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(1811) John Gloucester, “Dedication of the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia”

In October of 1811, before the dedication of the first house of worship for African American Presbyterians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Reverend John Gloucester, founder and Pastor, had the following address circulated throughout the surrounding neighborhood and all friendly to his cause. The cost of 200 flyers in 1811 would equal to a little over $4,500 in todays money.

Glad tidings of great joy to the African Race, and particularly to the infant church, in which the hand of God has been so visible in collecting so many of us from the dark mountains of ignorance, sin and woe, to the bosom of the visible Church. The ground of our joy being somewhat similar to that ancient branch of God’s Church who had been so long enslaved under the Babylonish yoke, but having accomplished the years of their suffering bondage, they were permitted to return to the land of Canaan and rebuild their temple. After they had begun this building they met with great discouragement which stopped the work of the Lord’s house for eight years, after which time Ezra and the friends of Zion began and finished the temple, but terminated in the grief and confusion of their opposes. In like manner many of us have accomplished the years of our captivity, and returned to the land of blessed light and liberty.

In the year 1810, a building was begun for the poor and afflicted sons and daughters of Ham, in Moaymensing district at the corner of Seventh and Shippen Streets, which was patronized by many of the worthy inhabitants of this city; we had the honor at the commencement of the building to have the following gentlemen go before us as the chief agents and planners of the work: Messrs. Ralston, F. Markoe, Captain Moore and John McMullin. By the pious exertions and influence of these gentlemen, united with many of the well-disposed and benevolent inhabitants of this place, this house of worship was raised and in an unfinished state for two reasons; first, many of those who were free from temporal bondage were still willing to be slaves to sin

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