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British Methodist Episcopal Church, St. Catharines

Categories: Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.6/5 based on 15+ reviews on the web
The British Methodist Episcopal Church, Salem Chapel was founded in 1820 by African-American freedom seekers in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It is located at 92 Geneva St., in the heart of Old St. Catharines. The church is a valued historical site due to its design, and its important associations with abolitionist activity.The church has a congregation of approximately 20 people, and Sunday Worship Service takes place at 11:00 am. Guided tours of the church and museum, which displays original documents, artifacts, and a rare book collection, all associated with the anti-slavery movement, are available by appointment.HistoryThe Salem Chapel was an important centre of abolitionist and civil rights activity, and was the cornerstone of a growing community of African-American refugees from the United States. The most famous and celebrated member of the church was Harriet Tubman, who lived in the area from 1851-1858, and led many fugitives to freedom via the Underground Railroad (UGGR) to St. Catharines, Ontario.As of 1851, the church was known as Bethel Chapel, AME Church, and resided in a small log building which was constructed by black freedom seekers. In 1853 it was decided that a larger building was needed in order to respond to the growing Methodist population settling in the area.Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States in 1850 caused some ex-slave preachers to fear travel to church conferences in the U.S., which might expose them to capture. Reverend Benjamin Stewart of Chatham suggested churches in the United Canadas form a separate organization, and this was adopted at the AME Church's 1856 conference in Philadelphia. The name British Methodist Episcopal Church was selected to recognize British America as a safe haven from slavery.
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  • This Church marked the last stop on the Underground Railway for slaves fleeing the US for freedom. Several plaques on site that tell the story of the slaves and how Harriet Tubman never lost a passeng...  read more »
  • We planned on going to this church but got lost one day and drove by it and we noticed a number of black folks and a tour bus on the side street. This is the church that was the end of the Underground...  read more »
  • This was a once In a lifetime experience. Harriet Tubman attended Salem Chapel and the church has a lot of the original items from the time when Harriet attended the church. The church as the original...  read more »
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