Immanuel Baptist Church began as Alexander Street Baptist Church in 1866 with a membership of 27. In 1888 a new church was built on the corner of Jarvis and Wellesley and the name Immanuel Baptist Church was chosen. The church flourished in this area for many years. When people began to leave the downtown core the congregation dwindled.
As families were moving north, the church moved with them. Because Pleasant View Baptist Church was being expropriated for the widening of Woodbine Avenue the two churches merged and built a new building on Finch Avenue in 1967. At this point the congregation was a mono-ethnic (Anglo) church family.
In 1974, Rev. Samuel Baxter was called from the Maritimes to be our pastor. He made a deliberate decision to focus on multi-cultural ministry and today’s diversity which we celebrate, is part of his legacy. The first woman Deacon was elected during Sam Baxter’s time.
Rev. Bill Crump became our pastor in 1981. Under his leadership we moved to a strong music program and built an extension on the building. Curt Erb was hired as Youth Pastor in 1987 and under Bill’s direction initiated a blended worship style.
In 1989 Paul Pearce became our pastor. During this time the church structure was changed from a Board of Deacons and Board of Management to incorporate the two boards into one Council. In 1994 Sharon Kvill became our first female pastor. Bruce Burgess began his ministry in 1996, retiring in 2016. The church welcomed Jonathan Mills as pastor in 2017.
While we appreciate our pastors, Immanuel’s ministry has always thrived because of strong congregational involvement.
We are thankful that God is gathering many of the nations of the world at Immanuel. We believe this is happening so that with His strength, we can reach the nations with the never-changing, life-giving message of Jesus Christ.