It's our birthday! March 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the assembly that meets in the Langstaff Gospel Hall. Much has changed in the world in the past 75 years. 75 years ago smoke signals were likely more common than online communications. In fact, when Langstaff was started the majority of those who are now members had not even been born. Yet despite all of these changes there is one thing that has not changed, that has kept us grounded, and will continue to lead us into the future. Actually, it is not a thing that has not changed but rather a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ. He is no different today than he was 75 years ago. He is good, He is alive, and we love Him. The Lord Jesus is the centre of all we do. It was His power that changed lives and started our assembly 75 years ago and it is that same power and love that continue to change our lives today.
Below you can take a brief walk through our history. At the bottom you will find a more in depth powerpoint slide presentation as well as audio from the special anniversary meeting that we enjoyed.
The Beginning - 1910
In 1910 a group of Christians rented a small building at 120 Tyrell Avenue. This group included: Addison Taylor, William McCullough, John Bartholomew and Norman Kion. This was a simple one story structure, lit by coal lamps and had room for 20-30 chairs. This group started to humbly share the good news of Jesus Christ from the small building.
They started with a childrens work and by 1912 there were over 135 children attending on a weekly basis. They renovated the building that they had rented and had a series of nighly preaching of the gospel. Interestingly one of the men involved at the start was Erik Kitcher. During this early time he became a conscientious objector to being conscripted for military duty. He was sentenced to life in prison but his sentence was later reduced to 10 years.
Today, we continue to be benefactors of the work, dedication, and love for Christ displayed by these early founders of our local church.
The summer of 1913 marked a great change. An old style tent was pitched on an empty lot, that same lot became the site of the building that we occupied for many years. From 1914-1938 there were weekly sunday school meetings, prayer meetings, and bible studies held at this location. There were annual meetings held in public spaces where the gospel was preached to all who would listen. During these years there was great blessing by God and many people were saved by God's grace. Yet this period was one of formation and preparation as there was still no formal leadership in place, and no weekly remembrance of the Lord through the breaking of bread.
March 26, 1939 marked the first time that the Lord's supper was shared by Christians at the Bracondale Assembly. The believers had been meeting in the Central Gospel Hall and thus it was in 1939 that Bracondale became an autonomous local church. There were 92 in attendance for the first meeting. You can see and read the letter that was written by the leaders of the Central Gospel Hall in the gallery of pictures to the right.
It is incredible to note the timing of the establishment of our local church as many other events were going on in 1939. It was in 1939 that world war two began, television began to be broadcast in the US, LaGuardia Airport opened in New York City, and Albert Einstein wrote the president about creating an atomic bomb. It was in this time of immense turmoil in the world that, by the hand of God, Christians came together to start worshipping, praising, and making much of the name of Jesus.
It was only two years after the planting of Bracondale that the first evangelist was sent out to work full time in spreading the gospel. Mr. Doug Howard was commended in 1941 to serve the Lord in ministry and gospel work.
It was a number of years later that a group of christians left Bracondale to be engaged in the planting of a new local church in Fairbank with a largely Italian population. So all along the goal has been growth and spreading of the gospel. From the Christians in Central to Bracondale, and then from Bracondale to Fairbank. The gospel is a great message and one that must be shared.
Langstaff is Born
Langstaff Gospel Hall is the result of a relocation by Bracondale. It was in December of 1994 that the decision was made to purchase the lot where we are currently located. The reasons for the decision were, the great location by the new 407, lots of space to build a large hall, the ability to reach out to the surrounding residential community, and the changing demographics as many members moved out to the suburbs.
In 1995 and 1996 a tent was erected on the newly purchased lot for children's meetings as well as gospel outreaches. Many nights the tent saw over 100 people in attendance and there were many people who came to know the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. It was during this period that construction began on the current building.
On May 5th of 1996 the assembly moved from Bracondale up to the current location at 1350 Langstaff Rd.. At that time the current building was still under construction and therefore meetings were held in the small white building that currently sits to the east of the hall. Despite a few mice, lack of space, and lack of creature comforts the years spent in that small building were years of great joy and fellowship.
The Langstaff Gospel Hall
In 1999 construction on the new building was finally complete. It was a large step from the small white building into the building we now occupy. Mr. Harold Paisley and Mr. Norman Crawford visited us to inaugurate the building with the preaching of the wonderful news of the Gospel. They spoke nightly for a couple of weeks as we started adjusting to our new, and more spacious surroundings. Over the years since then we have enjoyed the new building and have sought to use it for God's glory and the benefit of those around. The annual missionary conference started in 2004, and has continued every year. As we pause and look back we are grateful for God's goodness, and it fills us with confidence that He will continue to provide for us, guide us, and empower us to accomplish His purposes.
We invite you to celebrate with us what God has done in the past and to join us as we continue to pursue Him and look to Him to continue to work in the future. By clicking below you can download the powerpoint that we used at our anniversary meeting as well as listen to the audio message of Michael Da Silva walking us through a more detailed history of Langstaff.