235 North Fourth St. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Old City

St. Georges United Methodist Church

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Active congregation.
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The historic St. George United Methodist church stands as the oldest Methodist church in Philadelphia, built in 1767. In 1786, under the leadership of Reverend Richard Allen, an African American congregation began attending worship at St. Georges. At first, they sat around the wall but during one meeting, the church Reverand Absalom demanded that Mr. Jones, an African American, rise from his knees in prayer and move to another section. Mr. Jones replied, "wait until prayer is over," but Reverand Absalom forced him to rise. Already longing for a place of worship of their own, the African American congregation now felt the need to leave St. Georges and build a church of their own. It wasn't until October 25, 2009 that the African American church Mother Bethel A.M.E and St. Georges reconciled in a joint service.

Aside from its aesthetic beauty, St. George's stands as a remarkable symbol for both an African American obstacle for freedom, and also African American progress. I thought it was remarkable that in 1786, a church opened its doors to African Americans in the climate of slavery and segregation of the United States. At the same time, I stood along the side of the church walls and tried to imagine how it must have felt to be kicked out of a place of worship. I could begin to understand why the reconciliation service must have moved the congregations, as it addressed issues of racial division from the past in 1786, but also the present. Overall, I was astonished of the rich history of St. Georges, and how very little people know about this historic landmark.
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