Toronto Mayor Welcomes Adventist Delegation

Toronto, Canada
Jonathan Gallagher / ANN


Mel Lastman, mayor of Toronto, welcomed the Seventh-day Adventist Church to town today (June 26) at a press conference called to announce the start of the Church's World Session on June 29.

Pastor Paulsen answers press questions
Pastor Paulsen answers press questions

The press audience
The press audience

Mel Lastman, mayor of Toronto, welcomed the Seventh-day Adventist Church to town on June 26 at a press conference called to announce the start of the Church’s World Session on June 29.

“We are honored and delighted to host this major Church convention here in Toronto,” said Lastman. “We promise peace, serenity and safety, together with thousands of welcomes, from the most culturally diverse city in the world.”

Lastman also mentioned the similarities between the city of Toronto and the Adventist Church in their diverse representation from many nations and languages.

“You will find more than 100 languages and even more nationalities here in Toronto,” he said. “May the magic of the city of Toronto match the magic of your Church with its 11 million members. Adventists are wonderful people, with 20,000 in Ontario, including two in my own office. We are delighted that you have chosen Toronto.”

In response, Jan Paulsen, president of the Adventist Church, thanked the mayor and said that Toronto’s international flavor meant that the Adventist World Church would feel at home, and that he looked forward to a profitable time in the city.

“As a Church we have a primary spiritual agenda which comes from Scripture,” said Paulsen. “But our Lord also took a strong interest in the community in which he was placed. So we too look to improve the quality of life of people here and now. Today has to be better than yesterday. Our mission around the world has always emphasized education for the community, and health through hospitals and clinics.”

Orville Parchment, president of the Adventist Church in Canada, added that “we are very excited that Session is being held in Canada for the first time” and thanked the World Church for choosing to come to Toronto.

Gino Ginacola of Tourism Toronto said that the Session would be truly exceptional in that it was the largest convention ever held in Toronto’s history, and that it would have a tremendous economic benefit to the city because of the large number of people attending for an extended period of time.  He anticipated that the arrival of so many Adventist visitors would “bring $50 million into the economy of the city and the province.”

“This event will raise awareness of Toronto as a place for major conventions that can be staged here by international organizations,” said Giancola. “It will also solidify Toronto as a venue for the religious market sector and others.” He thanked the SkyDome, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the baseball League for being willing to hold their games outside of Toronto so that the Adventist Church could have use of the SkyDome for the Session.

The World Session runs from June 29 to July 5 and is expected to bring 60,000 visitors to Toronto.

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