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.
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.
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.
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. 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.