St. Philip’s Church, Annapolis

As late as 1870, very little was done in the city of Annapolis to bring colored people into the Episcopal Church. St. Philip’s Colored Mission was founded in 1870 by some women of St. Anne’s Parish as a Sunday School of that church. It is supposed that these women were three sisters of the Randall family – Bessie, Adelle and Kate. In the following year 175 children were reported in the Sunday School.

St. Philips interior photoIn 1874 the Rev. Cleland Nelson, president of St. John’s College, in partnership with the Rev. William Scott Southgate, held services for Colored people and gathered a congregation. In 1880, Bishop William Pinkney stated in his journal that he had visited “the colored people” on May 3 and had preached to them. The bishop hoped then that a chapel would be built for them.

Bishop William Paret succeeded Bishop Pinkney in 1883. One of his first acts was to boost the “Bishop’s Penny Fund.” This fund played an important part in carrying on the work of St. Philip’s. It aided in supplying teachers for the mission school and also in the erection of the Northwest Street Chapel.

In 1887, the first Colored full-time priest, the Rev. J. B. Massiah, a native of Jamaica, was appointed vicar. Although he was listed as a curate of St. Anne’s, his work was confined entirely to St. Philip’s. In the same year, the site for the Northwest Street Chapel was purchased from the Zion Baptist Church for $600, which consisted of two buildings. The Northwest Street Chapel was begun in 1905 and was completed in 1907. In 1908 St. Anne’s separated from St. Philip’s in an agreement between the rector, wardens, vestry, and Bishop Paret. St. Philip’s moved into its new church on Bestgate Road in May 1971.

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St. Philip’s Church
730 Bestgate Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21401