By Craig Townsend
On a September afternoon in 1853, 3 African American males from St. Philip's Church walked into the conference of the Episcopal Diocese of recent York and took their seats between filthy rich and strong white church leaders. eventually, and with nice reluctance, the conference had acceded to the men's request: legitimate acceptance for St. Philip's, the 1st African American Episcopal church in long island urban. In Faith of their personal Color, Craig D. Townsend tells the awesome tale of St. Philip's and its fight to create an self sustaining and self sufficient church. His paintings finds a forgotten bankruptcy within the heritage of recent York urban and African americans and sheds new mild at the methods non secular religion can either toughen and conquer racial limitations.
Founded in 1809, St. Philip's had continued a hearth; a rebel via anti-abolitionists that just about destroyed the church; and greater than 40 years of discrimination by way of the Episcopalian hierarchy. unlike nearly all of African american citizens, who have been flocking to evangelical denominations, the congregation of St. Philip's sought to outline itself inside of an overwhelmingly white hierarchical constitution. Their efforts mirrored the strain among their wish for self-determination, at the one hand, and recognition via a white denomination, at the other.
The historical past of St. Philip's Church additionally illustrates the racism and outstanding problems African americans faced in antebellum long island urban, the place complete abolition didn't take place until eventually 1827. Townsend describes the consistent and complicated negotiation of the divide among black and white New Yorkers. He additionally recounts the attention-grabbing tales of traditionally neglected people who outfitted and fought for St. Philip's, together with Rev. Peter Williams, the second one African American ordained within the Episcopal Church; Dr. James McCune Smith, the 1st African American to earn an M.D.; pickling rich person Henry Scott; the combative priest Alexander Crummell; and John Jay II, the grandson of the 1st leader justice of the splendid court docket and an ardent abolitionist, who helped safe popularity of St. Philip's.
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Extra info for Faith in Their Own Color: Black Episcopalians in Antebellum New York City
This was, for Episcopalians, the most signiﬁcant event that followed from the separation of the black members from St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia (sometime between and ), when some of that group subsequently followed Richard Allen into founding the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The rest of those members (the majority) left the Methodist denomination, abandoned Allen to his new movement, and formed St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church, with Jones as their leader. They then succeeded in persuading White to ordain Jones.
Hobart had every reason to be proud of what he had done, and he surely was, but he also had plenty of colleagues who were not going to be pleased or impressed with this accomplishment, which explains his desire to both downplay the event and locate it carefully within its congregational—and therefore racial—borders. On December , , disaster struck: a defective ﬂue caused the Christmas decorations in the two-year-old church to catch ﬁre, and the building was destroyed. The congregation fortunately had insurance, and they managed to raise an additional $, to replace the wooden structure with one of brick, at a total cost of $,.
Hobart’s successor as rector, William Berrian, spoke proudly of this generous legacy in the history he wrote of Trinity, yet his description does not make any mention of the support for St. This lacuna is particularly surprising in that the total amount given to St. Philip’s, during the rectorships of both Hobart and Berrian, was greater than what was given to most other parishes. The ﬁnishing touches were put on the building around the end of the year, and on July , , Hobart consecrated it as St.
Faith in Their Own Color: Black Episcopalians in Antebellum New York City by Craig Townsend