Toronto Canada

The SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir that I perform with had the opportunity to sing at the First Baptist Church (FBC). The performance was one of best and most moving to date. 

FBC is the oldest African-Canadian church in Toronto. The church was started by 12 runaway slaves from the Southern US under the leadership of Elder Washington Chistian in 1826.  Just recently the church celebrated its 182 year anniversary. Arguably, FBC could be the oldest and longest running Black institution in all of the Western Hemisphere, especially considering the fact that it was against the law during those times for Blacks to organize in many American States. 

Immediately after the performance and some good ole "Southern Hospitality" (Canadian Style), the choir left Toronto and headed to Niagara Falls.  We arrived at Niagara Falls in the evening. Fortunately the falls run 24/7 and are beautifully lighted so those with us who were there for the first time had the opportunity to see them.  I had seen them many times myself, but I had never witnessed them in the early spring/winter (remember we were in Canada brrr). The falls were still running but there were blocks of ice frozen at the bottom of them twice the size of  four bedroom colonials.

The next morning the choir returned to the US for Sunday worship service at New Hope Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, NY.  There the choir performed a few selections and  enjoyed a powerful sermon delivered by New Hope's Pastor, Rev. Harvey Kelley. Pastor Kelley is the younger brother of Dr. Sam Kelley, SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir's Faculty Advisor .


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