By Lincoln DePradine
Canadians, especially those from the Black community, are mourning the passing of a prominent religious leader who headed one of Toronto’s largest Christian ministries.
Dr Audley James, Bishop and Senior Pastor of Revivaltime Tabernacle Worldwide Ministries died July 20 in Markham, Ontario. He was 81.
“We are saddened by this enormous loss but are comforted in knowing that he is now in the presence of the Lord,’’ said a statement issued Monday by the James family. “He impacted numerous lives, communities, churches and governments worldwide.’’
Reverend James, the third of nine children, immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1969.
A baptized Christian since age nine, he founded Revivaltime Tabernacle that now has a membership of more than 1500 worshipping at churches in Downsview and Durham.
Among those who have publicly expressed sorrow on the death of Rev. James is Toronto Mayor John Tory. The mayor, in extending condolences to James’s family and the Revivaltime congregation, described the late clergyman as a “devoted pastor who gave his life to comforting others and helping youth’’.
During his lifetime, Rev. James ministered not only in Canada but also in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa and Israel. According to family members, he was “known for his great eloquence and excellence’’ and “multitudes across the nation of Canada and around the world are mourning the loss of our Bishop, who has been called a ‘General’ in the Faith’’.
Bishop James’s surviving relatives include his wife Rev. Rosenda James and children Dr. Andrew James, Pastor Judith Meikle and Minister Janna-Lyn Baxter.
In Monday’s statement, the family said it wanted to extend its “deepest gratitude for the outpouring of love, well wishes, prayers and support’’ received on the death of Bishop James.