The sky may have been overcast, but those in attendance at the 27th annual Africville church service didn’t want their day clouded over by politics.
Yesterday’s service — part of the Africville reunion weekend — was the first since Mayor Peter Kelly issued a formal apology to citizens of the black community demolished in the 1960s to make way for the MacKay Bridge.
But Brenda Steed-Ross, who was 18 when Africville was destroyed, said the energy at the service was the same as it was the year before — apology or not.
“Even though the apology has come through, our spirit has been strong,” she said. “Just as strong before as it is now.”
Over 100 people sang, clapped and shouted their way through the service, which was presided over by Deacons Stanley Carvery and Roberta Downey. Rev. Cherylann Beals, the pastor at Victoria Road Baptist Church, delivered the sermon.
The service was well-attended by elders of the community, old enough to remember what the grounds used to look like. But a large number of young people also attended.
Steed-Ross said she thinks it’s important for younger generations to know the truth about what happened to her community.
“They have lots of questions,” she said. “But … the ones that came together with us this weekend, they were more than willing to help us.”
• First stage Phase 1 of the reconstruction of the Seaview United Baptist Church — the last building to be torn down in Africville — is set to begin at some time this year.
• Annual service The church service will remain an outdoor event, say organizers, as the replica church will be housing community artifacts.