With information gathered through archival research, interviews, and personal histories, The Black Church in Canada is a unique collection of six essays that attempts to balance discussions of discrimination and racism experienced in the white Canadian Church and solutions Black Canadians have employed to reclaim agency in their religious worship. It attempts to validate the historical struggles Black Canadians have faced to remain faithful to Christianity without sacrificing their dignity and agency in religious affairs.
The Black Church in Canada features essays on:
British Methodist Episcopal Church Union United Church Spiritual Shouter Baptists Amherstburg Baptist Association and the First Baptist Church of Toronto African Methodist Episcopal Church Caribbean Toronto Catholic Secretariat and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish With hope, The Black Church in Canada will provide much needed historical information about the contributions of Black Canadians to various Christian denominations throughout Canada and inspire more research on Black Canadian religious experience.
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Special thanks to the Ontario Black History Society for funding this project.
The Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) advocated for the historic designation of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church site then located on Soho Street in downtown Toronto. Since the congregation had moved to another location, the Soho Street site was vacant and of interest to a developer. The OBHS advocated to have this historic site preserved and potentially re-animated as an African Canadian museum/cultural centre. Unfortunately, despite OBHS's formal presentations and submissions to the relevant authorities, it was decided that the church site would be demolished.
One small positive outcome of the demolition was that the City of Toronto and the developer, Wittington Development, promised to have an onsite commemoration of the church's original site. The AME supported it, the neighbourhood supported it, and approximately $60 000 of public art money was paid to the City of Toronto by Wittington Development for this particular purpose. Moreover, the onsite commemoration was to have incorporated artifacts from the destruction of the AME Church site--artifacts given by the city to the developer of the Soho Street site for safekeeping and eventual use as part of the commemoration. However, the developer "lost" the artifacts from their storage facility at Bathurst and Lakeshore, and the commemoration that was promised was never actually carried out. Therefore, the city has never fully fulfilled its obligation to the commemoration of the AME Church site as detailed in the 1997 report.
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