General Information

 

GracePoint Baptist Church

Doctrinal Statement


1. BIBLE: We believe the Bible to be the complete Word of God; that the sixty-six books, as originally written, comprising the Old and New Testaments were verbally inspired by the Spirit of God and were entirely free from error; that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice and the true basis of Christian union.


2. GOD: We believe in one God, Creator of all, holy, sovereign, eternal, existing in three equal Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit


3. CHRIST: We believe in the absolute and essential deity of Jesus Christ, in His eternal existence with the Father in preincarnate glory, in His virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, triumphant ascension, mediatorial ministry and personal return.


4. THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe in the absolute and essential deity and personality of the Holy Spirit Who convinces of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; Who regenerates, sanctifies, illuminates and comforts those who believe in Jesus Christ


5. SATAN: We believe that Satan exists as an evil personality, the originator of sin, the arch-enemy of God and man.


6. MAN: We believe that man was divinely created in the image of God; that he sinned, becoming guilty before God, resulting in total depravity, thereby incurring physical and spiritual death.


7. SALVATION: We believe that salvation is by the sovereign, electing grace of God; that by the appointment of the Father, Christ voluntarily suffered a vicarious expiatory and propitiatory death; that justification is by faith alone in the all-sufficient sacrifice and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and that those whom God has effectually called shall be divinely preserved and finally perfected in the image of the Lord.


8. FUTURE THINGS: We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the resurrection of the just and unjust; in the eternal blessedness of the redeemed and in the judgment and conscious, eternal punishment of the wicked.


9. THE LOCAL CHURCH: We believe that a church is a company of immersed believers, called out from the world, separated unto the Lord Jesus, voluntarily associated for the ministry of the Word, the mutual edification of its members, the propagation of the faith and the observance of the ordinances. We believe it is a sovereign, independent body, exercising its own divinely awarded gifts, precepts and privileges under the Lordship of Christ, the Great Head of the church. We believe that its officers are pastors and deacons.


10. ORDINANCES: We believe that there are only two ordinances of the church regularly observed in the New Testament in the following order: 1. Baptism which is the immersion of the believer in water, whereby he obeys Christ's command and sets forth his identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. 2. The Lord's Supper which is the memorial wherein the believer partakes of the two elements, bread and wine, which symbolize the Lord's body and shed blood, proclaiming His death until He come.


11. THE CHURCH AND STATE: We believe in the entire separation of church and state. 12. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: We believe in religious liberty; that every man has the right to practice and propagate his beliefs.


13. THE LORD'S DAY: We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day and that in a special sense, it is the divinely appointed day for worship and spiritual exercise.


14. CIVIL GOVERNMENT: We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interest and good order of society, that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honoured and obeyed except only in the things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the only Lord of the conscience and Prince of the kings of the earth.

Our History


Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church had its beginnings in the year 1954 when providentially Rev. W. S. Whitcombe and his wife Leila contracted to buy a home (as yet unbuilt) in the Sheppard-Pharmacy area of Scarborough in the new subdivision of Wishing Well Acres. At this time, Mr. Whitcombe was pastoring two works, one in the morning at Scarborough Village Baptist Church, and another in the evening at Vivian McCormack Memorial Church. Only when the work at Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church became too demanding did he give up the pastorate of these two churches.


The builder of the Wishing Well Acres subdivision, Mr. Robert McClintock, was the developer of a large area of the eastern part of Metropolitan Toronto and a man dedicated to the Lord’s service. Knowing of Mr. Whitcombe’s background in Christian ministry, he offered to provide a building site for an evangelical church within this new subdivision. The area, at that time, was rural in character and consisted largely of open fields and treed corners with a few country homes on Sheppard Avenue. Across the street from the present church building was a large piece of property devoted to riding stables. The largest community was the small town of Agincourt a few miles to the east. There were no churches of any kind in the immediate area and the Whitcombes, seeing the open door the Lord was providing, felt led to accept the challenge of reaching this growing community with the gospel even though they had no source of funds or support for such an undertaking.


Beginnings were made in the Fall of 1955 when young children were invited to gather in the Whitcombes’ recreation room on Friday evenings for a program called ‘Happy Hour’. It was reported that on at least one occasion there were over 100 children in attendance. The following year a teenagers group was formed and they met at a later hour on the same evening in the pastor?s home. The Whitcombes were encouraged by the great potential of this area to start a Bible School in their home on Sunday afternoons. Invitations were prepared and handed out throughout the neighbourhood during a house to house visitation program. The response was overwhelming and it became evident that a larger meeting place was needed. Thus the portable classrooms at Vradenburg Public School were rented and a Bible School and church service were both carried on at the same hour. Though for some it meant driving long distances during these days, friends from the Scarborough Village work and others joined to help in the Bible School teaching. God blessed their efforts and gradually others joined in the work and helped to shoulder the load.


About February, 1956, this small company of people were faced with another challenge. In order to prove their good faith in making use of the land he offered, Mr. McClintock asked that they show within their building fund the sum of $25,000 within the next month and a half. To this little group of believers this seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But not so with God! The time was short and the people few but God enabled them to give unstintingly to help meet this goal. Others as well, from near and far - some complete strangers - learned of the opportunity and the need and gave generously, without reserve, in order to help until, by the deadline, $26,000 was on hand. Mr. McClintock honoured his pledge and turned over the deed to the land. Thus, on a beautiful Fall day in October, 1956, with the warm sunshine mixing with the rich autumn colours, a large crowd of around 200 persons came to witness the cornerstone laying of Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church. It was a very auspicious start and the wishes and prayers expressed on that day for the blessing of the Lord was much in evidence as the work grew.


After several delays in material and supplies the building was completed and opening services took place on Sunday, April 7, 1957. The total value of the land and building, as presented at a congregational meeting in May, 1957, was $114, 895. Included in this figure are estimates of the value of generous donations of labour and material by many friends of the work.


The work continued to progress as the Lord blessed the ministry of the Word and the consecrated service of His people. It was on June 22, 1958, at the close of the morning service, that a group met for the purpose of organizing Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church. There were 50 names on the list of charter members. At the annual business meeting in February, 1961, the church voted to apply for membership in The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada and, with a view to such application, agreed to call together a Council for formal recognition of this congregation as a Baptist church. On June 18, 1961, the Recognition Council met and in due course unanimously agreed to recognize Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church as a Baptist church. The church was officially received into the Fellowship at the annual convention in October.


It soon became evident that the existing building had reached its capacity for the church congregation. The membership had almost tripled, the Sunday School attendance had grown from a few dozen to an enrollment of about 300 and the mid-week groups had expanded to 8. Thus, on March 24, 1965, the Building Committee was given the go ahead to proceed with building plans. The result was that nearly two years later, on January 29, 1967, a fine new addition was officially opened. Continued growth was experienced by the church through the remainder of the sixties and into the seventies. It was in March, 1969, that a record attendance was reached in the Bible School of 447. Church membership saw a steady growth through this period as well, to over the 300 mark. In October, 1970, the house next door to the church was purchased to give additional classroom space and, at present, it also provides offices for the pastoral staff and our church secretary.


At the annual meeting in March, 1975, Dr. Whitcombe read a statement to the church concerning his decision to terminate the pastorate of Wishing Well and on June 1, 1975, he tendered his formal resignation to take effect on Sunday, October 26, 1975.


In April, 1977, the name of Rev. C. Gordon Heath of Hamilton, Scotland, was presented to the congregation and he was called to become pastor. On June 1, 1977, he, along with his wife, Greta, began their ministry. The work continued to thrive and this was particularly evidenced by the large Sunday morning congregation. September, 1978, saw the commencement of a second morning service. This continued until the end of June, 1979.


Pastor Heath’s ministry was of short duration as he informed the church on August 3, 1980, that he had accepted a call to a church back in Scotland and was therefore resigning as pastor of Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church. Once again, the church was without a senior pastor. It was not until the Fall of 1981 that the church extended a call to Rev. Ronald J. Unruh of Peterborough, Ontario, to become senior pastor and he, along with his wife, Christine, began their ministry on January 1, 1982.


To provide pew space and stimulate growth we operated two morning services on a four month trial basis in 1985 and then discontinued it because of the conflicts it caused. The possibility of a south building addition was investigated and a site plan was approved in the winter of 1988.


We began the 1990’s in the midst of a recession and this was probably one of the biggest factors in the decision to drop the proposal for a building addition.


During the latter part of 1990 Pastor Unruh felt led of the Lord to tender his resignation and this became effective at the end of May, 1991.


It was to be almost two years before we would have another senior pastor. In February, 1993, the Pastoral Search Committee presented the name of Steve Webster, who had been serving for the previous 5 years as Associate Pastor of a new work in Pickering. He and his wife, Debbie, commenced ministry here in April of 1993.