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Chapel Place History

1968
Chapel Place Presbyterian Church started in 1968 by few families who had just arrived from the Middle East , and were worshipping at Knox Presbyterian Church, in Toronto. Two ladies, Mrs. Wadia Kirolos (Habashy) and Mrs. Haddad (Emil Haddad’s mother), were looking to worship in Arabic, their native language. They began to meet in the bowling alley at Knox Presbyterian Church every Sunday for Bible Study and Worship, and were led by beloved Elder R. Girgis, at the time, a new immigrant himself.
1970
Two years later, the group expanded enough to be moved to the small chapel at Knox Church. They were organized into a fellowship and a board of directors was named. It was registered as a church under the name “The Arabic Speaking Evangelical Church”.
1976
The need for a full time minister was recognized, and the church called a young minister from Egypt, Rev. Nagi Said. Rev. Nagi Said had graduated from the Seminary in Egypt in 1976. He had visited Canada in July 1976 to participate in the outreach during the Summer Olympics, and to learn more about the various youth ministries in this country. Upon his return to Egypt, and for two years, he served and ministered to youth in Cairo and Menia, until he was ordained in 1979. He was invited by the Arabic Speaking Evangelical Church to be our minister and leader. In 1982, the congregation formally joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
1983
Rev. Nagi was officially received and inducted in 1983. The original chartered members were comprised of 42 people – several continue to worship at Chapel Place Presbyterian Church. In 1983, the first serving session was elected and begun its ministry in serving the spiritual needs of the congregation. Four members were elected to serve. The original four elders were: Makram Barsoum, Sherif Ghobrial, George Habib, Onsi Maassarany.
The first Building Fund was also established. A member of the congregation, who was a new immigrant and unemployed at the time, donated the initial $100.00, in faith. The first year balance of the fund was $28,000.00. Inspire of few skeptics – many united in the vision, and were encouraged to donate. By the second year a total $100,000.00 was collected.. an awesome amount at the time! This amount enabled us to approach the Presbytery and ask for their support – and they did.
1984
A building committee was named and by 1990 it had expanded to include several people, mostly professional engineers. It included, Elder Eng Adel Ashamalla, Eng Samy Behman, Elder Eng George Habib, Elder Eng Amin Makari, Eng Shirin Meleika, Eng Ezzat Mitri, Eng Suzy Said, and Rev Nagi Said. Osama Yacoub was chairman of the building committee during the second Phase, and several others also were consulted and or participated in Phase II, those included Raafat Abadir, and Akram Yoannis amongst others.
1987
The land was purchased in Markham and building plans were drafted.
1990
The ground-breaking ceremony took place on a cold day, September 29th, 1990. The Board of Managers 1990 – consisted of 7 people: Elham Gouda, was the first Treasurer to bring the church to modern times, by researching and selecting, an automated accounting system, to produce financial statement. Others on the board, Such as Elia Said, Samy Shokry, Mabel Malki, Sam Shalaby, Ramez el Mallakh, and Chairman Maher Armanious – were faced with new challenges and issues revolving around actually managing the building and property!
1991
1991 - Phase I was completed in 1991. This is also the year when the church’s name was legally changed to Chapel Place Presbyterian Church, adopting the name of the street where it resides.
At one point during the project, it was realized that building needed to be larger than planned. This was not in the budget. The people of this congregation united in the spirit of this vision, and on a Sunday morning, men and women, donated their gold jewellery to sell towards the project. At the end, Jehovah Jireh, the Lord provided, but the moment of unity of purpose will not be forgotten.
The inaugural ceremony was held with joy and thanksgiving on June 16th, 1991. Phase 2 which included the daycare center was completed in late 1991. That year, 1991, also saw the surge in congregation members, and the need for more elders was apparent. Four elders were elected: Nouri Garabet Makram Keriakis, Amin Makari, Maher Rizkalla.
A dedication ceremony was held on October 27th, 1991. The attendees included many officials from the Presbytery, and friends of the church from Egypt, and North America were celebrating with us and praising God for what He has done.
2002
Chapel Place Presbyterian Church was proud to be 20 years as an official member of the Canadian Presbyterian family.

Chapel Place - Daycare

No history of Chapel Place Church would be complete without mentioning the daycare center. Few today understand how it came about and how it evolved. The daycare center would not have materialized if it wasn’t for the foresight, vision, and effort which Eng. Amir Shalaby had put in bringing it to light. Amir took it upon himself to do the feasibility study, investigate the government grants and spearhead the application.

We experienced God's faithfulness first hand: our proposal for Government funding was rejected in 1988 and again in 1989. We proceeded to build in 1990 without a daycare centre . Then came a telephone call in early 1991 from Government asking if we are still prepared to build. Yes we were! We modified a few things and planned phase two. We received generous financial contribution to cover the costs of phase two.

Amir Shalaby proceeded to form a board to manage and grow the daycare. The original board made of Sawsan Armanious, Bothaina Garabet, Nader Hanna, Sahar Salib and Amir Shalaby is credited for having set the mission, vision and guidelines for how the daycare will be run. The original board members, were joined by Nabila Barsoum, Selim Gabra, Marian George, Adel Marco, Fikry Naguib, Basma Younan – several continue to serve for the 20 years of its existence. The daycare brings Chapel Place to the broader Markham community. It complements the Church's mission of service.
The daycare strives to demonstrate Christian values in the way we deliver care : respect, love, embracing diversity, integrity and compassion for the children, parents and staff. The day care was built a year after the Church sanctuary .

God's blessings continue to this day. Our alumni are in colleges and some are now married. Several church members volunteered and worked at the centre, pastors share prayer and worship times with staff and the children, and the Seniors delighted in the company of the children. The Daycare Board of directors is accountable for the operation of the centre, they are appointed by the Church Session. Any account of the daycare is incomplete without acknowledging the central role of staff and the caring and able leadership of Mrs. Patty Palermo, the supervisor since the mid nineties. The day care grew from the initial 24 spaces (and only four children) to over a hundred spaces today (with waiting lists).

The daycare community is blessed to be part of the broader Chapel Place family and look forward to a future where we jointly serve our communities.

By God's Grace

Chapel Place Presbyterian Church is the first Arabic Presbyterian Church in Canada. We have experienced God’s grace, and enjoyed a journey of faith, of shared vision, of growth. For as long as we have existed, we stand humbled, in front of God’s faithfulness through the years.

Chapel Place stands firmly on God’s word and His promises. Through this church many came to Christ, ministries were launched, missions sent, sports camps formed, and new churches were planted by members of this congregation.

To “list” it all here would be limiting what God has done with us,
and how we were truly blessed !