|Reverend Gertrude Leivers
following is an excerpt from a 1979 Interview with Reverend Gertrude Leivers',
describing how Hope Memorial Spiritual Church came to be...
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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