The American Board of Missions to the Jews, predecessor to Chosen People Ministries, began operating in Canada in 1940 at the invitation of Philpott Tabernacle in Hamilton, Ontario. The national headquarters of the Mission’s work in Canada were first established in this city. Beth Sar Shalom Mission (House of the Prince of Peace) was incorporated on November 9, 1967. Soon after, the directors appointed Fred Bregman, son of a well-known former rabbi, to lead the Toronto ministry. From the beginning, the Canadian Board of Directors and staff worked in close cooperation with their American counterpart, the ministry begun by Rabbi Leopold Cohn in 1894. After the close of Mr. Bregman’s ministry, the Toronto work continued and the ministry expanded to Montreal. Beginning in 1975 and over the next three decades, Winnie Marriner faithfully and effectively led the ministry there. The respected
Talmudic scholar, Rachmiel Frydland, led the Toronto work from 1973 to 1975. His influential local ministry led to the development of a new Messianic congregation During this time, Les Jacobs led a dynamic and fruitful youth ministry at York University.
In the early 1980s, David Sedaca revived the Toronto ministry and, in 1984, two Chicago-based workers, Roy Schwarcz and Galen Banashak, did itinerant ministry in Ontario and planted the Olive Tree Messianic Congregation in Toronto. Beginning in 1986, that congregation was jointly led by Rob Styler and Ben Volman. On Styler’s move to New York City in 1987, the congregation was led by Ben Volman until 1991. Rob Styler returned to Toronto and led the congregation again until 1994, after which Gideon Levytam provided part-time leadership for several years.
In 1990, Larry Rich was appointed National Director and oversaw the Canadian ministry until 2005, establishing a successful work in Montreal (not presently connected with our Mission). Under Larry’s guidance, the Mission’s headquarters moved to Toronto. On his retirement, Joseph Gray stepped into the directorship. Joe established a new congregation in Toronto, Kehillat Eytz Chaim / Tree of Life Congregation. In 2007, Ben Volman came back on staff to lead the congregation and still serves as Messianic Rabbi there.
In recent years, other missionaries have joined the Canadian staff:
Michael Wodlinger, who moved to Winnipeg in 2008 and planted Kehillah Haverim Mashiach / Fellowship of Messiah Congregation.
Marcello Araujo, who in 2012 began a new ministry in Hamilton and planted Kehila Kumi Ori / Arise & Shine Congregation.
Charles Hopkin, who stepped into the Winnipeg ministry after Michael moved to Quebec.
Vladimir Bortsov and later, his wife, Anna Bortsova, who focus their ministry to Russian-speaking Jews.
Joseph Gray moved the Mission to its new Toronto headquarters at 225 Bridgeland Avenue. In 2010, Jorge Sedaca (brother of David) was appointed Executive Director and continues in that role. Under his leadership the ministry continues to expand and grow, finding new ways to reach the lost sheep of Israel with the Good News of Jesus the Messiah. A second floor is being added to the Toronto Messianic Centre on Bridgeland Avenue, the first and only Messianic centre in Canada at the present time.