Receiving The Vision
Since the late 1990’s, our greater Adventist community was experiencing an exodus of young people from the church. The division between the long-standing traditional culture and generation X and Y cost some congregations a whole generation of future leaders that didn’t look back as they drifted through the back door. This soul drain needed to stop.
Renee Rowe, a visionary and founder at Kanisa Fellowship, felt impressed in April 2003 to make a change. The change would be the start of new contemporary Adventist church, with a fresh worship culture for today’s generation. Never having started a church before, Renee spoke with friends and family, asking them directly “what would it take for you to be a part of a new church?”
These conversations soon turned into meetings where, prayerfully, the issues affecting young people, how the church is addressing those issues, and how we could make a real difference were discussed. From these meetings, the beginnings of a mission and vision of what would become the Kanisa Fellowship we know today were formed.
In May 2003, Kanisa Fellowship began holding seminars during Sabbath afternoons at Crawford Adventist Academy in northern Toronto. These meetings were open to all, and topics included visitor hospitality, church organization and culture, and worship and praise. We used this time to introduce Kanisa Fellowship to the community, and to answer any questions about the goals and vision of the group. As an understanding of who we were grew, the support became overwhelming.
On July 12, 2003, after three months of working tirelessly, Kanisa Fellowship held its first full Sabbath morning worship at Crawford Adventist Academy. God opened the floodgates of His blessings and 170 people joined us in praise, worship, thanksgiving and celebration. The summer of 2003 was filled with excitement, learning and work – – lots of work. We persevered and God continued to bless our efforts.
A Year of Firsts: New Church Home & Pastor
In September 2003, Kanisa Fellowship held our first service at the Oriole-York Mills United Church, which would then become our home for the next nine years. During the early years, Kanisa Fellowship was led by a council chaired by Elder Len Carby. In September 2004, Pastor Derrick Nichols, then president of the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, officially installed John M. Scott as Kanisa Fellowship’s first pastor. It was official. Kanisa Fellowship was officially part of the world sisterhood of Adventist churches, and poised to impact the world with a courageous and fresh take on Adventist worship culture.
Where We Are Today
Kanisa Fellowship continues to practically explore ways to connect today’s culture to a rich worship experience that changes lives. In November 2015, Mathew Feeley became the pastor of the church. Pastor Feeley brought a fresh and dynamic perspective that focused on family unity, inclusive outreach that seeks to touch the heart of people, and engage them in a passionate way. With over 200 steady members, Kanisa Fellowship has room to grow. The congregation relocated to the Avenue Road and 401 area in 2012, and currently worships at the Korean Onurri United Church.
Over the last eleven years, we have seen God do incredible things. We have seen His grace bring us to places we never would have imagined, and growth that only He, Himself could bring about. It is amazing to see all that has transpired over this time, and we look forward to getting to know you on your journey as well.
Kanisa Fellowship looks forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary as an official church in 2015.