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893: Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Toronto, Canada
Other reports | Comment on this report
Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Toronto, Canada

Mystery Worshipper: Caleb.
The church: Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Toronto, Canada.
Denomination: Non-denominational.
The building: A very large, modern building used as a conference center as well as a church.
The church: The Toronto Fellowship is probably most famous as the place where the Toronto Blessing broke out in the early 1990s – a revival outwardly manifested in uncontrollable laughter and animal noises. The fellowship had previously belonged to the Vineyard churches, but the Toronto Blessing caused them to be ejected from the movement.
The neighbourhood: The building is somewhat oddly in the middle of an industrial estate. We had printed directions from their website, as we were visitors to Toronto, but gave up trying to follow them after 15 mins. We then stumbled on the street more by good luck than anything else.
The cast: The worship was led by a young lady who was nameless and then the "preaching" by a visiting man, apparently a famous prophet by the name of Jim Goll. The resident pastors John and Carol Arnott were in Alabama leading a conference there (we found this out from the website, as there was no mention of it at the service). This church has eight couples and a single lady all as pastors, ranging from the usual Senior Pastors and Youth Pastors to the more rare Spanish Congregation Pastors and and Equipping Pastor.
Comment: We have received a comment on this report.

What was the name of the service?
Sunday Evening Healing Service.

How full was the building?
It was a huge building with sufficient chairs to seat 500 people, and more space to add in a further 200-300 if required. However there were only about 150 people there.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
No one – we were ignored when we walked in the front door and ignored when we walked into the main hall. We went into the bookshop and even when I purchased a couple of cards, the lady serving did not acknowledge me at all other than to take my money. We went and sat down and at the start of the service the worship leader gave everyone an opportunity to welcome the people around them, but no one turned to us. Perhaps we were invisible?

Was your pew comfortable?
Average seats with plenty of leg room, but the seats were fastened together – why do churches do that?

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Very noisy with a lot of chatter and a very noisy, spirited, rehearsal by the music group.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"I hope you are glad to be here to worship our Lord Jesus."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
No books, the words of the songs were projected onto two large screens. There was no specific Bible reading, but the speaker did refer to a couple of different New Testament verses.

What musical instruments were played?
One guitar, two keyboards, drums, and three singers.

Did anything distract you?
There were constant comings and goings of many people, into the seated area, and then out of it. I wondered if we were missing something better in another room. Also on a couple of occasions, messages were projected onto the two large screens. One message, repeated several times, requested the services of a translator into Spanish (I believe they have a loop system which means people of different languages can share in the same service). The second message informed a car owner that they had left their lights on.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Very happy clappy with hands raised, people kneeling, lying down and dancing. The songs were completely unknown to me, but the people there obviously were familiar with them, although I wouldn't have said that any of the four songs were suitable for congregational singing.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
No sermon – instead the visiting preacher gave his testimony, which lasted approx 1 hour 15 mins.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – a very good accomplished speaker who knew exactly how to handle the audience.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
He was diagnosed with terminal cancer over a year ago, and gave at times graphic details of the medical treatment – and the prayers – he received. He seemed to boast that he had people all over the world praying for him, but was apparently also delighted to add that these people were not aware of the severity of his illness. He was given the all clear several months ago after being prayed for by an African pastor by the name of Pastor Surprise.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The lady leading the worship had a beautiful voice, which, if I concentrate hard, I can still hear.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Hopefully, the feeling that we didn't belong!

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We left after two and a half hours, and they were still going strong.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was no sign of coffee being offered.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
1 – sorry, but even if I did live in Toronto, this church is far too big and impersonal for me.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
I'm not sure... the people we saw all seemed happy to be there.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Being invisible.
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