Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Oldest Black Church in Montreal

This is the second installment in a series of posts that celebrate Black History Month. Like many Anglican and Episcopal churches, Black people are an important part of St. Philip's parish family.  This series is offered in respectful appreciation of their esteemed place in our Parish as well as a deferential acknowledgement of the important role of Black people in churches across North America. 

 The Union United Church is the city of Montreal’s oldest Black congregation. It was founded in 1907 by several members of Montreal’s Black community who experienced racial conflict and were banned from entering all-White churches. Union was started with a treasury of just $1.83. The church has gone on to have a long and rich history, and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007.

Some noted former and current members of the Union United Church include some of Canada’s high-profile Black Canadians. This includes, but not limited to, Kenneth and Rufus Rockhead (owners of the jazz club Rockhead’s Paradise), the late jazz great Oscar Peterson, actor Percy Rodrigues, bestselling novelist Mairuth Sarsfield, the Honourable Judge Juanita Westmoreland-TraorĂ©, Victor Phillips, and Brenda Paris.

Over the years, Union United Church has also welcomed high-profile visitors into its sanctuary. Among those are Stokely Carmichael, Rosemary Brown, Sydney Poitier, Dr. Carrie Best, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Bernadette Allen, Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.

For more information about the church see the book Proud Past, Bright Future.

No comments:

Post a Comment