July 4th 1776 at Christ Church, Philadelphia

Philadelphia in 1776 was a city in the midst of political turmoil and social upheaval and Christ Church was not immune to these issues. Delegates to the Continental Congress frequently worshipped at Christ Church and the Church’s rector, The Reverend Jacob Duché, served as the chaplain to the Continental Congress. The signing of the Declaration of Independence left Christ Church, the first Anglican Church in Pennsylvania, in a particularly precarious situation.

On July 4, 1776 the Vestry minutes record:

Whereas the honorable Continental Congress have resolved to declare the American Colonies to be free and independent States In consequence of which it will be proper to omit those Petitions in the Liturgy wherein the King of Great Britain is prayed for, as inconsistent with the said Declaration. Therefore resolved that it appears to this Vestry to be necessary for the peace and well being of the Churches to omit the said Petitions and the Rector and Assistant Minister of the United Churches are requested in the name of the Vestry and their Constituents to omit such petitions as are above mentioned.

This resolution resulted in the crossing out of the petitions to the Royal Family in the Book of Common Prayer as seen here.

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