Pastor Ralph Carl Wushke

Our church has a “come as you are” atmosphere. You will see some dressed up; some dressed casual. We have no expectations for attire.

Message from the Church Council

We believe

…that everyone has a place here, regardless of who you are.  Come as you are.
…that God has called us to serve our neighbourhood.
…that the Spirit is leading us to transform our lives and the world around us.

First Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and we live in relationship with Christians all over the world.

We believe in Jesus Christ who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, calls us to serve our neighbour and to love all of our neighbours as ourselves.

If you are looking for a place to worship while visiting Toronto, or a spiritual home where you can join others who are finding the Way, or simply some peace in the midst of a hectic life, First is a great place to start.


Stephanie von Bargen,
Council Chair, First Ev. Lutheran Church

Message from Pastor Ralph Carl in a time of pandemic

COVID-19 Security, Insecurity and Confidence

Many years ago a feminist theologian told me, “Ralph: security is a myth.”

While I have never forgotten her words, they take on a new relevance in light of the COVID-19 crisis. As citizens of a wealthy, stable country, most of us take “security” and predictability for granted. A delayed flight or an out of stock item can leave us annoyed, but we know that the flight will leave eventually, and we can normally make a different choice from well-stocked shelves. COVID-19 changes everything: the familiarity, stability, reliability, and dependability with which we are familiar is suddenly disrupted. Flights are cancelled. Our familiar plans and patterns are cancelled. We don’t know where this insidious virus is lurking in our city and whether or not we, or someone we love has been exposed. We also don’t know how long the crisis will last, and if things will soon be back to “normal.”

While no one would have wished for this pandemic, and we all pray for its quick end, one can ask if COVID-19 is a reminder that all of life is contingent. This is not to suggest that we should worry more during normal times, but rather to live with a faith-based mindfulness in good times and bad. Looking at the COVID-19 crisis through the eyes of faith will help us to see God at work in the incredible dedication of health care professionals, and all who work in the food supply system, communications, transport, utilities, which must be kept running smoothly. People on these front lines don’t have the option of “self-isolation” and face extra risk. Let us give thanks.

One of the most-loved hymns of German Lutherans around the world “Jesus, meine Zuversicht” (EG 427) or “Jesus lives, my sure defence” (ELW 621), came to mind as I tried to keep abreast of all the COVID-19 information.

“Zuversicht” is rendered as “defence” in most English translations; “confidence” comes closer to the heart of “Zuversicht.” As I think about the immeasurable uncertainties created by COVID-19 I also take it as an opportunity to remind myself that my ultimate security rests in God acting through Jesus Christ. This enables me to face these days with confidence, show love to those in need, and do my part to “flatten the curve.”

Pastor Ralph Carl