Central Technical School at Bloor and Bathurst
Phil and Chris Pringle met as preteens and later lived in a hippie commune in New Zealand. In 1980, they say God called on them to start a Pentecostal church in Sydney. Forty-odd years later, Christian City Church—now rebranded as C3—has some 500 chapters and 112,000 members around the world. It came to Toronto five years ago, when Sam and Jess Picken, two C3 Bible college alumni from Australia, set up shop here. They had never been to Toronto and only visited once before launching the church. The congregation started with six members. The Pickens pay a levy to the mothership in Sydney to license the name and brand and otherwise support themselves with donations and tithes. Church services feature coloured lights, craft coffee and a live band performing catchy folk-pop with pious lyrics— some congregants describe it as a Coldplay concert without Chris Martin. In addition to Sunday services, C3 offers communion and baptism, which are performed on the steps of the school. And for kids, there’s a free Sunday ministry, led by a mascot named Rocco the Raccoon.