On October 5, 2008, HOMECOMING SUNDAY, the congregation of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church began its bicentennial celebrations. On October 4, 2009, St. Philip’s bicentennial will reach its culmination, again on HOMECOMING SUNDAY, when it will reflect upon the church’s 200 years and the groundbreaking nature of its history, look forward to its third century of devotion, and welcome in worship THE MOST REVEREND KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
ABOUT ST. PHILIP’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: By the early 1800s, attendance at (NYC’s) Trinity Church’s Sunday afternoon African service became so large, and the African-American parishioners so dissatisfied with having to worship separately, they decided to form their own congregation.
IN 1809, AFRICAN AMERICAN CONGREGANTS BEGAN THEIR WORSHIP IN A LEASED BUILDING IN LOWER MANHATTAN.
IN 1818, THIS FIRST (NY) BLACK EPISCOPAL CONGREGATION BUILT ITS OWN CHURCH ON CENTRE STREET.
IN 1820, PETER WILLIAMS JR. BECAME THE FIRST BLACK ORDAINED EPISCOPAL DEACON.
IN 1826, PETER WILLIAMS JR. WAS ELEVATED TO THE PRIESTHOOD (ANOTHER FIRST)AND BECAME THE FIRST RECTOR OF ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH.
Peter Williams, Jr., along with abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Sojourner Truth, was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
IN 1856, ST. PHILIP’S CONGREGATION MOVED TO A FORMERLY METHODIST CHURCH AT 200 MULBERRY STREET. The Mulberry Street church was severely damaged during the CIVIL WAR DRAFT RIOTS.
IN 1886, ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH CHOSE HUTCHENS CHEW BISHOP AS ITS FOURTH RECTOR. Rev. Bishop lead the congregation from its Greenich Village location to its third church location, west 25th Street.
IN THE EARLY 1900s, ST. PHILIP’s CONGREGATION DECIDED TO MOVE TO ITS FOURTH AND FINAL LOCATION, COMMISSIONING THE DESIGN OF ITS EDIFICE.
IN 1910, THE CONGREGATION ENTERED ITS NEWLY DESIGNED AND BUILT CHURCH ON WEST 134TH STREET IN HARLEM, MAKING IT THE FIRST BLACK CONGREGATION OF ANY DENOMINATION TO COME TO HARLEM.
ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, WHICH WAS LATER RECOGNIZED BY THE NYC LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION, WAS DESIGNED BY VERTNER W. TANDY, THE FIRST BLACK ARCHITECT REGISTERED IN NEW YORK STATE.
There is so much more to know about the St. Philip’s history (including the fact that Thurgood Marshall was a member and a vestryman), its service to the Harlem community, and its plans for the future which you will learn once you join our HOMECOMING and final bicentennial year celebration. We look forward to seeing you…
ST. PHILIP’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2009
9:15 AM: PROCESSION THROUGH HARLEM
10:00 AM: HOMECOMING SUNDAY SERVICE
204 WEST 134TH STREET (BET’N ACP, Jr. and FREDERICK DOUGLASS BLVDS)
Linda A. Rock, M.D.
Member, Cultural Committee