January 05, 2015
We wish to express our thanks to you for your interest in our most famous member, Harriet Tubman and the African American freedom seekers who built the Salem Chapel and their connection to the legendary Underground Railroad. We too are just as enthusiastic, if not more so, because we are the guardians of their honourable memory and custodians of the church. However, it is important that you know that our first priority is to serve our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, because that is what we believe Sister Tubman and all other past members would want us to do.
We realize that this may be difficult for some of you to understand and that some of you may disagree with us, however, please recognize that this is our position and it is also our prerogative. There will be no argument relating to this matter, because we understand that our forefathers built the church to praise the Lord, not themselves. We also do not believe that they would want us to place them above God.
We believe that the only time Sister Tubman would have missed attending a Sunday Worship Service, whether she was in the US or Canada, is when she was guiding fugitives to freedom or if she was ill. No matter what the Sunday circumstance may have been, we believe that Sister Tubman would have taken the time to give thanks to the Lord as she did on a daily basis.
The Salem Chapel is a functional church and we do hold a public worship service every Sunday, therefore, we operate very differently from a museum, interpretive centre, etc., because our first priority is to serve the Lord.
We understand that people want to visit the actual site where remarkable people in history once worshiped their God, which is why we open our doors to visitors. We are a small volunteer congregation and we operate by appointment only. We do not have the volunteer base to operate as a 9 to 5 business nor are we readily available to answer the church telephone 24 hours a day. However, we do have an answering machine and we do return all phone calls, so arrangements, if possible, can be made.
It is our hope that you do understand that Sunday is our day of worship and we hope that you will not show up unannounced and expect us to interrupt or stop our service to attend to your site visit and history needs. You are welcome to join us for our worship service, but if we are not expecting you please do not be offended if we choose to continue with our scheduled worship service or our scheduled discussion afterwards relating to the administration of the church.
We also wish to advise that filming and photos of the Salem Chapel, which includes the exterior garden/courtyard is for private and personal use only, unless otherwise stated or agreed.
If you would like to use footage or photographs of the Salem Chapel for non-private or commercial use such as; a film, documentary, video, DVD, virtual exhibit, book etc., we kindly ask that you conduct yourself in a respectful and professional manner by asking the Trustees for permission to do such.
We want to inform you that any footage that may appear on the internet or in a documentary, film, etc., with the church in the background does not mean that the individual or group received our permission and it certainly does not mean that the Trustees are in agreement with the narrative or work used by the individual and or group.
We have experienced individuals (scholars, researchers, writers, history enthusiasts etc,) and or groups (organizations, associations, societies) who have and will go as far as to give the Salem Chapel or her representatives a full credit or acknowledgement in their book, film, documentary, virtual exhibit etc., to make it appear as though we are in agreement with their narrative or work, which is incorrect, misleading and a false claim.
We do not want nor do we welcome any Tubman advocates or history enthusiasts claiming to be spokespeople for the Trustees or a voice of the Salem Chapel.
That said, we kindly ask that all interested parties refrain from using the Salem Chapel and its connection to Harriet Tubman and the freedom seekers to advance your personal, political, academic, organizational, religious or other agenda.
We ask that you respect our wishes and conduct yourself in a professional manner by asking the Trustees first, before you act. You are welcome to contact the church by calling 905-682-0993.
Lastly, we are aware that tour operators frequently bring visitors to view the exterior of the church, which includes our statue of Sister Tubman. Please bear in mind that the tour operators are selling their version and offering their opinion about the history based solely on their personal interpretation and perspective and not that of the church Trustees.
We wish to thank you in advance for understanding and respecting our concerns.
Peace be with you and God bless,
Salem Chapel NHS Trustees