February is Black History (or African Heritage) Month in Canada, a time to honour the historical and present contributions of peoples of African descent. It is also a time to remember the struggles from which Black peoples came, and the continued legacy of the transatlantic slave trade. This month could also be a time when a congregation makes a commitment to become more culturally sensitive, racially inclusive, and justice-conscious.
Download worship resources to help you celebrate Black History Month:
- Black History Month bulletin insert [PDF: 2 pp/309 KB]
- Insert this brief background into your church bulletins in the month of February to encourage awareness of Black History Month.
- Celebrating the Journey: A Worship Service for Black History Month [PDF: 2 pp/130 KB]
- This worship service uses scripture, symbols, and spirituals to celebrate the Black Canadian experience.
- Continuing the Journey: A Worship Service for Black History Month [PDF: 2 pp/102 KB]
- Offering thanks for differences, while reminding us of the call to the oneness of Christ, this service reminds us of the journey toward wholeness.
- Gathering at the Table: A Worship Service for African Heritage Month [PDF: 5 pp/48 KB]
- This worship service is built around passing on cultural stories of faith, food, and fellowship.
- God's Glory Cannot Be Hidden [RTF: 5 pp/129 KB]
- A powerful, moving worship service that includes hymns, children's time, prayers, sermon notes, and suggestions for involving the congregation in sharing stories.
- Lenten Sermon Idea for Black History Month [RTF: 5 pp/112 KB] NEW
- A sermon idea incorporates the theme of the 2013 Lenten devotional Diving Deeply and African American spirituals.
- Liturgy for Black History Month [RTF: 4 pp/64 KB] NEW
- “From all corners of the earth” is a repeated phrase in this liturgy emphasizing how justice is found when all belong.
- We Are Not Alone—We Walk with God [PDF: 2 pp/83 KB]
- This litany can be used as part of a broader service focused on Black History Month, or to describe conditions of injustice in the context of building a better world.
- Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada
- Order a copy of this 90-minute video for educational use. This is an informative and moving DVD that traces Black history in Canadian churches over 4 centuries, and includes details about The United Church of Canada.
- Black History Month in The United Church of Canada
- View this popular video on You Tube, which offers an introduction to the little-known history of Black peoples in The United Church of Canada, from 100 years of Union United in Montreal to the present day across Canada.
- Sankofa: The Histories and Heritages of Black Peoples in The United Church of Canada
- Order this new DVD from UCRDstore, and download additional study materials online: an excellent new resource to incorporate in study or worship during Black History Month.
Links of Interest
- The Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network produced worship resources on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the slave trade by the British in 2007. From Chains to Freedom, as well as additional racial justice resources, including more materials related to the transatlantic trade in African peoples and the slave trade in Canada, are available on the CEARN website.
- The Journeys of Black Peoples in The United Church of Canada is a movement to address the unique concerns of self-identified Black peoples in the United Church. Particularly throughout Black History Month, please spread news about this national event to people in your networks, and invite people to attend.
- For an annotated guide to online resources on the history of Canada's Black community—including videos and articles—explore Black History Canada.
- Current contributors to shaping Black Canadian history are detailed in Who's Who in Black Canada, which profiles both excellence and achievement in the Black community.
Black History Month is also a time to recognize African Canadian leaders. The Very Rev. Dr. Wilbur Howard was the first Black Moderator of The United Church of Canada, 1974-1977. The church is grateful for the contributions of Dr. Howard, and many other African Canadians, for their role in shaping our life and ministry.