Robert Ragsdale

Let me count the ways. When Bette and I came to Toronto as newlyweds in the early ’50s and settled in a little apartment on South Kingsway, we went about to find a welcoming church hopefully similar to the ones we had been brought up in.  We discovered it almost immediately in
St. Olave’s.

The church itself – beautiful Gothic architecture, columns soaring skyward to the heavens; interior traditional design, beautiful in its simplicity and plainness, without all the distracting wall decorations and plaques found in so many churches. A house of worship where you can sit quietly and actually feel the presence of Our Lord and creator, Jesus Christ.

The liturgy – our King James version of the prayer book, with its unparalleled mediaeval language in which there is a precise word for every meaning or situation, and which gives the worshipper a real opportunity to partake in the service rather than just being a spectator.

And then the parishioners – the building full of vibrant enthusiastic Christian souls, really a “church family”  always ready to welcome and assist newcomers to their midst. We found in our 60-odd years of membership, no lack of opportunities to help in doing the Lord’s work in so many ways as well as enjoy the warm fellowship of others, many of whom became life-long friends.

And the leadership – Clergy who not only were good pastors, but also had the special talents required during some rather turbulent times in our history. Canon Sextus Stiles, business-oriented and builder of the parish; Rev. Dr. Versey Wigmore, intellectual, yet very humble, and a  great pastor and erudite preacher during a time when people were becoming very apathetic about religion; Rev. Reg Rose, a friendly Maritimer, extemporaneous speaker who extended our vision outward to include Anglican Houses and Wilkinson House to rescue young people from the streets; and Rev. David Burrows, who carried us into the 21st century, particularly with his social skills in helping the homeless street people directly with food, clothing and Christianity. And with our newest incumbent, the Rev. Rob Mitchell, I feel very confident that St. Olave’s Anglican Church will continue to flourish with the help of an already growing congregation.

These are some of the reasons I love St. Olave’s and why I would encourage everyone to join in and help spread the Word. It always provides a great feeling of accomplishment as well.