Saturday, February 12th, 2022


10:00 am – 11:30 am



Absalom Jones

(This event has moved to be completely virtual. Registration is still requested.)

“The Fruit of Struggle in an Unjust World”

All Episcopalians and those who attend this service, remember the significance of the history surrounding the ordination of the Rev. Absalom Jones and the development of his congregation, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, and the subsequent establishment of historically Black parishes in the Diocese. At this service, this legacy is be taught, understood, recognized, and ultimately, celebrated among all members of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Bishop Gutiérrez is the celebrant for this service. 

Biography of Rev. Absalom Jones

Absalom Jones was born on November 6, 1746, a house slave in Delaware.

He taught himself to read out of the New Testament, among other books. When sixteen, he was sold to a store owner in Philadelphia. There he attended a night school for blacks, operated by Quakers. At twenty, he married another slave, and purchased her freedom with his earnings.

Jones bought his own freedom in 1784. At St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, he served as lay minister for its black membership. The active evangelism of Jones and that of his friend, Richard Allen, greatly increased black membership at St. George’s. The alarmed vestry decided to segregate blacks into an upstairs gallery, without notifying them. During a Sunday service when ushers attempted to remove them, the blacks indignantly walked out in a body.

In 1787, black Christians organized the Free African Society, the first organized Afro-American society, and Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were elected overseers. Members of the Society paid monthly dues for the benefit of those in need. The Society established communication with similar black groups in other cities. In 1792, the Society began to build a church, which was dedicated on July 17, 1794.