History of St. Thomas
BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH
The Parish of St. Thomas’ was established in 1887as a mission of the Diocese of Algoma in the west end of the community of Fort William. Three years later, the physical construction of the church began. The first service was held in November of 1890 on the first Sunday of Advent. The Church has been a reflection of the lives of its members over the years, sharing in the tragedy of the World Wars, growing and expanding as membership increased experiencing the shortages of the Depression and the boom after war years.
The physical structure was twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt. In 1948, a rectory was purchased adjacent to the Church on Edward Street. As the Sunday school enrollment increased during the Baby Boom, the L. C. Irwin Christian Education Centre was built adjoining the main building, and a basement to the Church was added. A second home in Northwood was purchased which helped to facilitate an active Curacy training program. St. Thomas has been a starting point for many clergy, both as a first posting and a place where individuals have discerned the pastoral call. Since 1890, there have been 13 Incumbents at St. Thomas’.
The living stones that make up the Church of St. Thomas are as diverse and varied as the community that the Church is situated in. Many families have been attending the Church for several generations. Historically, a strength of the Church was a large number of young families that attended, resulting in a very busy Sunday School. This has fallen off in recent years. Although many members live in the community of Westfort, there are just as many who have sought out the type of worship, sense of family and Bible based teaching that is characteristic of St. Thomas’. People come from all over Thunder Bay to join in the fellowship.
In 2007, the parish adopted the slogan “Rooted in Jesus”. The Church family at St. Thomas’ is a Christian community united by our common love for Jesus and love for one another in Christ. It is our goal to help members accept Christ as Lord of their lives, commit themselves to Him and allow Him to fill them with His Holy Spirit, empowering them for active service in His Name.
In March of 2013 at our advisory board visioning retreat, it was decided to become more intentional about feeding the hungry and becoming a voice for those in need. This was the beginning of repurposing the L . C. Irwin Christian Education Centre into the Family Giving Centre “FGC”. Each individual and group in the parish was challenged to contribute their time talent and resources with the goal of “Helping Those in Need.” The congregation responded with a tremendous out pouring of donations and support.
In 2015 with the FGC successfully operating, we felt another visioning retreat would help us to focus our energy on building a Strategic plan for our “Church”. We began with our new Mission statement of “Joyfully. Continuing The Work Of Jesus”.