) boy’s team just won the senior high school basketball tournament organized by the athletic federation for private schools (Wed.March 4).  This is for boys under twenty.  The WCS has won a number of sporting competitions recently.  Congratulations!


CALGARY INSTALLATION.  The Rev. Paul Backhurst and his family are expected to arrive in Calgary from Northern Ireland on Monday March 9.  He was ordained to the ministry by the Ulster Presbytery in Crossgar FPC on Friday February 7, 2020. His installation as minister of the Calgary Free Presbyterian Church is planned for Tuesday March 24 when a number of the North American ministers and elders will be present.  Please pray for the Backhursts, and their seven children, as they travel and undertake the major move from Ulster to Alberta.  Please pray also that they may speedily settle into their new home and work.


VISIT TO JAMAICA.  Dr. Larry Sunders reported to the Toronto Prayer Meeting (March 4) on his recent visit to the church in Little London, Jamaica. He found the work to be progressing well under the leadership of Richard Craig and Randy Gunnings. He asked for special prayer for Richard as he continues his studies for the ministry as well as preaching weekly in the church.


PUTIN ON GOD AND MARRIAGE.  Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Monday (March 2) proposed a series of amendments to the Russian constitution that included a mention of God, and describing marriage as a “union of a man and a woman”  (Bradford Betz, Fox News.  Reported also in  “the Telegraph” and BBC).  “The parliament endorsed Putin’s draft in the first three required readings last month and is set to give it final approval next week, setting the stage for a nationwide vote on April 22.  An article in the draft pledges homage to “ancestors who bequeathed to us their ideals and a belief in God.”  Whatever the political implications may be from Putin’s point of view, it cannot be bad for an atheistic country to acknowledge the existence of God, and the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage.