“A Miraculous Happening”

We had no sooner moved into our “retirement” cottage in West Toronto when I received a phone call “out of the blue” from the Rev’d. David Burrows, rector of St. Olave’s Anglican Church, Bloor at Windermere, in the west end. The Rev’d. Burrows said he would like to meet a former Anglican priest, now Orthodox, and asked if we could meet for coffee at a west end coffee shop. Of course, I agreed immediately. He then asked where in the 416 area code (covering probably 1000 square miles!!) we lived. I told him we lived at Dundas and Windermere. I asked him where his church was. “Bloor at Windermere”, he replied. We were on opposite ends of the same street!

During our meeting, Fr. Burrows asked if we were interested in having an “Orthodox presence in the west end of Toronto”, and, if so, would we “be interested in using the side chapel at St. Olave’s, rent free, as an ecumenical gesture on the part of St. Olave’s.” I replied that I would have to ask permission of my Bishop, and, if that was granted, even though “retired” I would jump at such an opportunity. The permission was granted, and we scheduled the first Orthodox service for June 1, 2007.

I told Fr. Burrows, that as host, it was his choice to name a patron saint for our new Mission. Without hesitation, he said: “St. Dunstan, last Orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The first service had to be cancelled as I traveled to Massachusetts for my mother’s burial.. on St. Dunstan’s Day, May 17/ June 1, 2007.

St. Dunstan’s Orthodox Mission functioned at St. Olave’s Anglican Church for a full five years, 2007 – 2012. We saw the baptism of Jeremy Burrows (now Fr. Deacon Jeremy), and later of his mother and father who now attend our Mission Parish of St. Theodore of Canterbury, meeting at St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church. Fr. Jeremy Burrows serves at St. Joseph of Arimathea Parish in Pickering (Whitevale), Ontario, while his parents drive all the way from Barrie, Ontario, where they now reside in retirement, to be present at the Sunday Liturgy.

God blessed our humble efforts at St. Dunstan’s (St. Olave’s Anglican Church), Toronto, more than we could ever had imagined!