Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Decommissioning of 823 Jackson Avenue, Once the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel

On 26 October 2008, the Basel Hakka Lutheran Church at 823 Jackson Avenue in Vancouver was decommissioned. The church was originally built as a German Lutheran church in 1903, but was bought in 1918 by Vancouver's black community. It became a member of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, and was called the Fountain Chapel, Vancouver's first black church. It remained in the black community until 1984, when it was bought by the Chinese Lutherans, who have flourished there since.

However, the Lutherans are now moving because their congregation has grown too large for the small building. The site has been important for both of our communities, and it was good to be able to celebrate its history together as it passed out of use as a church, on this last Sunday service, from which the following photographs are taken.

In this picture are HAMP members and supporters, as well as Vui Heong Chong of the Basel Hakka Lutherans, who kindly invited us to be a part of the event.

The decommissioning was also covered by Global National Television.

HAMP has been informed that the building will be converted into a private residence.
HAMP and supporters at the old Fountain Chapel one last time.

Tracey McDougall, the granddaughter of Vie Moore.

Moore owned and operated Vie's Chicken and Steak House at 209 Union Street (at Hogan's Alley) from 1948 to 1975 -- a key establishment in the black history of Vancouver. She was recently celebrated in a poster campaign for Women's History Month.

(The condo being built where Vie's once stood is currently stalled, due to the global financial crisis. The developer, the Onni Group, was the focus of a recent CTV News exposé.)

A group photo of the congregation of the Basel Hakka Lutheran Church as well as HAMP members and friends at the end of the church decommissioning.
Members of the Black Dot Collective, including Kevan Cameron, video-documenting the day.