On January 28, the Adult Education class of Grace Presbyterian Church in Jenkintown welcomed presenters Marcia Singleton and Lois Hayman-El from First African American Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia.
First African Presbyterian Church is the fourth black congregation in Philadelphia and the first black Presbyterian Church in America. It was established in 1807 by The Reverend John Gloucester, a former slave. First African Presbyterian Church is the mother of black Presbyterianism in the United States. Since its founding the church has been instrumental in starting other black churches in the Philadelphia area, including Lombard Central Presbyterian, Berean, Faith Presbyterian of Germantown (now closed), Reeve Memorial and McDowell Presbyterian Church (now closed). Today First African Presbyterian’s members look back with pride at their 210-year history.
This presentation was the fourth in a series entitled, “Who is Our Neighbor?” designed with the second of the great commandments in mind: to “love your neighbor as yourself.” In recognition of January 15 as Martin Luther King Day of Service and of February as Black History Month, we began with the role of the Black church in Philadelphia as an advocate for our African-American neighbors. Presbytery member Rev. Dr. Leonard Bethel began the series, which has also welcomed Rev. Adan Mairena addressing the question of sanctuary and will include a visit from Isaac Baah of the Ghanaian Community Church. We conclude with a presentation by immigration attorney Bill Stock on current issues in the immigration debate.
Pictured: Members of Grace Church enjoyed a lively presentation about the nation’s first African-American Presbyterian Church. Joining the Grace members from First African Presbyterian Church are Lois Hayman-El (front left), historian of the First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and Marcia Singleton(front 3rd from left), First African’s Clerk of Session/lay leader.