The Yes to Life choir at St. Paul’s Bloor, Toronto, gave a late-February evening service celebrating Black History Month a joyful, sunny sound. Photo: Michael Hudson
On Feb, 27, the last Sunday in Black History Month, the vaulted ceilings and stately columns of St. Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto reverberated to the rhythms of steelpan drums and gospel hymns in celebration of the last Sunday in Black History Month. The liturgical dancers, garbed in colourful head dresses and costumes, opened the rousing service, designed to honour Canada’s Anglicans of African and Caribbean descent.
Last year, the United Nations designated 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, a period aimed at eradicating discrimination against persons of African lineage. At the launching ceremony in December 2010, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the year seeks to promote greater awareness of and respect for the diverse heritage and culture of people of African descent.
Fittingly, the opening song at the St. Paul’s service was “The Black National Anthem,” performed by teenager Takudwza Mudereri, a recent immigrant to Canada from Zimbabwe and the drummer in Worship in Steel, the band that gave the late-February evening service a joyful, sunny sound. Also helping to raise St. Pauls’s lofty rafters was the Yes to Life choir.
The homilist, the Rev. Canon Cheryl Palmer, a native of Jamaica and now rector of St. Clement’s church in Toronto, preached a stirring sermon on the need to tether our changing lives in this uncertain world to the immutable anchor of God’s love.