Pastor F.W. McKenzie
F. Wesley McKenzie was born in Jamaica, West Indies, on Sept. 22, 1929. He attended public school there, and was raised in a local denominational church. However, he longed for more of God than he found there. He left home in 1949 to seek employment in Kingston, the capital city. Before he left, a friend who noticed his desire for God told him that if he truly wanted to be a Christian, he needed to be baptized in Jesus name.
Arriving in Kingston, he discovered that the cousin to whose home he had come had recently obeyed the truth, so it was not long before Wesley followed his example. He was baptized in Jesus name and received the Holy Ghost under the ministry of Rev. Ralph Reynolds at Pentecostal Tabernacle, Wildman St., Kingston.
He applied for admission to the Police Training School, and while waiting for a response became spiritually and physically active in the church, as the first Tabernacle was then being built. When he received word of his acceptance into the school, several of the mothers in Zion became very concerned for his spiritual survival. However, God answered their prayers and kept him strong as he served sixteen years in the Police Force. During this time he also became a member of the choir and served on the Church Board. In 1955, he married Margherita Hunt, who was also a member of Pentecostal Tabernacle. This union produced four children Granville, Desmond, Elise and Heather.
Bro. McKenzie was always a lover of education, and his desire to pursue higher education led him to migrate to Toronto, Canada with his family in 1967. They attended First United Pentecostal Church and all four children were born again there, during the pastorate of Rev. Carl Stephenson. Bro. McKenzie obtained the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Bachelor of Social Work from York University in Toronto, and his Master of Social Work degree from Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.
In 1971 a job transfer made it necessary for the family to move to a small town west of Toronto, which also meant they needed to find a new church home. Their first visit was to Weston U.P.C., located in the west end of Toronto. The main prayer request that day was for a new pastor, as their current pastor had accepted a position elsewhere. Up to the time of his departure, no replacement had been found, so the Church Board asked Bro. McKenzie if he would consent to being the regular Sunday morning speaker, which he did. After some months, with still no pastoral applicants, The Board suggested to the District Superintendent, Rev. J.O. Moore, that he ask Bro. McKenzie to consider applying for a Local Licence, and becoming the Pastor of the church. He prayed about it, and finally agreed. God then began a course of on- the- job training.
During the first seven years of Bro. McKenzies pastorate, he endured a severe trial of faith as all the existing members left the assembly for various reasons, with the exception of one elderly sister who felt led to recruit children for Sunday School. The first lasting convert was one of these children. The child’s mother soon followed, and several friends who came to witness that baptism formed the foundation which God had promised. Rev. W.V. Cooling, who succeeded Bro. Moore as District Superintendent, became the most regular encourager of the work through those lean years.
Following what he felt to be the direction of the Holy Spirit, Bro. McKenzie spearheaded two sessions of the Enrol to Grow Sunday School outreach program. The result was an urgent need for relocation, as the congregation grew to 120, in a building that seated 96! A nearby movie theatre came up for sale, and the Lord moved miraculously in various ways to allow the church to purchase this building in 1985. As the church continued to grow, the need for another re-location became evident in 1997 and again, by many miracles, God provided the present location 1901 Jane St. Preparing for the move, the church felt the need for a new name that would more accurately reflect its character, experience and history. Faith Sanctuary was chosen.
Pastor McKenzie was ordained to the ministry in July, 1979. He taught courses part- time for several years at Apostolic Missionary Institute, and was a member of the Ontario District Board from 1992 until his death. He also served on the Editorial Board of the U.P.C.I., and on the Ministers Appeal Council. He travelled to the mission fields of Brazil and the Philippines, and ministered in several other places. He was a mentor and father figure to many, some of whom are now themselves in the ministry. He was a great believer in spreading the Gospel through daughter works, and this policy still continues today at Faith Sanctuary. One of Pastor McKenzies fondest dreams was for the church to own a Senior citizens residence, and this desire was fulfilled as part of the deal for the present property.
On the morning of March 3, 2003, after a four year battle with cancer, … after he had served his own generation by the will of God, he fell on sleep. (Acts 13:36) His sons took up the baton; the elder son as Senior Pastor, and the younger as Assistant Pastor: and so the race continues, by the grace of God.