The Drake Church Building

S.R. Drake Memorial Church

The British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada
founded in 1856, erected 1896

(519) 756-2051


Current Clergyman:
Rev. Dr. Cyril Yearwood, pastor
Rev. Dr. Brian Awai, associate pastor

Welcome! Greetings in His name

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalms 37:5

Upcoming Events:


Morning Worship		Sundays			11:30am
Sunday School		During Worship		11:30am
Bible Study Group	Thursdays		7:30pm
Women's League		Monthly

Some American run-away slaves fled to Upper Canada via the Underground Railway system and settled in groups along the Grand River. Those who belonged to the African Methodist Episcopal Church formed the Society of Coloured Methodists. During the mid 1800's they worshipped in private homes within Brantford. The Society organized schools for their children, as negros were excluded from public ones.

Brantford eventually became the nucleus of the African Methodist Episcopal circuit, stretching from the Queen's Bush (Huron County and Area) to London. The Rev. James Harper served the region. In 1856 the Canadian wing of the African Methodist Episcopal Conference changed the name of their denomintation from "African" to "British" in order to give their places of worship a greater Canadian identity. The new name also protected the congregations from fear of being recaptured by American slave owners or their bounty hunters.

The Rev. Willis Nazrey, the first Bishop of the African American Methodist Episcopal church became, in 1856, the first bishop of the British Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Walter Hawkins, the first pastor, eventually rose to become the Superintendent of the Conference.

A frame edifice was constructed on a lot in Brantford situated on the North side of Dalhousie at the East corner of Murray in the same year. The lot was donated by Mr. Peter O'Banyoun, an ex-slave from Kentucky and member of the local congregation.

In 1869 the Kirk of Scotland's frame building was purchased for a nominal price from the Presbyterians. It was moved opposite East Ward School. By 1896, the existing brick building was erected in Brantford on 165 Murray Street. A comfortable brick parsonage, which is now rented, was built on the North Side of the church in 1912.

During 1956, in honour of the Centennial of the Canadian BME Church, this church in Brantford was named the S.R. Drake Memorial, in esteem of the Rev. S.R. Drake who was pastor from 1902 until 1909 and then General Superintendent of the Conference for 18 years. He was responsible for the incorporation of the B.M.E. Church in 1913.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Livingstone Yearwood, the church was designated as an historical site in October of 1986. In order to preserve and understand the history of the church and its people, research is being done. Any information or photographs about events, members, or history of the church would be greatly appreciated.

Visitors since August 16, 2005:

"Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you." -1 Peter 3:15

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