Holt Free Methodist Church began back in 1909 when a farming family in Mount Albert, ON donated some of their land to build the church. In the 1970s the old church was torn down and a new one was built. There were concerns about taking on debt but the new church was rebuilt without a mortgage. In the 1980s, a parsonage was built and again it was done without taking on a mortgage.
Shortly after Holt’s 100th anniversary, the board decided to install an elevator. On the Sunday morning that pastor Matthew McEwen announced a building committee for the elevator, a superintendent in construction attended Holt for the first time, “It was God’s provision. This guy had put an elevator in at University of Toronto so he figured he could help install one here. Our budget for the elevator was $34,000 which was also put in debt free. It’s the history of this church that God provides builders. When there is a project people come and support.”
Holt has been through some challenging times but in the last two years, there has been growth and excitement. Much of that has to do with the Lego Program that Joy McEwen started two years ago. “I read several different articles about kids being undernourished in terms of creativity. And thought maybe the church could become a creative place for kids. Our kids are at an age where they are really getting into Lego and I wanted something non-threatening that kids would invite friends and neighbours to.”
Lego Program has anywhere from 12-15 kids each Thursday night. And of the kids live on a two kilometre stretch along the church road, ages range from JK to Grade six. The evening includes a project for the night, a lesson with different theme like friendship, leadership or cooperation and then a challenge that has to do with the lesson. For example, if they were talking about God being our shelter then the kids need to construct a Lego shelter. “Lego is a great, adaptable medium for all ages. And it appeals to the kids so it gets them into the church and shows them that church is a safe place to be. A place where they can come and have fun.”
Matthew is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry from Tyndale Seminary in the area of spiritual formation. “It would not be possible for me to continue my education if it was not for the generosity of the FMCiC. And Holt has also supported and provided me with the time to pursue my doctorate. I’m very thankful.”
Matthew is always thinking about creative ways to do ministry in this setting. “My heart wants to see what God is calling Holt to be. What is God leading our church towards? I heard one board member say, “It’s not our calling to be a big church. We raise people up and send them.”