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Halifax church uncovers 200-year-old original gable during renovation

Click to play video: 'Renovations at Halifax church uncovers historical part of heritage building' Renovations at Halifax church uncovers historical part of heritage building
Watch: After years of renovations, the municipal heritage property New Horizons Baptist Church has made a historical discovery. As Amber Fryday reports, construction crews have discovered a gable from the original 1832 building. – Aug 4, 2022

Rev. Rhonda Britton of New Horizons Baptist Church in Halifax did not anticipate the historic African Nova Scotian church to still be in the midst of renovations nearly three and a half years after the revitalization process began.

But, she says that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The good news is with every delay we find out something new and there have been problems, but in the fixing of problems we realize we are making a very sound building for generations to come,” she told Global News.

Nearly two weeks ago, Dwight Adams, a safety construction officer working on site, uncovered a gable from the original building that was built nearly two centuries ago.

“It signifies to us the ancestors (are still) watching over this building that was put up almost two hundred years ago,” says Britton.

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Adams has been a member of the congregation of the church since he was a child. He says he was shocked by the discovery.

“I have some elder uncles that had worked in this church many years ago so to be a part of (the renovation) is actually special,” says Adams.

“You can look at some of the old walls and timbers here … It’s been through the (Halifax) explosion. It’s been through everything, so we’re quite fortunate to have this and make it a part of history.”

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The gable will be turned into a commemorative piece with the name of the original church, The African Baptist Church, displayed on its archway.

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“Its a sacred and ancestral piece. The feelings that have come up with the discovery of this gable … (it) has sparked excitement across the community. Everybody is excited about it,” Britton says.

Rev. Britton suspects renovations will conclude in the fall. The expansion will include the Richard Preston Centre of Excellence, a space for community events and tutoring programs.

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Britton says the church was founded when members of the African Nova Scotian community wanted their own church after facing racial discrimination in the integrated churches. She says the community also wanted a place to worship that identified with their roots.

The church is now a municipal heritage property.

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