St. Mathew’s Mar Thoma Church, Toronto is the second Mar Thoma parish to be established in the Greater Toronto Area, and was created to serve the increasing number of Mar Thoma families living in the western parts of metropolitan Toronto, and the cities further west including Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Brantford, Guelph, Cambridge, Waterloo, Stratford, and London. The families living in these areas were previously members of the Canadian Mar Thoma Church in Markham, Ontario, and had been participating in church activities travelling inordinately long distances for many years. With the increasing numbers of immigrants arriving through the 1990s, the membership at the ‘mother parish’ in Markham grew significantly by year 2000. This posed tremendous challenges accommodating the worshippers in the limited capacity of the church sanctuary, and space in the parking lot. Expansion of the church building was not an option, as it was a protected heritage building originally built in 1870.
In light of the above factors it was clear that a serious search for a viable solution to resolve this situation was needed. Hence, as part of the Christmas Social Evening on 15th December 2000 in the west end, a business meeting was convened , where there was overwhelming support for separating from the ‘mother parish’ and establishing an independent parish located in the west to serve families in the above mention areas. Accordingly, the members at this meeting chaired by the then Vicar Rev. George Mathew, took a unanimous decision to pursue the goal of forming an independent parish, and elected a committee of 10 members with the Vicar as President, with a mandate to accomplish that goal. The committee was given a target time-frame of summer 2001 for accomplishing this objective.
This Committee, after first ensuring the financial viability of the plan, and in accordance with stipulated procedures, prepared an “Application to Form a Separate Parish”. All member families in the above mentioned areas were approached for their signatures to request the Church hierarchy to grant the request in this Application. In March 2001, the Application with signatures from 84 families was officially submitted to the Vicar and then Diocesan Bishop Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Episcopa, who after a detailed evaluation of the circumstances, concluded that formation of a second parish in Toronto was the best solution to address the needs of all members. He then forwarded the Application with this recommendation to the Church Synod which met that June in Kerala and resolved to approve the request in the Application, and to name the new parish St. Mathew’s Mar Thoma Church. A “Kalpana” (Bishop’s order) to this effect was issued to the ‘mother parish’, in which the Diocesan Bishop also appointed Rev. Mathew Thomas who was already in Toronto as Assistant Vicar of the mother parish, as ‘Vicar-in-charge’ of the new parish to be formed.
The Committee then proceeded to find and rent a suitable venue to conduct services, and planned the inauguration celebrations, which resulted in finding and renting the Christ Anglican Church Mimico in Etobicoke for our use on Sundays. The inaugural Holy Communion Service was held on 22nd July 2001 at the First United Church in Port Credit, Mississauga, with the Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Episcopa as celebrant. Immediately following this Holy Communion service, an Inauguration Meeting was held to recognize and celebrate the formation of the new parish, which was attended by a large number of invited clergy and dignitaries. The St. Mathew’s Mar Thoma Church was thus formed as a new parish on 22nd July 2001, to serve Mar Thoma families in the western regions of Toronto.
After the tenure of Rev. Mathew Thomas as Vicar from 2001 till April 2006 under whose leadership the land for the church was purchased, Rev. Alex P John was appointed Vicar of the parish till April 2011. During his tenure, with his able leadership, all of the planning, construction, completion, and dedication of the church facility was accomplished. From May 2011 to April 2014, Rev. Varghese K Abraham was appointed as Vicar, and during his tenure the building of the parsonage was started, finished, and dedicated in March 2014, in time for the arrival of the next Vicar who was Rev. Mathew Baby, from May 2014 till April 2017. The parish is ever grateful for the able leadership and guidance of all of the Vicars named here for bringing the parish to where we are today, and for the significant strides made in our growth and various other accomplishments! Above all, thanks to Almighty God for His grace and abundant blessings which has shaped the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of the parishioners until now, and we pray that He continues to do so for the future prosperity and spiritual enrichment of the parish!