New Horizons Baptist Church History

(formerly Cornwallis Street Baptist Church)


The African Baptist Church is founded by Rev. Richard Preston.


African Baptist Church is incorporated as Cornwallis Street Baptist Church (CSBC).


CSBC undergoes extensive renovations.


CSBC survives the Halifax Explosion.


The Reverend Captain William A. White, former chaplain of the historic No.2 Construction Battalion, pastors CSBC. With a strong musical background, his family wholeheartedly serves the church. His daughter Helena is the organist and his other daughter, Portia White, participates in the choir.


Rev. Captain William A. White spearheads a weeklong 100th anniversary celebration of the church. This was an event to behold!


Rev. Dr. William P. Oliver Pastors CSBC. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984.


Church building is designated as a Municipal Heritage Property.


Rev. Maxine Gough is the first female to be ordained at CSBC.


CSBC calls its first female pastor, Dr. Rhonda Y. Britton.


Rev. Richard Preston is designated a person of national significance by Parks Canada. The commemorative plaque is mounted outside CSBC.


Cornwallis Street Baptist Church votes to change its name to New Horizons Baptist Church to better reflect the church’s values and future service.


New Horizons undergoes a major renovation and expansion.


New Horizons occupies their newly renovated and expanded building.

How can we best support the black community in Halifax, Nova Scotia?

That was the call that the Reverend Richard Preston, the son of a slave who came to Nova Scotia from Virginia, first answered when he founded the African Baptist Church in 1832. With 29 baptized members, Reverend Richard Preston and the African Baptist church established a free place of worship, where everyone could exercise their gifts, have the opportunity to hold office, and help in serving their community.

From the beginning, New Horizons Baptist Church (formerly known as Cornwallis Street Baptist Church) has ministered the love of Christ. As one of the buildings to survive the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the church served as a temporary shelter for many who became homeless during the terrible winter that followed the city’s devastation. The building was also shared with other groups whose facilities were demolished during that catastrophe. Whether it is delivering food to families in need, organizing winter coat drives, providing reading enrichment programs, or visiting inmates in prison, New Horizons is known as a beacon of hope in the community.

New Horizons is a proud member of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia (AUBA), which was also founded by the Reverend Richard Preston. Preston dubbed the then Cornwallis Street Baptist the “Mother Church” of the Association. The AUBA is a member of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC),which is comprised of nearly 500 Baptist churches in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland-Labrador. New Horizons is also affiliated with the Halifax Region United Baptist Association (HRUBA), and the Baptist World Alliance (BWA).

Today, New Horizons Baptist Church continues to stand the test of time. In 2007, the church called its first female pastor in its 175-year history. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, the Reverend Dr. Rhonda Y. Britton maintains the church’s rich history of strong leadership and community service. Pastor Britton is passionate about making a difference in the lives of people, the community, and the province. She upholds the original mandate and mission of the church. New Horizons not only offers a place of solace, safety and spiritual growth in the community, it represents a part of the heritage of Nova Scotia and Canada. The church existed before the country’s confederation. New Horizons is a place that values people. Regardless of who you are, you are accepted. Your life matters. Though it is now a multi-ethnic congregation, New Horizons continues to affirm that people of African descent have a place in this city, and we are here to be counted.

Join us as we continue to grow. Join us in serving our community. Join us as we do our part to educate and equip more leaders.

We are agile, flexible, and change as required without compromising our beliefs in the Word of God. We are a place that addresses the concerns and issues of our day. We have a divine responsibility to represent Jesus Christ in all His grace and mercy to the world. With aid of the Holy Spirit, we will do all that we can to fulfill that divine responsibility and, with joy, embrace the call that Richard Preston first answered nearly 200 years ago.

Notable people with community or family ties to New Horizons Baptist Church

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