Minister of the Congregation

Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin

The Rev. Dr. J. Peter Holmes has served on the ministry team of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in the heart of Toronto since 1995 and as the Minister of the Congregation since 2001.

Peter’s family roots are deeply imbedded in the soil of Ontario where his ancestors from all sides of the family settled and farmed. However, as a child of the manse, Peter spent most of his formative years in Victoria, British Columbia where he met his wife, Janet, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria. During the process of discerning a call to ministry he worked as a carpenter’s assistant and served as the Ombudsman of the University of Victoria.

Peter graduated from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto with a Master of Divinity degree in 1986. Upon ordination he served churches in both Toronto and Montreal before his call to Yorkminster Park.

In his early years of ministry Peter was mentored by two of Canada’s finest preachers, A. Leonard Griffith and the late, John N. Gladstone. Peter completed his doctoral studies in 2006 at Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. His thesis work was in the area of preaching at funerals. In more recent years he has been coached by Paul Scott Wilson of Emmanuel College who also served as his thesis supervisor.

Apart from preaching each week, leading the ministry team and assisting with the pastoral care of Yorkminster Park, Peter, co-conducts tours of sacred spaces in both Toronto and beyond, and also helps organize and host the annual Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship held at Yorkminster Park each fall which attracts clergy and laity from far and wide.

Peter has offered leadership in ecumenical and interfaith matters in Toronto and recently represented the Christian perspective as part of an interfaith panel examining warfare, violence and religion. Peter has served as a guest preacher in many churches including Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit; the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York; Canonmills Baptist Church, Edinburgh, Scotland; and Deir Mimas Church, Deir Mimas, Lebanon. Peter offered the Simpson Lectures at Acadia Divinity College in 2008 and will serve as Chaplain at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, from July 2-7, 2017.

Peter posts frequent blogs and has contributed to two recent series of commentaries, Feasting on the Word, and, Feasting on the Gospels. He has also been published in Joel C. Gregory’s, Baptist Preaching, A Global Anthology and his sermons are webcast each week at

In 2012 Peter was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee medal awarded to “honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” In 2016 Peter was named an Honorary Fellow of Acadia Divinity College. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Wycliffe College, and chairs the Beatty Ryckman Trust, which promotes clergy wellness in Canada. Peter is a member of the Board of the House of Compassion which was founded by the people of Yorkminster Park to provide round the clock supportive housing for adults suffering from severe mental illness.

On the side, Peter grows dahlias and loves to walk, hike and cycle, and he serves as the Co-President of the Lawrence Park Lawn Bowling and Croquet Club where he offers encouragement to those learning to play croquet at a more serious level.

He and Janet live in the heart of Toronto and have three wonderful adult children.

Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes