African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas

African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas

The African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas, presently located at 6361 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was initially organized in 1792, as “The African Church,” under the leadership of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, after they left Philadelphia's St. George's Methodist Church in protest against its segregated seating. “The African Church” was an outgrowth of the Free African Society which was formed in 1787 by Allen, along with Jones and others. The Organization’s purpose was to establish a place of worship as well as a mutual aid society for blacks. On July 17, 1794, the African Church, renamed St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church, formally opened its doors for worship with Absalom Jones as its lay reader and deacon. In 1802, Absalom Jones was ordained Priest, becoming the first black Episcopal Priest. 

by Aslaku Berhanu


Allen, Richard. “Autobiography of Richard Allen.”

Nash, Gary B. “’To Arise out of the Dust’: Absalom Jones and the African Church of Philadelphia, 1785-95.” Race, Class, and Politics: Essays on American Colonial and Revolutionary Society. Ed. Nash. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 323-355.

Wright, Richard R. The Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Nashville: The A.M.E. Sunday School Union, 1963. 46-76.