The altar is dressed in African fabric while Black gospel music flows
By Arthur Soman
Every year, Hope Lutheran Church, located at 14 Centre Street, Scarborough celebrates Black History Month (B.H.M). The 200+ congregation reflects the diversity of not only Scarborough, but also Toronto and by extention, Canada. While the makeup of the congregation is predominantly of Caribbean heritage, it’s membership also includes immigrants from Africa, Europe, India, China, Sri Lanka, Central and South America and Australia. In other words, all the continents; a truly diverse and representative gathering of Christians.
In honour of Black History Month, the ‘decor’ of the church building’s interior is transformed to display symbols that reflect African history, struggles and achievements. The Altar Cloth is replaced with one that embodies the beauty of traditional African print. The altar is also adorned with pieces of African sculpture, art, vases and plants.
During B.H.M., the musical selections are drawn from a variety of prominent African American Spirituals. These selections range from the accepted Black National Anthem (Lift Every Voice) to Wade in the Water, We Shall Overcome and Siyahamba (We are Marching), to name a few. At every service, the history behind the song and composer are shared with the congregation, as part of the education process. This congregation also boasts a vibrant all ages, 15-member Steel Orchestra, and in February their selections reflect traditional African American spirituals.
Worship Services at Hope Church is every Sunday at 11 AM and all are welcome. Services are also live streamed at hopetoronto.com.