From the Rector’s Desk – Our 125th Anniversary Celebrations

From the Rector’s Desk

Our 125th Anniversary Celebrations are now behind us and thanks be to God, we are able to host festivities befitting this historic observance. As I have reflected elsewhere, I regard it a unique honor and privilege to be serving as rector of St. Philip’s at this time as the church reflects on its history and pays homage to those who have gone on to glory.

We have much to be proud of for 125 years is a long time. This journey began backing 1872 and Marsha Phelts our historian recalls a peculiar set of circumstances led to the founding of a mission to serve the black population here in Jacksonville. That mission began at St. Philip’s in 1882. Our records show that we survived the great fire of 1901, the ugly specter of discrimination and the occasional turbulence parishes must endure on account of the movement of its clergy. None of the aforementioned was able to daunt the spirits of our people as we began our activities on June 3rd with the crooked river outing in nearby Georgia. This was followed by youth night activities, a memorial service, a festival of choirs and an African-American Caribbean Cultural Extravaganza.

A mass of thanksgiving did complete the octave for us on June 10th. It would seem that the week of activities did create a sort of home coming atmosphere in the parish with former members who now live away from us and visitors alike now making the pilgrimage back to St. Philip’s just to be on hand for this historic moment. From their effusive comments we must now seriously consider planning smaller celebrations from time to time to give them a reason to return. It is my hope that the unbridled enthusiasm that was evident just recently, will not be allowed to simmer and die. Instead we here at St. Philip’s will join hands together and with God’s grace, take this parish to new heights. Genevieve and the girls join me in offering our love.

For His Sake,
Rev. Hugh W. Chapman

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