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Journey to Manhood

Journey to Manhood

Audley Goulbourne

Ontario Theological Seminary: 1976 - 1998

Audley Goulbourne [BTh 1980, MTS 1996] fears he attended OBC under false pretenses. At 19 years of age, Audley heard about Ontario Bible College (OBC) in Jamaica, where he was born and raised. At that time, OBC offered a bursary for students who intended to return to their homeland. “I still feel bad about that,” says Audley, who never did return to minister in Jamaica.

Instead, Audley became the pastor of Lisle Memorial Baptist Church in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto. However, he never intended to be a pastor. He came to OBC to gain experience working with youth and had hoped to return to Jamaica to teach religion in schools and minister as a lay person in a church.

Audley started his studies at OBC in 1975 while it was still at 16 Spadina Road. During his second year, the school moved to 25 Ballyconnor Court, where he lived on campus. “It was the suburbs compared to downtown,” says Audley, “it was definitely ‘out there’ and not as accessible.” This was a big change in the life of the school, as was the relaxing of certain rules, such as boys being able to visit the girls’ floors, and it resulted, in Audley’s mind, in a less close-knit community. However, it was this community that elected Las Newman as the first Jamaican to be student council president during Audley’s first year. “He was the Barack Obama of his time,” says Audley, who was elected to the same position during his last year at OBC.

In 1980, Audley was involved in youth ministry when he heard about Lisle Memorial Baptist Church during a chapel service at OBC. He had attended one of the school’s mission conferences, where he was challenged to think about missions anywhere, anytime, and at any place. “In my mind, it wouldn’t be Canada. I didn’t see it as a mission field,” says Audley. “I have a different sense now of Canada being a mission field.” After completing his MTS degree at Ontario Theological Seminary (OTS) in 1996, Audley and his wife Yvonne [OBC 1984] chose to live with their three sons in Toronto's Jane and Finch area to be more actively involved in the community.

“I have a different sense now of Canada being a mission field.”

Audley identified an issue within his community: there were several generations of youth growing up fatherless. “The concern rose out of raising my three sons. I wanted to guide them into manhood in a more intentional way than I was. I also saw that my sons had lots of friends who were frequently in our home, with the majority being raised by their mothers. I was moved to widen my reach to influence to their friends to foster their development as well,” reflected Audley. To bridge the gap, he started the Journey to Manhood Institute (J2MI). The youth are mentored by older men who are trained by J2MI. They meet weekly with guest speakers, receive etiquette training, and participate in sports activities and trips. Each youth meets one-on-one with his mentor and is expected to give back to the community, such as helping the elderly or distributing food to the homeless. The program even includes two important right of passage ceremonies, one at age 13 and one at age 18, to celebrate reaching certain milestones. Audley’s goal is that “each youth grows up with a positive, clear, and healthy idea of what it means to be a man.”

Audley hopes that Tyndale will always ask, “How do we prepare students for globalization and urbanization?” “In light of the fact that the church in the developing world is growing in leaps and bounds, I hope that Tyndale will always have a place and space to equip leaders from those countries,” says Audley. Tyndale’s legacy, in Audley’s mind, is the graduates who have impacted the world, in terms of traditional ministry, the marketplace and wherever they are – just as Audley has done in Toronto.