In 1834, slavery was abolished in Canada and churches in Hamilton, Brantford, and Toronto had been received into the AME Connection. Many of these immigrants were either Methodist or Baptist and they looked forward to freedom of worship in their new home, Canada.
Jeremiah Miller was sent to Canada as a Missionary in 1832 by the New York Conference. In 1837, a petition was made to the New York Conference for St. Catharines, Ontario to be received into the AME Connection. Churches were planted in Niagara Falls, St. David, and St. Catharines by Reverend Richard Williams. In 1839, churches in Hamilton, Brantford, Malden and Toronto had been received into the AME Connection and were part of the New York Conference.
On July 21st in the year 1840, fourteen years after the immigration of runaway slaves into Canada from the United States, through the Underground Railroad, the Canadian Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Bishop Morris Brown under the authority of the General Conference. In 1842, the Conference comprised Toronto, the London Circuit, and the St. Catharine’s Circuit. Josiah Henson, the original Uncle Tom in ”Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, was the pastor of the Colchester Circuit. In 1842, the salaries received by the six ministers in the Canadian Conference totalled $97.84 – an average of $13.00 each.
By 1850, memberships in the black churches had significantly increased. Unrest was brewing in the AME churches in Canada. In 1854, Reverend Benjamin Steward started a movement to have all the AME churches become British Methodist Episcopal churches. Petitions were sent to the Mother church in Philadelphia for permission to form a church to be known as the British Methodist Episcopal Church .At this time slave owners were attempting to retrieve their runaway slaves. Some escaped slaves that were AME felt it would benefit them to be connected with a British Institution. Their petitions were granted at the AME General Conference in 1856 and the AME Church in Canada was said to be no more. There were however, some AME churches that kept their AME affiliation. The last session of the Canadian Annual Conference of the AME Church met in Chatham, September 23rd, 1856. It convened in a private house occupied by a Sister Taylor. Bishop D.A. Payne was presiding officer of the Conference. Bishop Willis Nazrey became the first Bishop of the British Methodist Episcopal Church. The first session of the Canadian Annual Conference of the British Methodist Episcopal Church convened in Toronto on October 7th, 1856.
The dissolution of the African Methodist Episcopal Church however was not final and in 1884, at the request of many who were loyal to the Mother church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was re-established and began a new era in her history.
"Impacting Lives with the Gospel of the Kingdom"
Phillip R. Cousin African Methodist Episcopal Church
“We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord”.
In August 6, 2000, at the 117th Annual Conference, Bishop Philip R. Cousin Sr. appointed Rev. Rudolph Cowie to pastor the new congregation in the Greater Toronto Area.
The initial planning meeting was held in Rev Cowie’s home on September 13, 2000. The meeting was chaired by Rev. Cowie and attended by a delegation of Grant members.
Those in attendance were Bro. Sheridan Butterfield, Sis. Joan Butterfield, Sis. Elaine Sparks, Sis. Lynda Sparks, Sis. Marjorie Williams, Bro. Winston Williams, Bro. George Stephen, Bro. Edward Lewis, Bro. Ossie Roberts, Sis. Kathryn Brown, Sis. Ann Cowie, Rev. Rudolph Cowie.
The name chosen by ballot at this meeting was Philip R. Cousin AMEC. The name was changed by Rev. Cowie to Bethel AMEC immediately after the meeting.
The inaugural service of Bethel AMEC was held at the Fairview Community Public School in Mississauga, Ontario on Thanksgiving Day October 8th, 2000.
In the spring of 2001, Bethel AMEC members began investigating AMEC property in Oakville, Ontario. This property consisted of a Church and house that had fallen in a state disrepair and was being mismanaged. Mr. Ossie Roberts followed up and took charge of the property on behalf of the Canadian Conference trustees.
Just prior to the118th Annual conference, Rev. Rudolph Cowie resigned as pastor of Bethel AMEC due to poor health. Rev. Gregory Wilson the Pastor of Grant AMEC was subsequently assigned the responsibility for Bethel AMEC.
At the 118th Annual Conference permission was given to sell the Oakville property. The proceeds for the most part from the sale to be held in trust as seed for Bethel’s building fund.
Later that year, Bethel AMEC relocated their services from the Fairview Community Public School to Peace Lutheran Church, 100 City Centre Dr. Mississauga. Our church name is now officially ‘Phillip R. Cousin AMEC’.
Rev. Gregory Wilson assigned Rev. Karen Henry to lead Cousin AMEC unofficially for a few months. At the end of that period, licentiates, Rev. Thomas Veira & Rev. Clive Parker alternated weekly services.
In 2002 at the 119th Session of the Canadian Annual Conference, Rev. Thomas Veira was appointed the full time Pastor. His first annual report stated that PR Cousin AMEC’s membership totaled seventeen.
In early 2004 Rev. Thomas Veira resigned due to family challenges and Cousin AMEC entered into its second phase of substitute worship leaders. Under the leadership of Presiding Elder Rev. Cory Millben, Pastor of Grant AMEC, Rev. Arlene Keizer, Rev. Joseph Daniels, licentiates Tony Smith, Jivaro Smith, Mikhe’al Ben-Moodie, and Janet Adriana Williams Ben-Moodie were assigned to lead the Sunday morning worship services.
At the 122nd Session of the Canadian Annual Conference, Rev. Larry Wilson was appointed Pastor. As a retiree, anxious to return home, he was asked to lead the flock until a permanent pastor could be found.
In Chatham, Ontario at the 123rd Session of the Canadian Annual Conference, Rev. Bryan Warren was appointed Pastor. He together with his assistant, Rev. Wayne Lewis began the work of building on a solid foundation of believers. Rev Warren immediately affirmed that this church is a beacon of hope to all, and Phillip R. Cousin AMEC was dubbed, ‘The Hope Centre’.
Membership growth necessitated that we relocated once more. On April 15th 2007, Cousin AMEC, the Hope Centre services moved to the Empire Theatre Studio 10, in the Square One Mall, Mississauga, Ontario
“Through it all, through it all, we’ve learned to trust in Jesus, we’ve learned to trust in God”. As the family of ‘Phillip R. Cousin AMEC - The Hope Centre’, we put our faith in Almighty God who showers us daily with His blessings. “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be…”
In 2016 at the 133nd Session of the Canadian Annual Conference, Rev. Warren resigned from The Canadian Conference. His clergy team and congregation, known now as ‘The Hope Centre’ followed suit. The Canadian Conference had invested in excess of $186k in this new work over 16 years.
After prayer and consultation, Bishop John White assigned Rev. Ademola Orekoya as the new Pastor of Phillip R. Cousin AMEC and was assigned to reestablish a congregation in the west end of the GTA.
God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform…….
Emmanuel Temple AME – Pickering, is a “blossoming branch”, grown from the seed that was planted and richly nourished with the foundational doctrines, disciplines and traditions at Philip R Cousin African Methodist Episcopal Church (Est. 2000) Our HIStory begins April 2018, during District Conference Rev. Jivaro Smith was charged with “beginning a new thing” on the East side of the Greater Toronto Area, thus reviving Philip R Cousin AME Church in a new location. The welcomed challenge filled Rev. Jivaro with overwhelming thanksgiving and praise unto God. Thoughts and plans were consistently on Rev. Jivaro’s mind – then God spoke and a Vision given. After much prayer and supplication, Rev. Jivaro was sent a core group of dedicated and excited church builders – Brothers Dwane Provo and Winston Williams; sisters Mary Smith, Linda Crawley, Angela Provo, Marjorie Williams, Darlene Smith, Monique Simmonds, and Glenna James. Rev. Jivaro revealed the God given Vision given and over the course of the summer of 2018, this group diligently took up the developmental groundwork of planting a new AME Church in the Durham Region of Ontario, Canada. At the 135th Session of the Annual Conference (August 2018), Reverend Jivaro Smith requested a name change of the former Philip R Cousin AME Church to Emmanuel Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church – Pickering. The Right Reverend, Bishop John F White, Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Church formally appointed Reverend Jivaro R Smith as the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Temple AME – Pickering. After Annual Conference (2018), sisters’ Vicky Brooks-Johnson and Shirley Duncan became active church builders. In September 2018, the Durham District School Board approved the Community Application and granted Rev. Jivaro Smith a permit to hold weekly Worship Services in the Auditorium of Dunbarton High School, located at 655 Sheppard Ave., Pickering, ON L1V 1G2. This was an ideal location, easily accessible by transit, in the middle of two newly constructed housing developments and in an established diverse community. As the core group continued their regular meetings, all PRAISES were given unto GOD for clearing the way for the establishment of HIS CHURCH. Inception Service On October 14th, 2018 the doors of Emmanuel Temple AME Church – Pickering welcomed friends and families from both the Durham Region and our Connectional Church, Grant AME (Rev Canute Davis). The Spirit was high and lifted up, and Rev. Jivaro Smith preached a powerful Word entitled “I Hear the Sound of the Abundance of Rain”. “Rain brings LIFE, RECOVERY and RESTORATION – this is the path that God has put Emmanuel Temple on, and “We hear the abundance of Rain”.