Philadephia Presbyterianism

Some cities have a religious connection that endures even today in secular American society, such as Boston and the Puritans. For American Presbyterians, more than any other (and there are others that have close ties to the Presbyterian Church) that city is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1682, by the Quaker William Penn, it was here in 1706 that Francis Makemie organized the first American presbytery - the Presbytery of Philadelphia - in 1706. The first American Synod - the Synod of Philadelphia - was established in 1717. The first American General Assembly met here in 1789. As we have noted before, one of Philadelphia's greatest icons, Benjamin Franklin, did much to publish colonial Presbyterian literature. The first black Presbyterian church in America - First African Presbyterian Church, pastored by John Gloucester - was established here in 1807. Since 1857, the Presbyterian Historical Society has been situated in Philadelphia, and continues to serve as a repository of valuable records. 

In 1888, Alfred Nevin published an History of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and of Philadelphia Central. A few years later, another thorough study of Philadelphia Presbyterianism was published by William Prescott White and William H. Scott, The Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia: A Camera and Pen Sketch of Each Presbyterian Church and Institution in the City (1895). These volumes are still referred to by historians today, and they can be read by clicking on the author links above. Take time to get to know the work of the Lord in the city of Philadelphia from the earliest days of colonial America forward. Philadelphia is not just the home of the Liberty Bell and the birthplace of the Constitution. It has a spiritual heritage that is dear to Presbyterians and indeed all American Christians.