February 15, 2010 |
Above the pulpit at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in gold lettering over the archway, is a motto of the denomination's faith, personified by the life of its founder and first bishop, Richard Allen: "God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our Brother. " As worshipers filed into the sanctuary yesterday to mark the 250th anniversary of Allen's birth, Ruby Boyd, 91, reflected on just how far those words had taken the congregation. For the first time, members of St. George's United Methodist Church in Old City - the church Allen walked out of more than 200 years ago because African Americans were segregated in a balcony for services - visited Mother Bethel to join the congregation in Sunday morning worship.
February 14, 2010 |
"I was born in the year of our Lord 1760, on February 14th, a slave to Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia," Richard Allen wrote in his terse autobiography, published in 1833. "My mother and father and four children of us were then sold into Delaware state, near Dover. " So begins the remarkable story of an American Founding Father, a man who bought his freedom; helped start the first African self-help organization in America, the Free African Society; began his own religious denomination; brought moral force to the fledgling struggles against slavery and racial discrimination; and created a bustling business in Philadelphia, to boot.
December 8, 2009 |
AS IF THINGS couldn't get worse for Elin Nordegren: She's now getting relationship advice from a former prostitute. Ashley Dupre, the high-priced call girl in the Eliot Spitzer scandal, kept her 15-minutes-of-fame meter running by telling "Extra," "[Elin should] take some time to herself, digest everything, go to counseling. "If she really loves him, and they have those bonds . . . go to therapy, see if you can work it out. " What? The only bonds Elin's going to have will say "U.S.
October 26, 2009 |
With prayer and oratory, forgiveness and grace, a Methodist congregation separated by racism more than 200 years ago united yesterday for the first time for Sunday morning services. The schism occurred in the late 1780s or early 1790s - no one is sure - when African Americans who had been worshiping at St. George's Methodist Church on Fourth Street in Old City were thrown out by white congregants as they were on their knees praying in the balcony. The African Americans left and eventually formed the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Sixth and Lombard Streets, which later became a stop on the Underground Railroad and is now Mother Bethel A.M.E.
October 19, 2009 |
Members of the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown have helped fund a mission for homeless men, a senior-citizen housing complex, and the revival of two recently shuttered neighborhood newspapers. Money from the church endowment, which has been cited as above average, helped make those efforts possible. But the weak economy has reduced the endowment to $5 million, half of what it was 15 years ago. If the church keeps tapping into it, some members fear, it could be gone in 10 years.
September 7, 2009 |
As breezes rippled across the sunlit Schuylkill yesterday morning, sending two 40-foot dragon boats tugging at their dock lines, Rabbi Lawrence Sernovitz just couldn't hold back his feelings. "It's overwhelming what you have done together to support my family and my son," he told the small crowd gathered around him at Lloyd Hall boat club on Kelly Drive. Six months ago, the junior rabbi at Old York Road Temple?Beth Am in Abington had never even heard of dragon boats. But at next month's Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, Sernovitz will squeeze into a slender, tippy reed of fiberglass alongside his father, his brother, and 19 other men and women.
June 18, 2009 |
The Rev. William H. Gage, 77, of West Mount Airy, pastor of Norris Square Presbyterian Church from 1963 to 2006, died of metastasized colon cancer June 10 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. In 1966, Mr. Gage established the first Latino congregation in the Synod of the Trinity in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which covers all of Pennsylvania, most of West Virginia, and 10 counties in eastern Ohio. That congregation worshiped at Mr. Gage's church with its own Sunday service in Spanish and its own pastor.
June 1, 2009 |
The crowd swelled and murmurs of anticipation rolled up and down the pews yesterday morning as the congregation awaited something never seen in the 119-year history of St. Paul's Baptist Church in Philadelphia. A female pastor was about to take the pulpit and deliver her first sermon. Though women aren't officially barred from leading Baptist churches, tradition and expectations have made female pastors a rarity. Many members of the congregation said they thought St. Paul's, at 10th and Wallace Streets, was leading the way for others to break down old barriers.
April 11, 2009 |
Tomorrow, the Rev. Robert V. Shipman will preach the familiar, joyous story of resurrection and rebirth to the faithful of Prince of Peace Baptist Church. Rising again is something the 150-member Strawberry Mansion congregation knows a thing or two about. Last spring, the church's longtime home, a massive Classic Revival building that used to house the former William S. Stokley School, was consumed by fire. For months, the congregation has been worshipping in a rented trailer that was placed on an empty lot at 31st Street and Montgomery Avenue.
April 8, 2009 |
The First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood traces its roots to the 1750s, when it was established by village founders hoping to draw settlers to their little community. Since 1848, Presbyterians have been worshipping at East Church Street and North Black Horse Pike, in the heart of Blackwood, now a part of Gloucester Township. But the building there is showing its age, and termite damage is a concern. With that in mind, church leaders are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, aiming to make sure many more generations gather there.