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St. Philip's Episcopal Church Collection

About the Collection

This collection contains ledgers and documents from St. Philip's Episcopal Church documenting church history and vital records from the congregation including baptisms, confirmations, communicants, marriages, and burials.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church’s history begins a year before the Emancipation Proclamation in 1861 under the leadership of a white clergyman, Reverend Witherspoon. In the year 1865 the first Black full-time rector, Reverend Samuel L. Berry led the St. Philip's congregation until 1876, establishing the church as a home for Black Protestant Episcopalians to experience church through their African roots.

The church, its community center, and food pantry continue to be in operation today under the guidance of Pastor Stephen Lane. A full history is described in the finding aid for the collection.

In July 2021, Dr. Lillian Williams, professor in the Department of Africana and American Studies and former chair of the Department of African American Studies, approached the University Archives about the records of St. Philip's Episcopal Church. University Archives staff met with Pastor Steve Lane, Dr. Nevergold, and Josephine Cross, a warden of the church, in September 2021. The records were donated in November 2021. A PhD student, BreAnna Rice, was hired in summer 2022 and completed processing in July 2022.