Slideshow image
Submitted by Imai Thomas Welch
Article 3 in the Series

What is “BIPOC”? BIPOC is an acronym for “Black, Indigenous, and other Peoples of Colour”. It’s an umbrella term for all non-White peoples. Even if there are many different communities within the BIPOC umbrella, we share many of the same challenges and concerns about things like racism and diversity. In this series, I’m going to provide some information and trivia about BIPOC peoples. 

Black peoples have been a part of the Canadian story since the earliest days. Black people such as Mathieu da Costa were with the French colonisers in Quebec, and were part of the Loyalist communities who fled the American Revolution as both slaves and free(d) people*. The first Governor of pre-Confederation British Columbia, James Douglas, was mixed-race Black Guyanese. (And played a role in the Cridge affair in the 1870s!). Many others arrived as refugees from slavery and Jim Crow. They have also been part of the Anglican Church’s story in Canada and around the world, although information can be hard to find for various reasons. Here are some factoids about Black Anglican clergy: 

When was the first Black Anglican cleric ordained?

  1. Bryan Mackey was ordained a Deacon in the Church of England. Rev. Mackey was of mixed-Black descent, with a White British father and a Black Jamaican mother. 

Does the Anglican Church of Canada have Black Bishops? 

Yes, one retired Bishop. Peter Fenty was consecrated Area Bishop for the Diocese of Toronto in 2013. He was born and raised in Barbados. He retired in 2020.

*I use the term "free(d)" to reflect the fact that the nature of the freedom held by free Black Loyalists varied. Some Black Loyalists came to Canada as free people. Some gained their freedom in transit as part of joining the British cause, or otherwise gained their freedom after arriving in Canada.

For more information check out Black Anglicans in Canada