HMSC Founders 
Reverend Gertrude Leivers Leslie Leivers William Richardson
     
The following is an excerpt from a 1979 Interview with Reverend Gertrude Leivers', describing how Hope Memorial Spiritual Church came to be...

Well, we'd just built a new house on Huff Avenue and we'd never used it. We'd just moved in. We'd never used the downstairs. We had a recreation room, and so my husband said: "Well, the recreation room would be a good place to hold the church.

For about eighteen months, we held the church in my basement. We had social affairs and everything to raise money. All the time he was doing this, he kept looking in the newspaper, at houses to rent.

I said to him one day; "I don't know what you're looking for a house to rent for". He said, "I'm looking for a house, and I'm going to tear it apart, and make it into a church." And I said, "Oh, you never will, because it was the end of the war you know and houses were very scarce. People can't get enough houses to live in. You'll never get one." He said, "I'm going to get a house. I'm going to tear it apart."

So finally he said to me, "I've found a house." I said, "Where?". He said, "On Chatham Street." So he went down and paid $150. In the bank, that was the church funds, $150 in the bank. So he went down, and he said, "I'm buying that place." I said, "You're buying it! How are you buying it?" He said, "Well, you and I, and some of the church members are going to buy that place."

Well, at that time, I did have a good, substantial bank account and so did he. And so we went in to buy the place. There was an $8,000 mortgage on it. So we took this mortgage and then we went ahead.

Because he was a builder, he had a lot of men who helped him in his building, that he employed. So he had them come in. He had painters come in and paint the place, without any money; plasterers come in and do jobs. The man that put the panelling up and everything. They all did it voluntarily. They didn't pay any wages hardly at all, and tore the rooms apart, and all that and put that stone wall up, that cement block wall up, so if there was a fire next door it couldn't set the church on fire. And opened the church about a year afterwards.

But in the meantime, he said to me, "You know, if we're not careful, we're going to be left holding the bag because those members aren't putting anything into it. They're not even putting the work into it they could put into it." So he said, "I'm going to have the lawyer send them a letter."

Cecil Sleeman was our lawyer...so he took on being the lawyer for the church without any charge. So Sleeman sent them a letter telling them that they had to come up with some more money, and sign their names to the obligation, with the result, three of them that were on the board, left.

Soon, the minister left, because he wouldn't sign anything to be involved in it. So my husband and I were the only two that had any signatures on paper. Mr. Richardson was the other vice president of the church and he said, "Well, I have my house paid for, I'll give you the deed as collateral for the bank." So of course, that's what they did. Then we became the three founders of the church in that way, you see, because we were the ones responsible for that being paid off. So four years after the date we took it on, they burned the mortgage. That was in August, my husband died in December. Just lived long enough to burn it, you see."

Reverend Gertrude Leivers
*Interviewer - Elaine Murray




This Stained Glass window was created as a memorial to Reverend Gertrude Leivers. The plaque reads as follows....
In memory of Reverend Gertrude Leivers, Pastor Emeritus and
co-founder of Hope Memorial Spiritual Church.

She was the window of wisdom and the light of truth and

understanding to all who walked her way.

May her window never close that her light ever shine to

light the path of others who care to walk her way.
   

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