Celebrating Blessed Absalom Jones

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Absalom Jones

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father."

John 15:12-15


My Siblings in Christ,

I want to invite you to a beautiful and profound event that speaks to our diocesan identity. On Saturday, February 12th and Sunday, February 13th our diocese will celebrate the feast of Blessed Absalom Jones. 

The Rev. Absalom Jones was born into slavery and became the first Black priest ordained in The Episcopal Church - ordained right here in our diocese. This prophetic action testifies to the historic, revolutionary character of our diocese and has had a lasting impact on the entirety of The Episcopal Church.

Here are a few ways you can participate in February:


  • The service on 2/12 will be a virtual celebration that showcases music from across the diocese and outside of our region. You can register for the event here. The Rev. Dr. Mark Andrew Jefferson from Virginia Theological Seminary will preach at the service.
  •  It is our prayer that a statue of blessed Absalom will be commissioned in the diocese. You can help us make this a reality by donating here. 
  • The second part of our celebration of Blessed Absalom continues in our churches on 2/13 as I have requested that his propers be substituted for the normal readings. The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral has taped organ music for churches to use to honor Absalom in their services on Sunday, February 13th. That music can be inserted into a virtual or live service and is available here.

It is my sincere hope that everyone in our diocese will attend this online service. Not only is it an opportunity to gather for worship; it is also a chance to deepen our understanding of this pioneer of racial justice and reaffirm our commitment to confronting and dismantling the sin of systemic racism. 

In his Petition to the United States Congress in 1799, Jones wrote, “…the extending of justice and equity to all Classes would be a means of drawing down the blessing of Heaven upon this Land, for the Peace and Prosperity of which, and the real happiness of every member of the Community…”.

Please join me in commemorating this great and beloved son of our diocese. 

Bishop Signature Updated 2021

The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez

XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania