The Unhappy Church of the Epiphany, Philadelphia (1895)

After the sale of its building at 15th and Chestnut Streets to John Wanamaker, Church of the Epiphany was essentially homeless. They worshiped, temporarily, at a Baptist Church until a permanent site could be found. The congregation hoped to find a site west of Broad Street and south of Market Street. According to the canons, a congregation could petition to stop another congregation from moving into “their” area. The frustration with finding a new worship site was a contributing factor of the 1898 merger with St. Luke’s Church. An article in the Aug 1895 issue of St. Clement’s Magazine offers insight into Church of the Epiphany’s plight.

“The Church of the Epiphany is indeed a sorry plight; six hundred thousand dollars in cash at their command, enough to buy a suitable site in a good location, and erect a handsome church building, and one man says, ‘trespassing forbidden.’ Is not this an injustice? They are told to ‘go down-town or up-town,’ or any place but where their parishioners live, and where they have a moral right to go. ”

“It seems to be a very unwise canon that will place so much power in the hands of any one man, and it seems to be a very unchristian-like way to exercise the power to refuse permission to build a church on a site not more than three squares from the church  that has been sold.”

“Epiphany is not a new congregation that has been just organized, but it is one of the oldest in the city, and therefore there is not a valid reason why there request should not be granted, and at once.”

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