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​Oro African Church Preservation

Oro African Church

The Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church, built between 1846 and 1849, is a designated National Historic Site. It is one of the last extant buildings erected by a community of African Canadians whose roots were uniquely anchored in the history of United Empire Loyalists and represents the important role that Black militiamen played in the defense of Upper Canada during the War of 1812, and also represents early Upper Canada land policy.

The Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of, if not, the oldest African log church still standing in North America. This Church stands as a testament to both the Black Settlers who carefully crafted and cared for it for nearly 75 years and passionate community volunteers who have worked diligently to preserve it since its abandonment in the 1920's.

In 2013, the Township acquired the services of Heritage Consultants to prepare a Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) to assess the building condition and develop a long term strategy for its preservation. The assessment concluded that the condition of the Church was far worse than expected, and as a result it was closed to the public until a comprehensive restoration effort could be undertaken.

Through a successful fundraising campaign and other funding, the Township was able to make the recommended restorations required, and on August 19, 2016 the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church re-opened its doors to the public, thanks to the support of hundreds across Canada and th​e USA.

While the church is no longer an active church with a congregation, this modest place of worship is more than a National Historic Site. From the first day of worship until today, the African Church has engendered heartfelt emotions from many people regardless of race, gender, age, or religion. The Township remains a steward of the Church and the property. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Church is currently closed for tours, however visitors are encouraged to still visit the grounds.