The Dawes Road corridor in Toronto is home to an eclectic mix of families from different socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. Although signs of gentrification are happening, the community still remains a relatively unchanged pocket of the inner city of middle to lower-income homes. Identifying the needs of this diverse community is a challenge, but also an opportunity for the church to be a meaningful presence and have real purpose. This is a great community with good hard working families. Though there is great disparity among people, there is a common need for the Gospel to take root there.
On May 1st, 2013, Mercy City Church had its official inauguration. Inauguration means to initiate, introduce, or conceive. There was nothing fancy or elaborate about MCC’s inauguration; it was just a group of like-minded believers with the same vision and burden for the Gospel, gathered together one evening to break bread and pray together. It was all very ordinary. However, like so many times before, when God’s people gather to seek Him, the ordinary becomes an opportunity to experience the extraordinary presence of the Spirit. Good and powerful things happen when God’s people come together to break bread and pray (just read the book of Acts!). That evening was filled with joy, tears, harmony, conviction, and love. More than anything was the unifying presence of the Spirit as the MCC team found common ground in a common calling to plant a church in the community.
Yet May 1st was not our official public launch. We didn't have a space or presence in the community. There were only two commercial plazas within the Dawes Road community and for us to find a home, a space in one of these plazas would have to become available, and be suitable for a church. Then something unbelievable began to unfold. While driving in the neighbourhood one day, we noticed something new in the window of a store. It was a large sign that read, “Store for rent.” A storefront in one of the commercial plazas had opened up! The space was ideal; the right size, the right location, the right time, and the right price. God made a place available—right when we needed it! A few short weeks later on September 17th, MCC took possession of its new home in the heart of the community. Renovations began immediately and the church officially opened doors to the community in October 2013. Our official grand opening celebration was held on January 18th, 2014.
Lead pastor Chris Yu shares the story of MCC
As our namesake states, mercy (not charity) is the main way in which we express the Gospel through serving and loving our community. The marginalized were always at the centre of Jesus’s Gospel, so the church needs to be where the people that need the Gospel most are. We feel called to be the doorway for people to hear and experience the Gospel. God is moving and we are becoming a Gospel presence.