As I sit in my room in an unusually deep-freezing January in Toronto, I am thankful; very thankful. It’s the twentieth anniversary of the day the Holy Spirit came and poured Himself out in renewal and revival to a small Vineyard church near Pearson International Airport. Within weeks thousands were flocking to the nightly meetings from all over the world, with airlines putting on extra flights from the UK, just to accommodate all the Brits who wanted to go over.
And twenty years later, the phenomenon of revival continues, and countless lives globally have been changed for the better, as they have experienced God the Father’s tangible love, received revelation and healing, and entered into deeper intimacy with Jesus.
In Golden Valley Church (then known as New Life Church, Churchdown) we initially experienced this revival in 1994 as a result of Rodney Howard-Browne’s visit to Birmingham, where we hungrily queued to attend the meetings and encountered God’s amazing Presence in a new and intimate way, with much joy and laughter, tears and cries, shouting and shaking, falling and resting. We were never the same again, as Holy Spirit kept on coming. Over the following days and months, people came from all around the area to our own church which then met in a school, and in which there was standing room only! No advertising – just word of mouth! And they weren’t disappointed with God. As time continued the flow of what we were experiencing was strengthened and increased as a result of the influence and impartations coming out of Toronto. This move of God became this church’s DNA – and we love it!
The British media dubbed the revival in Toronto the “Toronto Blessing” as mainstream British churches flocked across the Atlantic and incorporated God’s Presence into their own meetings. The name stuck.
But how awesome is it today?! After 20 years Holy Spirit keeps on coming, and lives continue changing. We are so incredibly grateful to John and Carol Arnott for faithfully and lovingly hosting God’s Presence, and bringing us all into more.
This is a milestone, but also a launch pad for deeper and greater experience of Him. Our cry goes out today, “We are hungry for more of You, Lord: we love Your sweet Presence!”