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Toronto Conference

Montreal Conference





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Art Bennett, a regular attendee, was so enthused that he joined the Committee on Evangelism. He insisted the Committee stop referring to the Conference as the “Laymen’s Conference” and call it the “Men’s Conference”. Both laymen and clergy were encouraged to attend.

During this time “Tuesday on the Square”, a downtown Toronto Men’s Ministry took off, and the Rev. Desmond Hunt moved to Toronto. He joined the Committee on Evangelism and was the Chairman when the Diocese decentralized, disbanding all Diocesan committees in the process. Charlie and Desmond decided the Men’s Conference must continue. Desmond suggested “Tuesday on the Square” be asked to support it. They readily accepted this inspired move. After a transition year Charlie stepped down as Chairman. The Committee desired a sense of continuity and so, until his election as bishop, Desmond led the conferences.

Attendance grew steadily until it reached the capacity of Geneva Park. The FLAME Conference was a key spiritual force in the Diocese of Toronto. It was a place where men could come with their friends to hear the truth about Jesus Christ; perhaps for the first time they would realize what it meant to accept Him as Lord and Saviour.

Following in Desmond’s footsteps, Richard Tanner provided our spiritual leadership for several years. This period saw the introduction of the main FLAME banner and the annual weekend banners. These banners go back to local parishes and constantly remind us of the warmth of the love of Jesus as we experience it on these weekends.

The success of FLAME inspired the women of the Diocese to start AWARE, a similar conference for women. AWARE had to be run on two weekends to accommodate the demand.

In this period the Saturday evening segment began taking it’s special place on the weekend. A presentation on “Operation Bootstrap” made its mark during the ravages of the mid 1980’s business recession. Gerry Brown gave a talk in his own inimitable style one year. It was enthusiastically received. Bishop Desmond Hunt came one evening, just recovering from a lengthy illness. The transformation to the Desmond we knew was just amazing. In 1992 we watched the Blue Jays win their first World Series. Rev. Bob Hartley, the scheduled speaker that evening, realized that he’d have to be brief.

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