Just over four decades ago, husband and wife, Beresford and Sybil Somerville, started worshipping in their Malton basement.
“It was just the two of us and two friends,” said the family matriarch. “There was no church around at the time with a predominantly Black congregation, so we went door to door in our community inviting people to attend Sunday school at our residence. From our basement, we moved to a school auditorium nine months later.”
Out of that small gathering emerged the New Life Covenant Church – formerly Malton Church of God – whose congregation now worships in Mississauga.
The Somervilles were recognized last Sunday for laying the foundation for the church.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” said the church’s family services director, Eldon Dore. “With this being the Family Day weekend, we thought it was a fitting time to show our appreciation to them for all they did.”
Beresford Somerville was unable to attend the celebration because of illness.
The couple, who celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary yesterday are founding members of West Toronto Church of God. Sybil was the first clerk, while her husband was the deacon at age 24.
“We grew up in church,” said Somerville, who migrated from Jamaica 49 years ago. “It’s only fitting that we continue that tradition in Canada.”