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- United Church of Canada. Toronto Conference
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Conferences in the United Church of Canada were courts of the Church organized as an administrative grouping of Presbyteries in a geographical area. The Conference was governed by a body consisting of ministers within its boundaries and an equal number of non-ministerial representatives of Pastoral Charges. Functions of a Conference included the following: determining boundaries and numbers of Presbyteries within its bounds; receiving and disposing of appeals, petitions subject to the usual right to appeal; sustaining pastorate in every Pastoral Charge; examining and ordaining candidates for the Order of Ministry; receiving ministers and deaconesses from other Churches; dealing with matters referred to it by the General Council and selecting equal numbers of members of the Order of Ministry and lay representatives to the General Council.
Toronto Conference held its inaugural service on 1925 September 22 in St. James Square Church, Toronto. In 1925 the Toronto Conference encompassed the following Presbyteries: Algoma, Dufferin and Peel, Grey, Muskoka, North Bay, Simcoe, Toronto Centre, Toronto East and Toronto West. In 1927, Sudbury and Temiskaming Presbyteries were added, followed by the addition of Cochrane Presbytery in 1929. In 1975, North Bay, Sudbury, and Temiskaming joined the newly founded Manitou Conference. In 2009, with the reorganization of Toronto Conference, the number of presbyteries were reduced to four: Living Waters, Northern Waters, South West, and Toronto Southeast. On January 1, 2019, Toronto Conference disbanded and the congregations within its boundaries became part of the following Regional Councils: Shining Waters Regional Council, Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council, Horseshoe Falls Regional Council and East Central Ontario Regional Council.
Scope and content
The Conference Minister for Christian Development position began in 1975 to provide assistance to Presbyteries and mission units in planning for Christian Nurture and training adequate leadership, to research approaches to leadership, to assist in the administration of the lay leadership training fund, to provide consultative services and program resources to members of the order of ministry and the appropriate Conference Committee in the area of continuing education and professional development. The Conference Minister supported the work of the Christian Development Committee and its subcommittees. In 1985, this position was renamed Conference Minister for Christian Development and Congregational Life. The position also consulted with presbyteries and sessions/official boards in their exercise of care and oversight of the life and ministry of congregations. In 1988, the work of the program was divided so the congregational piece was separate and under the portfolio of the Conference Minister for Congregational Life and Leadership Development. Christian Development then included social justice. In 2001, all this work became part of the Conference Minister for Christian Formation and Congregational Development. The position focused on Christian formation, communication, evangelism, leadership and congregational development, Mission and Service Fund, spirituality, and stewardship.
Series consists of correspondence and subject files, relating to: Christian development, 1987-1994; Christian formation (includes children and youth), 2001-2008; congregational life and leadership (including AOTS), 1989-1993; evangelism (including First Nation communities), 2002-2008; issues and programs (including children, youth, and Sunday School programs), 1984-2000; Leadership and Congregational Development, 2001-2008; Ministry with Children, 1993-1994; spirituality, 2001-2008; workshops and events, 1986-1999; and youth and young adults, 1990-1994.
See also Records of Christian Development Committee and its subcommittees, Christian Formation and Congregational Development Committee, Financial Stewardship Overview Group and Stewardship Committee (Series 4). See also Records concerning Stewardship (Series 6/Subseries 4) and Records concerning Communication (Series 6/Subseries 3).