“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” 1 Sam. 7:12.
The Green Years (1975-1981)
The colour green represents the Brampton Church during its fledgling years. Like a new tree, the church did not know its future—how much it would grow, what shape it would take, or whether it would one day bear spiritual fruit in the form of other churches. Back in 1975, the only certain thing was that a seed had been planted!
In the fall of 1975, a dedicated group of three families met at the Harriston United Church in Bramalea to form the Brampton Company. Sixteen adults and eleven children attended the first service. This Company was formally organized in 1976 into the Brampton Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first minister, Pastor Dennis Heintz, was succeeded in January 1976 by Pastor Graham Glover.
In August 1976, assisted by Pastor Don Donesky, Pastor Glover baptized three new individuals. The next month, the Brampton Church held its first communion service. By then, Pastor Otto Drew from Plymouth, England had succeeded Pastor Glover, who was returning to Andrews University.
The Church grew through evangelistic meetings in the late 1970s, and so moved into a larger building, the Augsburg Lutheran Church building at 224 Mill Street, Brampton. Pastor Brian Jurianz became the next pastor after the Conference decided to link Brampton and Mississauga as district churches sharing the same pastor. In July 1978, the Conference linked Brampton with Richmond Hill and Pastor Enoch Anderson became the new leader. Under Pastor Anderson’s guidance, the membership increased from 68 to 74 members. He, in turn, was succeeded in August 1980 by Pastor Frederick Pearse.
The Blue Years (1981-1986)
During the blue years, the Brampton Church felt the desire to move into a larger building. The church was confronted with many hardships, such as the need for a larger building to house their congregation. Fortunately, no problem was strong enough to subside the spirit of God working through the members of the Brampton Church.
The Lord answered our prayers by giving us a series of strong leaders, each with a clear vision for the future of the Brampton Church. Pastor Pearse and his wife, Beatrice, came to us from the Bowmanville Church. Brampton Church continued growing and gave birth to the Orangeville Church in January 1983. Pastor Pearse retired in December 1984. By this time, the church contained 112 members. During the summer of 1984, Pastor Milton Perkins and his family came to us from Hamilton, where he had been a school teacher. Under his leadership, the initial step—the first purchase of a piece of land—was taken towards ownership of a church building. Many present members of the Brampton church can still remember how the congregation had contributed offerings specifically towards the purchase of land by placing money in a small glass church during services. Some members would also remember many penny wrapping parties, and the Brampton Adventist Ladies Association (BALA), which organized a sou-sou with half of the money being dedicated to the church building fund.
The Orange Years (1986-1991)
The Church was on fire during the Orange years, spiritually and financially! Together we hosted a number of events and programs designed to raise funds for our Church building. These fund raising programs included Stewardship banquets, concerts, corn roast, camping trips, and other social events. There were also generous financial pledges from our members. These were truly the achievement years!
In the summer of 1987, we bid farewell to Pastor Perkins, as he was called to the Windsor church. He was succeeded by Pastor Clayton Stanwick, who came to us from Calgary Alberta. In November of the same year, the Brampton Church moved to the St. Bartholomew United Church, and members launched a building fund under the direction of Pastor Stanwick. When Pastor Stanwick moved to the Immanuel Church, we were blessed for a short time with the leadership of Pastor Bill Frazer, who acted as interim pastor until Pastor Adam Bujak succeeded him in 1990. Pastor Adam Bujak and the church embarked on the Capital Stewardship Campaign, which increased our funds from $79 000 to $209 000! To God be the Glory!
The Purple Years (1991-1996)
Purple is the colour of victory. By the grace of God, our successes were due to God’s leadership, symbolically reminding us of how He led the Israelites through the wilderness, and they entered the promised land successfully. We give God the honour, glory, praise, and thanks for enabling us to cut the green ribbon at the doors which led us into our own church building! “Hitherto has the Lord helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12)… and beyond!
In June 1991, Pastor Bujak went to the Bramalea Filipino Church and we welcomed Pastor Winston Hurlock and family into our congregation. Under the blessings of Almighty God, the Church was completed and the congregation moved into its own building in February 1993. Since Pastor Hurlock’s appointment, membership has increased from 187 to 483. The formation of the Ruth Seventh-day Adventist Church is the result of this increase in membership.
The increase in membership also saw an increase of children, and soon the Brampton Church was ready for a Christian school in the Peel district! The Peel Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School started in September 1994, with 28 students on the initiative of Curt deGourville, with funding provided by the Conference through the Toronto District School System. The school now occupies the basement of the Mississauga Church and has grown to over 105 students.
The health message became a strong arm of the Brampton Church during the Purple years. Brother Jackson from Tennessee, U.S.A. conducted a series of inspirational health seminars which changed the lifestyle of many members forever. The 3 AM (Three Angels’ Message) Ministry was launched, leading many individuals to become vegetarians. The church has also been blessed through music. Under the leadership of Angela Wheeler, the choir grew and blessed other congregations during their several trips through North America, to places such as New York and Michigan.
To meet the growing needs of the Church, Pastor Wayne Williams, was appointed Associate Pastor of the Brampton Church in 1996. He catered to the needs of the church’s considerable youth representation.
The Red Years (1996-2001)
Presently, the Brampton Church is in the Red years, as its light radiates throughout Brampton. Evidence of this can be seen in the formation of the Ruth Church, as well as our outreach programs, such as the Touch of Love community service program, and the Tullamore Nursing Home visitations. The Touch of Love program feeds the homeless in the GTA on a regular basis. Members of the Brampton Church also turn their attention towards the elderly as they minister to residents of the Tullamore Nursing Home in song and scripture.
In 1996, the Brampton Church gave birth to the Ruth company. The search for a place of worship was led by Ronald Brown and Carmelle Spence, and the Heart Lake Presbyterian Church was rented. On January 30, 1999, Ruth celebrated its ascension to full church status. Pastor Williams was succeeded by Associate Pastor Reynold Hazelwood in 1999, who, like Pastor Hurlock, administers to both the Brampton and Ruth congregations.
The Red years saw an increase in vigour from the various Church departments; to mention a few: the Women’s Ministry organized retreats to strengthen families; the Health department organized vegetarian cooking classes; the Pathfinders have grown enormously over the years; Literature Evangelists have distributed numerous copies of Ellen G. White’s writings and megabooks throughout the community; and the Personal Ministries department raised money for relief work throughout the world and also offered Bible studies in the community. Throughout our history, the Lord has graciously enabled members of the Brampton Church to perform missionary work throughout the world, in places such as British Columbia, Quebec, Mexico, Jamaica, China, Japan, and South Korea.
As the world’s history comes to a close and the Lord’s return draws closer, the role of the Church becomes crucial. We still have a vision to expand to meet the growing needs of the congregation, and to provide services to the community. We know that we can do all things through Christ, for He has led us in the past, and He has promised to lead us in the future. On this twenty-fifth anniversary, He has brought us this far by faith. “Ebenezer! Hitherto has the Lord helped us!”
Submitted by Judy Williams, Communication Secretary.
Here is a list of the charters members: those whose names were recorded when the church was organized:
Alan and Jeannette Trites
Vern and Mary Edwards
Gordon and Theresa Watkins
Ed and Bonnie Sormin
Mike and Ivy Quashie
Petroff and Carmelita Taylor
Garnett and Pansy Dawkins
Edith and Fitzroy Edwards
Chris and Leon Grant
Mr. and Mrs. Courtney Edwards
John and Shirley Burbridge