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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
5:30 pm High Altar

Absalom Jones

d.February 13, 1818

Absalom Jones was the first black American to be formally ordained as a priest in any denomination. Lesser Feasts and Fasts describes how this came to be:

At St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, he served as lay minister for its Black membership.The active evangelism of Jones and that of his friend, Richard Allen, greatly increased Black membership at St. George’s. The alarmed vestry decided to segregate Blacks into an upstairs gallery, without notifying them. During a Sunday service when ushers attempted to remove them, the Blacks indignantly walked out in a body.

In 1787, Black Christians organized the Free African Society, the first organized Afro-American society, and Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were elected overseers. Members of the Society paid monthly dues for the benefit of those in need. The Society established communication with similar Black groups in other cities. In 1792, the Society began to build a church, which was dedicated on July 17, 1794.

The African Church applied for membership in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania on the following conditions: 1, that they be received as an organized body; 2, that they have control over their local affairs; 3, that Absalom Jones be licensed as layreader, and, if qualified, be ordained as minister. In October 1794 it was admitted as St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. Bishop White ordained Jones as deacon in 1795 and as priest on September 21, 1802.


Set us free, O heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of thy servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which thou hast given us in thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Gentlemen of the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys.

Officiant: Fr Turner

Sung by: The Gentlemen of the Choir

Prelude: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Introit: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, Ernest Walker (1870-1949)

Responses: William Harris (1883-1973)

Psalm: 109:1-4, 20-30 Plainsong (Tone IV6)

Service: in D, Edward Naylor (1867-1934)

Lesson: Genesis 45: 1-15

Lesson 2: John 7:37-52

Anthem: By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, Arthur Wills (b. 1926)

Hymn: 501
O Holy Spirit, by whose breath

Voluntary: Komm, Gott schöpfer, heiliger Geist, BWV 631, Johann Sebastian Bach


Psalm 15:32-18:50
Magnificat 22:4-26:44
Nunc Dimittis 29:31-32:46
Greetings 39:9-39:56
Offertory 40:15-44:34
Hymn 48:47-52:11
Voluntary 52:11-53:14

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