The fascinating Black history of New Brunswick’s only non-segregated Anglican church will be the subject of a presentation by Dr. Ross Hebb at the York Sunbury Historical Society Speaker Series in Fredericton.
The FREE event takes place at 7 pm on Thursday, November 21 at Government House, 51 Woodstock Road. All are welcome to attend and refreshments will be served.
Dr. Ross Hebb is the minister of St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Woodstock Road in Fredericton. He explains the Church is of historical significance not only due to its connection with Captain Charles Rainsford, the hero of the famous winter march of the 104th Regiment of Foot in 1813, but also due to the story of its Black Parishioners.
“Members of the local Black community constructed the church building, joined its ranks as adult members and then fully participated in its life,” says Dr. Hebb. “Blacks worshipped weekly in a non-segregated congregation, sang in its well-known choir, acted as sextons, and also consistently served on its Vestry.”
What is perhaps even more telling for the 19th century is that Black and white were buried together in the adjoining cemetery, says Hebb. “To date, this is the only known instance, for this time period, of mixed burials in the Fredericton area, and in all of New Brunswick, and perhaps even the entire Maritimes.”
Dr Hebb is a graduate of King’s College (BA in history) and Dalhousie (MA in Classics) in Halifax. He secured a PhD in Theology and Church History from the Univ. of Wales in 2004. His published dissertation “The Church of England in Loyalist New Brunswick: 1783-1825” was followed by another peer reviewed work in 2010 “Samuel Seabury and Charles Inglis; Two Bishops, Two Churches” which examined the nascent episcopacies of America’s and Canada’s first Anglican Bishops.
The York Sunbury Historical Society Speaker Series is made possible with the support of the Office of the Honourable Brenda Murphy, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.