The Episcopal Church recognizes Absalom Jones as its first black priest. A Day of Devotion is annually set aside in February by the church to commemorate the work of Absalom Jones. In keeping with this recognition, St. Luke’s members plan an annual celebration that pays tribute by establishing a time set aside as “Absalom Jones Day.”
“Absalom Jones Day” will focus on life, history, and culture of blacks in America. On Sunday March 6, 2016, St. Luke’s will hold its annual celebration by honoring the life of the Rev. Absalom Jones. The celebration will begin at the Eucharist Service at 10 a.m. followed with a luncheon. Both of these events will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Chapel, 538 Main Street, Grambling, Louisiana.
Absalom Jones was born a slave in Sussex, Delaware on December6 1746. He learned to read as a child. At 16, he was taken to Philadelphia to work in his master’s shop where a clerk taught him to write. His earnings enabled him to buy first his wife’s freedom, then his own. He became friend to Richard Allen and together they founded the Free African Society (FAC), which served as a protective society and social organization for free blacks. Jones and Allen were both inclined to preach and were part of St. George’s Methodist Church. Harassed by white members, they made a decision to organize blacks outside of the church and so the Free African Society grew.
Toward the end of 1790, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were encouraged to inaugurate a separate black church. In an election the majority of members of the FAC voted to affiliate with the Church of England. Jones accepted the pastorate and in 1794 the African Church of St. Thomas opened. Jones was active in the civic life of Philadelphia and in 1799 was among 75 free black men who sent a petition against the slave trade to Congress. This petition was the first official protest to Congress by blacks in America. Jones died on February 13, 1818.
The speaker for this year’s celebration is Mtr Kimberly Jackson of Atlanta, Georgia. Mtr Jackson comes to us with a wealth of experience from her actively involved life of preaching, teaching, speaking, presentations, panel discussions and radio interviews. This involvement has occurred in various churches, protestant and Catholic as well as, colleges, seminaries, and numerous states within the United States. The occasions for these activities have been on religion, anti-death penalty, fundraising and have ranged from the sacred to the most controversial. She has addressed questions on topics such as the raising of children who will go to church when they leave for college, living Black in America and the death penalty. She was also interviewed on radio shows, and has facilitated at retreats.
Mtr Jackson is coming to St. Luke’s Chapel on March 6, 2016, to afford this community an opportunity to hear her. Come and join the St. Luke’s family and hear Mtr Jackson’s perspective on how we can all benefit from the life and experience of Absalom Jones as Americans in today’s society.
St. Luke’s Sunday service schedule is as follows: Sunday School 9:15 a.m. , morning worship and Eucharist 10 a.m, Students Ministry (Canterbury) 4:00 p.m. The church is located on 538 Main Street, Grambling. For information call 318-247-6669.