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Historical Document
"The Causes and Motives for Establishing St. Thomas's African Church..."

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Click here for the text of this historical document.

On August 12, 1794, one month after the opening of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Absalom Jones composed a document that issued a clear response to the paternalistic sermon on gratitude and humility preached by white minister Samuel Magaw at the church's very first service.

In "The Causes and Motives for Establishing St. Thomas's African Church of Philadelphia," the Founders and Trustees of the church stated their intent "to arise out of the dust and shake ourselves, and throw off that servile fear, that the habit of oppression and bondage trained us up in."

Contrary to Magaw's warning against pride, they attributed their commitment to "establish some orderly, christian-like government" to their desire "to avoid all appearance of evil, by self-conceitedness, or an intent to promote or establish any new human device among us" -- though adamant that the church "be governed by us and our successors for ever."

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Related Entries:
"A Discourse...African Church"
Portrait of Absalom Jones

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