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Christ Church

20 North American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

 

There are many texts that link Christ as the head of the Church throughout the Bible. Ephesians 1:22-23 is a classic passage that shows Christ’s rule over the church. It says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (NIV).

This was the church where our nation’s patriots often worshipped. During one service they heard a sermon from the Rev. Jacob Duche on Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (KJV). In his message, Duche connected the spiritual liberty Christians have in Jesus Christ with the liberty they should have through a just government. He dedicated this sermon to General George Washington who often worshiped here, even having his own pew. Several signers of the Declaration and Constitution are buried here as well as in the Christ Church burial grounds.

As a result of the Revolutionary War, the Anglican church could no longer operate by that name in America, as it was the official Church of England. An agreement was reached between English officials of church and state as well as the American Congress and American Anglicans to establish the Episcopal church. The first bishop of the new Episcopal church was the pastor of Christ Church who followed Rev. Duche, the Rev. William White. White had previously served as the assistant and successor to Rev. Duche as well as chaplain to congress. Bishop White is buried inside Christ Church.

This church has never ceased to be an active center for worship. Absolom Jones, one of the first ordained African-American preachers in America, studied the Bible and theology here in an upstairs room. The baptismal font, which is still used today, was a gift from All Hallows Barking, an Anglican church in London. The font is the very one in which William Penn was baptized as an infant.