Many Newspapers consider this too dangerous to print.
One newspaper told me that they would need to remove all religious messaging if they are to print it.
Why are they so afraid of God? Read and tell me what is to be feared.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario worth saving? In the year 2013, a lot of people thought so. The Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project (FSCPP) was formed on March 22, 2013, and financial support from the public was phenomenal. I was skeptical, but when I saw the huge army of God’s Angels who met in March of 2013, I soon joined their forces.
It is interesting to note that the building had been abandoned and forgotten about until James Donnelly, who owned the building and land it was on at the time, applied for a demolition permit. If he hadn’t done that the ancient edifice would likely have fallen down on its own. When news of the application was released, many Londoners immediately arose with the call, “Save the Chapel.”
Mr. Donnelly was very cooperative as he also has an interest in heritage. He very generously donated the building to Beth Emanuel Church with the stipulation that the Church would cover the cost of having the building moved. Beth Emanuel owned a lot beside the church and it proved to be an ideal location for a new home for the displaced building. Beth Emanuel Church had been built in 1869 at 430 Grey Street to replace the original edifice that was originally located at 275 Thames Street.
Early attempts at fundraising had raised a sizable amount, but not enough to move the building. By November of 2013, enthusiasm had waned and there were only three people left that were actively working on the project. A couple of months prior I had replaced the original chair of the FSCPP. We believed this project was in the Hands of God and through prayer, the two cents worth campaign was conceived. Many want to give their two cents worth so we would give them the opportunity. We translated the two-cent value to what it was worth in 1850 when the original chapel was built. Back then a labourer would work a twelve hour day for one dollar. With minimum wage being about $10 per hour in 2013, we estimated two cents in 1850 to be worth about $2.50 in 2013. The reaction was amazing. Cheques representing $2.50 per family member came from many families. The first day news of the campaign had been released, one lady donated $10,000 dollars to this worthy cause.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel worth saving? First came the outcry from the heritage community, then thousands joined in with financial support. Many Londoners and others from various places across Canada replied with a solid “YES.”
Early fundraising was very successful, but as enthusiasm waned, donations dwindled. Once the fundraising efforts were turned over to our Creator, the enthusiasm returned and money rolled in allowing us to begin making solid plans for the move in March of 2014. But just as fundraising effort had gotten bogged down in discussions of “How to raise the money,” now the final plans for the actual move were bogged down in red tape. Again, through prayer, the FSCPP broke through this barrier. Although solid plans seemed to be taking forever to formulate, things began to move very quickly in October of 2014. Prayer had brought us another angel in the form of Jordan Zekveld who became the project manager.
It was mainly through the efforts of Mr. Zekveld that all the resources needed for the move were brought together. Excavation began on October 20, 2014, and 23 days later, all was ready for the move. Mr. Zekveld personally set the forms for the foundation and the basement walls that the 164-year-old building was to be set on. He then acted as foreman for the pouring of the cement, working along with a group of volunteers that he had picked. None worked harder than Mr. Zekveld himself who had also volunteered all of his time.
Then, on November 12, 2014, the building was moved. This was a great day with lots of media attention. Television, radio and newspaper crews could be seen everywhere along the route. Plus an aggregate of Londoners filled the streets to watch this historic event.
Now that the Chapel is sitting on its new foundation it is again running the risk of falling apart due to neglect. Access had been given to many interested in the architectural design of this edifice and the physical aspects of the building have been well documented. Much money has been spent on engineering reports and architect designs needed to complete the project. However, the structure is still in need of repairs to prevent further deterioration.
The FSCPP, originally conceived as an advisory committee to Beth Emanuel Church, was taken over by some who were mainly interested in the physical attributes of the Building. Those who thought of the building as separate from its spiritual roots wanted the building and the committee removed from the Christian organization that now owned it. With this gulf forming between the church and the FSCPP, the church had no choice but to disband the committee. It was no longer serving their purpose.
Those of us who were involved from the beginning saw how things would quickly progress when we reaffirmed our belief that God was in control. I personally believe that the project will not progress without full acknowledgment of the Divine origins of the building. Those opposed to this line of conduct will point out that much government funding would be restricted to a religious organization and that many corporations will not donate to a religiously based group. On the other side, those who believe in an All-Powerful God know that He is capable to raise angels that will provide the funds and complete this project.
My personal belief is that we need to study the religious attributes of the people who built this edifice in 1850. It amazes me to know that people who were abused by members, and even leaders, of a religious organization, would profess belief in that same religion. I would like to know why? Many relied on a Christian God to deliver them from their persecutors and adhered more loyally to a purer form of Christianity than their persecutors did. To me, if we are to leave God out of the equation, we are completely missing the whole purpose of preserving this artifact. My God is strong enough to take over and bring this project to a glorious completion. My only fear as He will not have enough followers to make this matter.
The challenge now is to prove me wrong or prove me right. Whatever your opinion, take up the challenge and see this project through. Time will tell if we end up with an interesting piece of architecture or a divinely inspired Edifice.
Is the Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario worth saving? Many people think so and they have many varied reasons for thinking that. Whatever your reason you need to act and stay involved. To forget about this project is to let it return to neglect and disappear. Too much effort has been put into the project to let it fail now.
That is what I had sent to a London biweekly newspaper after they asked me to write about the Fugitive Slave Chapel. At present, it is with the editor and I was informed that, if they used it at all, they would remove all religious messaging. I am not sure what they mean by that. I was only stating facts as I saw them. The building was originally a Christian Church so it would be difficult to hide that from the readers. As I am not a Christian I do not feel that I biased the article toward or away from Christianity. I attempted to stay completely neutral on that aspect. You can comment on my facebook page or my blog. I would love to hear your comments.