An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia

This parish was founded in 1886, and its first service was held on Nov. 28, 1886. Its building is modeled on the Cathedral of Amiens in France. It was constructed between 1890 and 1897. The cornerstone was laid on May 30, 1892, and the church was consecrated on Oct. 11, 1897. Although the church was designed to seat more than a thousand worshipers, the congregation began to decline in the 1950s as many of its white members left the inner city. The parish was revitalized under the leadership of Paul Matthews Washington, an African American priest who served as rector from 1962 until 1989. On July 29, 1974, the church was the site of the first ordination of eleven women deacons to the priesthood. This irregular action preceded the approval of women's ordination by General Convention. Today the Church of the Advocate is one of the premier African American parishes in the Episcopal 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.