Welcome to Epiphany & St Mark

Exploring Black History

Rev. Claudette Taylor

Most of us do not know of the great men and women who made significant contributions to Canada and the rest of the world.  We do not know of the great kings and queens and the great kingdoms that they possessed– societies and governments–models which were later adapted to European societies.  We need to tell our stories.  It is in the storytelling that we learn the truth about ourselves and begin to value the great gifts with which our Creator has blessed us. We need to know our history.  It is in our history that we learn about the contributions that Mother Africa made to humankind. “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”  Our narrative is much more than gun violence and negative press.  It is the story of peoples who despite violence visited on them, cultural genocide wrought on them, the right to have access to learning barred from them, still produced remarkable human beings.  This is the story of one of them.

Have you heard of Anderson Ruffin Abbott?  Chances are that you have not.  You have however heard of President Abraham Lincoln.  How are these two men connected?  Well, Dr. Anderson Abbott was one of the medical surgeons attending the dying President Lincoln.   I was told at the Black National Historic Site and Museum in Buxton, Ontario that Mrs. Lincoln was so impressed by Dr. Abbott’s efforts to save her husband that she gave him a gift of a blanket.  Anderson Abbott was born in Toronto, Upper Canada on April 7, 1837.  His parents, Wilson Abbott and Ellen Toyer, free Blacks owned a successful business in Mobile, Alabama but left to avoid the racist atmosphere there.  Eventually they moved to Toronto where, because of their outstanding work ethics acquired wealth and standing.  Anderson Abbott attended the prestigious and racially integrated Buxton Mission School located at the site of the Black Nation Historic Site and Museum.  Many black alumni both male and female went on to make their marks in the world. You see their photos proudly displayed at the historic schoolhouse.

He studied at the Toronto Academy where he was an honours student, attended Oberlin College in Ohio and at the age of 20, enrolled in University College in Toronto to study Chemistry.  A year later, he began his studies at the Toronto School of Medicine (which later became affiliated with the University of Toronto).  He had a supervised placement with Dr. Alexander Augusta, the first black doctor in North America and the head of the hospital (now known as The Toronto General Hospital).  In 1861, Abbott was licensed to be a doctor “becoming the first Canadian-born person of colour to graduate from medical school.”

On his return to Canada, he eventually settled in Chatham, was appointed Coroner for Kent County, and advocated for integrated schools.  In 1896, he became the Medical Superintendent of Provident Hospital in Chicago , a training hospital for Black nurses. He returned to Canada in 1897 and spent the rest of his life writing about Black History and other topics.  He died in Toronto on December 29, 1913 in Toronto, Ontario.
Yarhi, Eli, “Biography Anderson Ruffin Abbott.” Encyclopedia Britannica  https://www.britannica.com/

Cool Fact: One of the best local coffee shops in Parkdale, The Abbott on Spencer Ave., is named after Dr. Abbott.


We will have some special programming for Black History Month and Lent this year. Our theme is Holy Labour: Black Women & The Work of Anti-Racism and we have a great lineup of guest speakers for the month of February.

Sunday, February 7 – Rosemary Sadlier, Ontario Black History Society

Sunday, February 14 – Carolyn & Sylvia Wilson, co-founders, Sheffield Park Black History Museum

Sunday, February 21 – Rev. Claudette Taylor, Deacon, Epiphany and St Mark, Social Justice Coordinator, YCV

Sunday, February 28 – Debbie King, Queen Victoria Black Student Success Committee

Also, please hold Sunday, February 28 at 4:30 PM for the Diocesan Black History Month Service. Details to come. 

Lenten Book Study – Jesus and the Disinherited

If you would like to join us, the series will begin on Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 PM and continue weekly for 5 sessions. The sessions will begin with a short compline. Please contact Lisa at zboustcha@hotmail.com or Sandra at sandraciganic@hotmail.com. For more information, please see the Resources & Workshops page.

Board Position – We need your help!

We are looking for one or two more parishioners to join our Board of Management (BOM). This is a team of 8 or 9 people who will provide governance and financial oversight for the parish as we move forward with a plan to redevelop the church building to better suit our mission. But we also need to keep our day-to-day business in order. So, we need someone who …

– has basic financial accounting skills (paying invoices, tracking rental payments etc.)
– can spare time for 1 evening meeting/month; 1 morning/week (it’s not a huge time commitment!) 
– wants a great opportunity for board experience, volunteer hours, project management.
– will be supported by a small team of other volunteers 

Please prayerfully consider if you are being called to serve the church in this way.

Annual Vestry Meeting

The meeting will be held, on Zoom, on Sunday, March 7, immediately after the service. The annual report will be available one week prior. 

Sunday Worship

Join us for online weekly worship held on Sundays at 10:30am

Join our services through Zoom Meeting on your computer:
Meeting ID: 777 678 934

Or call in with your phone:
        +1 647 374 4685 Canada
        +1 647 558 0588 Canada
Meeting ID: 777 678 934

If you do not have a copy of the Book of Alternative Services at home, you can download a copy here

COMPLINE – Wednesdays at 7:30 PM

Each Wednesday at 7:30 PM, we will gather for a short service of prayer. You can access the service through the same link that we use for Sunday worship.

Compline, which comes from the same Latin root as the word “completion,” is a form of prayer that marks the end of the day where we hand the night over to God and ask for a restful sleep.

 FROM THE DEACON’S DESK Prayers and Reflections   

January 2021 came with high expectations.   As the month progressed, we experienced times of jubilance and times of great fear and anxiety.  Sometimes, we are not sure what to expect.  The newspapers and television contribute to this situation.  In the unpredictability of the times, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by our insecurities. This state, however, is not God’s will for us.  Our all-powerful God does not want us to live imprisoned by fear and anxiety. 

God’s Word assures of his faithfulness and protection.  As the Psalmist reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NRSV). As we move through 2021, let us take the opportunity to hone our spiritual practice of reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer.  “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.”  (Hebrews 10:23 NRSV)

Let us pray,
God of all power and love, we thank you for the presence and power of your Holy Spirit who empowers us and enables us to persevere in the face of challenge.  Guide us with your Word which shines like a beacon in the darkness.  Help us to set aside time to meet with you in the garden and develop a more intimate relationship based on faith and trust.  Give us steadfast hearts and minds towards the days ahead, surround us with your love ad help us to be forces for love in all that we do.  Amen 
(adapted resistharm.com)



Send Us a Message

Copyright Epiphany and St Mark 2019 – All rights reserved