James Ivan Moore was the first Canadian-born pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Vancouver and may have been the last full time minister assigned to the building at 823 Jackson Avenue. J. Ivan Moore was a fascinating man who’s life spanned the 20th Century. He was born in Guelph, Ontario around 1900, was adopted, and was raised in nearby Brantford. He served in the Canadian military near the end of World War I, being drafted on July 1, 1918 into the 2nd Canadian Garrison Regiment in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
After the war Rev. Moore attended the Negro University at Wilberforce, Ohio and he was ordained in New York in 1935. In 1939 and 1940, he was minister at Owen Sound’s British Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Moore’s grandson notes that he: “was a Colored man but pastored all or mostly white congregations throughout his ministry in Canada, started the first all Negro Canadian Hockey League and assisted A. Phillip Randolph in organizing the Canadian Car Porters in the 1930’s.”
Rev. Moore moved to Vancouver around 1950 to serve as the pastor for the AME Fountain Chapel at 823 Jackson Avenue. He is listed in the Vancouver city directories only in a single year, 1952, and no other pastors are listed between 1944 and 1963. The July 19, 1952 issue of the Sun newspaper (photo shown above) featured Rev. Moore in an article entitled “Negroes Live Next Door” by Bruce Ramsey. The Sun photo shows Rev. Moore standing to the left and shows the Crumb family ascending the steps of 823 Jackson Avenue including Mrs. Robert Crumb, twin sons Robert and Ronald, 12 (who were well-known Vancouver entertainers at the time) and daughter Sandra, 5.
The Sun article notes that “the city’s Negro population, numbering some 700 persons … [were] scattered throughout Vancouver.” The article also notes that “there is no one locality in Vancouver which can be described as being Negro”. Nevertheless, Rev. Moore worked tirelessly to help Vancouver’s black population, especially black youth. During his time in Vancouver Rev. Moore set up a youth support program that met every Wednesday in the church.
Alas, Rev. Moore’s time in Vancouver did not last long. He was only the pastor at the Fountain Chapel for two years and then was reassigned to an AME Church in Spokane, Washington. Rev. Moore’s daughter and son both graduated from high school in Vancouver during that time but they never returned after graduation. Rev. Moore ended up moving to Northern California where he retired and passed away in 1995 in Berkeley, California. His grandson currently lives in the Los Angeles area.