A research partnership with the Historical Committee of Christ Church Chatham, and Huron University College faculty members Dr. Gary Badcock, Dr. Amy Bell, and Dr. Nina Reid-Maroney, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Approaching the 200th anniversary of its founding as an Anglican mission in 1819, the community of Christ Church, Chatham has posed the central challenge of the project: to document and engage the rich but underexplored antislavery and civil rights history of the church community, and to ask how the church’s history can inform its understanding of social justice practice in the present.
Integrated as a community-based learning component of History courses at Huron, the project draws on student research assistants working in Huron’s Community History Centre and the Centre for Public Theology. Project findings will be published on a website that combines a digital research archive with a record of the process, and a platform for the publication of ongoing work once the formal project concludes. The project is a critical intervention in public discourse on slavery in its historical and contemporary forms. Moving into its anniversary year in the Fall of 2019, Christ Church will have tangible research resources to contextualize its social justice past and to address the urgent challenges posed by the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent, and by the Anglican Church in Canada’s designation of 2018 as a “Freedom Year” to combat modern slavery.