first_imgThe Black Loyalist Heritage Society is looking to the future and taking an active role in ensuring that a suspicious fire that destroyed its offices on March 31 does not also destroy the group’s spirit and resolve. About 20 years of research, records, artifacts, and office equipment were destroyed in the fire. Members of the community will host the Birchtown Healing Weekend from 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, in Birchtown, Shelburne Co. “The burning of the offices was a tragedy for all, the Black Loyalists’ journey to this province is not just part of African Nova Scotian history, it is Nova Scotian heritage and Canadian history,” said Wayn Hamilton CEO of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs. Society board members see the healing weekend as an opportunity to unite people within the town of Shelburne and encourage an environment that fosters open dialogue and acceptance of diversity. “We will replace the building and equipment, but there is a spiritual element that needs rebuilding also — this is an attempt to bring a sense of closure and healing to a community that has endured so much pain,” said Elizabeth Cromwell, Black Loyalist Heritage Society board member. The society has begun fundraising for a new building and improvement of the infrastructure. Some people in the town are already rallying to help. A local contractor tore down the burnt building and cleared the site; local small businesses have donated office furniture; a local historical society offered to replace genealogical and historical information; and the local theatre troupe and community centre have hosted fundraisers and various groups, societies, and individuals have made monetary and in-kind donations. The weekend activities will start at 10 a.m and will include musical performances, African drumming workshops for children, a church service and spiritual site cleansing ceremony. The healing weekend will take place at the Black Loyalist Heritage Society historical site and museum, located at 104 Old Birchtown Rd., Birchtown, Shelburne Co. Additional activities in the Black Loyalist Heritage Recovery Project include a benefit concert featuring the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and local Saved by Grace Choir, on Monday, July 10, at St. Andrews United Church in Halifax. Donations may be made at any Scotiabank nationally. The bank will issue proof of donation receipts and the society will issue income tax receipts.last_img