A year ago few people, Christian or secular, knew anything about the small Vineyard church located just west of Toronto's Pearson Airport. Now certain airlines offer a discount for travelers who want to fly in for the nightly, Tuesday-through-Sunday renewal meetings. "Toronto Life" magazine has even billed the Toronto Blessing as the top tourist attraction of 1994.
Toronto's Airport Vineyard Church has had to move to a new location just to handle the crowds. When the "fire" first fell a year ago, about 200 believers were gathered to hear Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from Saint Louis. On January 20, 1995, one year after the birth of the renewal, Clark returned to preach—only this time, to an anniversary crowd of 4,000. On a typical night, there are 500 to 1,000 people, from every corner of the globe, in the four- to five-hour worship service.
Already the Airport Vineyard phenomenon has generated four books, dozens of articles in both secular and Christian media, and significant television coverage in Canada, England, and continental Europe. Dave Collins, a Toronto pastor who recently attended the Global Consultation on World Evangelization in Seoul, said, "Virtually every time I told people where I pastored, they asked me about the Toronto Blessing."
Physical manifestations occurring in the worship services of the Airport Vineyard have been the focal point for the attention—holy laughter, shaking, animal noises, and falling down, to name a few. There have also been reports of healing miracles, including a story of angels working with dyslexic children. The most famous account claims that Sarah Lilliman, a teenager who lives northwest of Toronto, was cured of paralysis and loss of speech, memory, and eyesight after ...1
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