The Rev. Dr. J. Peter Holmes
Organization: Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto, ON
The Rev. Dr. J. Peter Holmes has served on the ministry team of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in the heart of Toronto since 1995 and as the Minister of the Congregation since 2001.
Peter’s family roots are deeply imbedded in the soil of Ontario where his ancestors from all sides of the family settled and farmed. However, as a child of the manse, Peter spent most of his formative years in Victoria, British Columbia where he met his wife, Janet, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria. During the process of discerning a call to ministry he worked as a carpenter’s assistant and served as the Ombudsman of the University of Victoria. Peter graduated from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto with a Master of Divinity degree in 1986. Upon ordination in 1987, he served at Blythwood Road Baptist Church, Toronto and First Baptist Church, Montreal before his call to Yorkminster Park.
In his early years of ministry Peter was mentored by two of Canada’s finest preachers; A. Leonard Griffith and the late, John N. Gladstone. Peter completed his doctoral studies in 2006 at Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. His thesis work was in the area of preaching at funerals. In more recent years he has been coached by Paul Scott Wilson of Emmanuel College who also served as his thesis supervisor.
Apart from preaching each week, leading the ministry team and assisting with the pastoral care of Yorkminster Park, Peter, co-conducts tours of sacred spaces in both Toronto and beyond, and also helps organize and host the annual Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship held at Yorkminster Park each fall which attracts clergy and laity from far and wide.
In recognition of Peter’s leadership in ecumenical and interfaith endeavours in the city and beyond, the Toronto Commandery of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem named him as the recipient of their 2022 Marjorie McKinnon Ecumenical Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter has served as a guest preacher in many churches including Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit; the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City; Canonmills Baptist Church, Edinburgh, Scotland; Deir Mimas Church, Deir Mimas, Lebanon, St. George’s Church, Metis-sur-Mer, Quebec; and St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Toronto. Peter also offered the Simpson Lectures at Acadia Divinity College in 2008, preached at a 200th anniversary service for Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church in 2018, and served as Chaplain at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, in July, 2017.
Peter has contributed to two recent series of commentaries, Feasting on the Word, and, Feasting on the Gospels. He has also been published in Joel C. Gregory’s, Baptist Preaching, A Global Anthology and his sermons are webcast each week at www.yorkminsterpark.com. Peter also contributes a weekly entry to Walking Together, Yorkminster Park’s weekday online devotional.
In 2012 Peter was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee medal awarded to “honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” In 2016 Peter was named an Honorary Lifetime Fellow of Acadia Divinity College. In 2022 he completed a nine-year term as a Trustee of Wycliffe College, and a twelve-year term as Chair of the Beatty Ryckman Trust; a trust established to promote clergy wellness in Canada. Peter is also a member of the Board of the House of Compassion which was founded by the people of Yorkminster Park to provide supportive housing for adults suffering from severe mental illness.
On the side, Peter grows dahlias and canna lilies, loves to walk, hike, cycle and enjoys a friendly game of croquet. He is married to Janet and they have three adult children and one delightful grandchild.
Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. J. Peter Holmes
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Tuesday February 14, 2023
In his sermon on the Transfiguration, Dr. J. Peter Holmes says when we listen to Jesus, we will find ourselves looking at ourselves, others, and the world as Jesus does--with the eyes of faith, hope, and love--never giving up on his transforming power.