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Who and What are the AOTS?

I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about this wonderful organization. The men of the United Church AOTS (As One That Serves) Men’s Clubs have been a big part in the Men’s Ministry in the Church and have been a little too modest to wave their flags so-to-speak.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions that have been asked over the years.

What is AOTS?

AOTS is a men’s service club that is affiliated with the United Church of Canada, but is open to all men on a broad ecumenical basis. AOTS aims to promote fellowship, deepen the spiritual life of men, and develop an effective program of Christian service. In fact, AOTS stands for “As One That Serves”, which is taken from the statement by Christ: “I am among you as One that serves.” (Luke 22.27).

Although the goals of AOTS are taken seriously, club members enjoy the camaraderie of sharing, supporting, searching, studying, and serving together. AOTS fosters a good time for a good cause, mixing the social with the spiritual, as men of the church.

Where Did AOTS Begin?
AOTS was born in Vancouver in 1923. The first official club was formed that year by Dr Herbert Riggs, a physician at Kerrisdale Methodist (now Ryerson United Church). The concept spread quickly to other churches and communities on the West Coast, then steadily across the country. By the mid-fifties, there were close to 10,000 members in Canada and Bermuda. For more information of the history of the AOTS movement, contact the National Office.

Where is AOTS Today?
In the early years of its existence, AOTS, although recognized and encouraged by the church, was an independent organization. Currently, the National Association of AOTS Men’s Clubs is officially integrated into the structures of the United Church of Canada. There are over 60 active clubs meeting and serving in communities across the country from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and there are even more individual members as well.

What Do AOTS Clubs Do?
The format and style of an AOTS club varies with the size, location, and make up of the community and the home church. Each is geared to the interests, needs and concerns of its members. A typical club meets monthly for dinner or breakfast—this might include an interesting program or speaker, devotionals, and a discussion of on-going service projects. The club is likely to be involved with several community outreach and church-related programs. Some examples:

  1. Visiting shut-ins
  2. Supporting the local food bank or transitional housing organization.
  3. Providing leadership for youth activities in the church.
  4. Helping with the upkeep of local camps and sponsoring underprivileged campers.
While they may serve an obvious practical purpose, AOTS projects promote fellowship and this “hands-on” approach inspires laymen to become more involved in the church.

Is there anyone out there involved in Men's Ministry that has some examples of projects that they are working on?

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