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Saint George’s Methodist Church

Oldest continuously used Methodist church building in America

Description

The Experience

This brick church (14 feet from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge) and its Historical Center present a picture of Colonial life and the beginnings of American Methodism. The unadorned sanctuary, with its simple pews, original floorboards and candlesticks illuminating the balconies, looks as it did when completed in 1792.

The two-room museum has artifacts from 18th- and 19th-century life, as well as personal effects of Methodist leaders, including the bible brought from England by Francis Asbury, the “Father of American Methodists,” and the journal of Joseph Pilmoor, the first pastor of St. George’s.

History

Englishman John Wesley, an Anglican priest, founded the Methodist movement. In 1769, his followers in Philadelphia purchased this nearly constructed meeting house, which became a first stop for preachers sent from England and a center for the first annual Methodist conferences from 1773 through 1775.

In 1784, the Society of Methodists became the Methodist Episcopal Church, the precursor to today’s United Methodism. In 1789, the first Methodist Book Room opened here, leading to the Methodist Publishing House and the contemporary Cokesbury Book Stores.

Other Information

Tours daily and weekends by appointment. (It’s best to call ahead.)

Insider Tip

St. George’s, named for the patron saint of England, was purchased by Methodists at auction after a German Reformed congregation ran out of funds to complete the building.

Kids’ Stuff

Find the portrait of Anna Jarvis, who founded Mother’s Day, and attended St. George’s in the early 1900s.

Details

235 N. 4th Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-7788
Website

In the neighborhood

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