An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Christ Church, Philadelphia

This church was founded on Nov. 15, 1695, with the assistance of Henry Compton, the Bishop of London, who had responsibility for the Church of England in the American colonies. It was the first Anglican church founded in the Pennsylvania colony. In 1758 St. Peter's Church was founded in the city, and in 1761 the “United Churches of Christ Church and St. Peter's” was established. In 1809 St. James' Church was founded and the parishes were known as the “United Churches of Christ Church, St. Peter's Church and St. James' Church.” St. James' Church became a separate corporation in 1829, and St. Peter's in 1832. Christ Church has been called the Shrine of the Patriots. On June 25, 1775, members of the Constitutional Convention met at Christ Church to hear the Rev. William Smith preach a sermon on “The Present Situation in American Affairs.” The General Convention of 1785 and the first session of the General Convention of 1786 met at Christ Church. The General Convention of 1789 also met there. During its second session the first House of Bishops met in a small room in the northeast corner of Christ Church. William White, rector of Christ Church from 1779 until 1836, presented plans to a vestry meeting on Nov. 3, 1788, for a Sunday School. From this developed one of the first Sunday Schools in the United States and the first in the Episcopal Church. At least eleven bishops have been consecrated at Christ Church.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.