Parish Life

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Parish Life, etc.

At St. Philip’s you will find a variety of ways to mature in the Christian faith, to develop and strengthen friendships and to participate in ministry, both inside and outside of the church walls.

It is our aim to have the various aspects and activities of our parish life work together to support the various needs and stages of the Christian life.

We also aim to enjoy ourselves while doing it!

Children and Youth

Children and YouthChildren of all ages are welcome at St. Philip’s! Our church offers a variety of ways for children to become integrated into our common life and to begin to develop a sense of their own relationship with God through Christ. In addition to the offerings listed below, children may also participate regularly in worship by serving as ushers, greeters, acolytes and readers.

Children and youth play an important role in the life of St. Philip’s Church. At various times throughout the year, including but not limited to Christmastide, the season of Epiphany, and Black History Month, the children and youth enhance the worship and overall common life of the church by participating in plays, musicals and Children & Youthother literary programs.  Our youth also lead their own fundraising efforts to support local and international mission projects. In recent years, the youth have raised funds which supported church building projects in the Anglican Church of Ghana and in their compassionate response to displaced victims of a gas explosion in Harlem in Spring 2014.

Children also enjoy fellowship by participating in trips to amusement parks, theaters, skating rinks and other fun, educational, and cultural events such as an annual Cotillion.

Young AdultsYoung Adults

With the recognition that being a young adult is a very particular stage of life and that having intentional time for discussion and fellowship with others traveling in that stage of life can be immensely helpful and encouraging, St. Philip’s has developed its young adult group, known as SPYA.

SPYA gathers periodically for a variety of activities such as:

Young Adults• Book reads & discussions

• Dinner & movie outings

• Barbecues and movies in the St. Philip’s Garden

• HTU (Harlem Turned UP!) –  A monthly gathering with potluck, prayers and passionate conversation on topics and issues

Christian Education

Christian Education

Youth Sunday School

The Sunday School provides children, ages 5 to 18, with religious education and the opportunity to explore and express their Christian faith. Children study the bible and church liturgy in age appropriate classes, enabling them to more fully participate and to discover the many ways in which they may encounter God in their lives. 

Sunday school is held during the programmatic year, which runs from September – June, and is offered at the following time:

• Every Sunday morning at 10am (unless otherwise noted) 

Adult Christian FormationChristian Education

Adult Christian Education opportunities offer exciting and challenging ways to explore and expand one’s knowledge of Holy Scripture and Christian theology. More importantly, however, it offers an opportunity to deepen relationship with God and with one another as we, guided by the Holy Spirit, study and struggle together to mature in our Christian faith and discern how to put our faith into action. 

The type of offerings vary throughout the year and include formats such as book studies, multi-week themed courses on Christian and Anglican/Episcopal theology (e.g. Holy Communion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Problem of Evil/Theodicy), traditional bible study, and the intersection between theology and culture. 

Adult Christian Education is offered weekly, unless otherwise noted, from September – June:

• Sunday mornings at 10am

• Wednesday evenings at 7pm


Ministry Organizations

Ministry Organizations

At St. Philip’s we encourage everyone to participate in a church ministry and engage their faith in concrete ways. Please see below for a partial listing of active, non-worship related lay ministries.

Candace Organization

The Candace organization fosters spiritual growth through a variety of service oriented activities within the church and in the community, with special emphasis on youth participation in church activities. If interested in participating or finding about more about the Candace organization, please contact Mrs. Barbara Baker at 201-569-1938. 

Cultural Committee

The Cultural committee offers and supports activities that foster communication, education and cultural exchange as well as providing enrichment and involvement for St. Philip’s congregation and the Harlem community. To learn more about the Cultural committee, please contact Ms. Beverly Brown or Laurie Thornton. 

Health Ministry Team

The HMT Promotes Health and Wellness for parishioners, visitors and the community-at-large, through health education and illness prevention programs, as well as monthly hypertension monitoring. For more information on the HMT, please contact Ms. Cecilia Pennyfeather at 212-348-8109. 

St. Philip’s Integrity

St. Philip’s Integrity is a local partner of Integrity USA, the Episcopal Church’s ministry by and for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people and those who love and/or support them. If you are looking for a church home, we are here and you will feel not only safe but valued and included. For more information, see us on Facebook at or email us at 

Women’s Ministry

The mission of the Women’s Ministry is to foster togetherness in faith through programs of worship, service and hospitality. Throughout the year, they host various events such as Mardi Gras, Women’s Day, Father’s Day Recognition, and organizing for the Harlem AIDS Walk.


Community Outreach

Community OutreachOutreach Ministry

The Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church asks “will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” One of the ways in which we seek and serve Christ in all persons is through our outreach programs.

Ecclesia Ministries


Ecclesia Ministries

On a monthly basis, St. Philip’s serves as host church for the Ecclesia community in Marcus Garvey/Mt. Morris Park in Harlem. On these Sundays we gather to prepare lunch to be distributed after the Eucharist in the park, go to the park and celebrate the Holy Eucharist with everyone who shows up for the service, and then distribute the lunches to anyone who comes and requests one.

Prison Reentry Ministry

Typically on Thursday mornings, a group of St. Philip’s volunteers goes to the Harlem Community Justice Center to provide hospitality and conversation for those who are in the process of transitioning from prison back into the larger society.

In addition, St. Philip’s has also expanded its involvement in prison reentry ministry by acting as host site for the reentry program’s Speakers’ Bureau initiative.

Warriors of the Dream

The Warriors of the Dream project is aimed at forming a healing and transformative community of youth in Harlem, through dialogue, recreation, the arts and mentorship. The program welcomes all youth from elementary school to high school to participate and meets on Sundays in St. Philip’s undercroft, from 4pm – 6pm.

Senator Chuck Allen III Scholarship Fund

Established in 2008 in memory of the public service and parish activism of Chuck Allen, the Senator Chuck Allen III Scholarship annually distributes monies to high school seniors of color who desire to study accounting, law, political or urban studies or work in public management. Students must have a proven record of leadership and community activism as well as financial need. Students will be required to write a 1,000 word topic essay chosen by the selection committee. For more information on the scholarship and application, please visit


Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

St. Philip’s is a parish that fully supports and incorporates the arts and culture into the life of the parish as an active part of the life of faith. At various times during the year, St. Philip’s takes part in a wide array of arts and cultural events to enhance the lives and fellowship of our members. Some of these activities are specifically headed by the St. Philip’s Cultural Committee. In recent years, the parish has undertaken activities such as the following:

• Theater Outings

• Art exhibits (such as the work of Ernest Pujol in 2014)

• Panel Discussions on relevant topics to the culture (St. Philip’s hosted a panel discussion on African American men in Higher Education in 2014 as part of the annual Black History Month series)

• Special performances (St. Philip’s has hosted concerts and performance by various artists, most recently including a concert by the Gateway Orchestra)

• Annual African American Read-In (members of the parish read works of various African American literary artists

• Jazztree Concerts

Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care extends from times of great joy and excitement, to moments of profound crises and/or grief. St. Philip’s, through its pastoral team of clergy as well as trained lay ministers, provides pastoral support through pivotal moments and stages of life. Pastoral support includes baptisms, weddings, home and medical facility visits, and funerals and private pastoral counseling.


Although important, Holy Baptism is not only about making a public declaration of one’s desire and intention to follow the way of Jesus or a parent’s intention to raise their child in the Christian faith. Holy Baptism is also a sacrament (an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace, BCP p. 857) by which we, through water and the Holy Spirit, become adopted daughters and sons of God as we are made members in Christ’s body, the church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God (BCP p. 858).

All those desiring baptism for themselves or for their infant children should contact the church office in advance to set up time to receive educational instruction and preparation for this entry point into the Christian life.


Confirmation and reaffirmation are rites that area meant to help one renew commitments made during baptisms or made on their behalf by parents or others at baptism in the Baptismal Covenant. Confirmation is a declaration of faith and commitment to the Christian life made by someone who has already been baptized but who has now taken the decision for her or himself to follow the way of Jesus and will take the vows of the Baptismal Covenant her or himself. Reaffirmation is for those who have been baptized and confirmed but who, for any number of reasons, want to intentionally renew their commitment to living a Christian life through study and renewal of the Baptismal Covenant vows once again. Both confirmation and reaffirmation involve strengthening by the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a Bishop.

Reception is for those from other denominations who want to formally be received as members into the Episcopal Church. Anyone from another Christian church, if they have been baptized with water and in the name of the Trinity, may become a baptized member of the Episcopal Church by having their baptism duly recorded in this church. Moreover, persons baptized in other traditions may also be received by laying on of hands by a bishop, if such persons have also already made an adult affirmation of faith in their baptized traditions. If they have not, then those persons may be confirmed in this church.

Holy Matrimony (Weddings)

Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage in which a couple enters into a life-long union, takes their vows before God and the church, and receives the grace and blessing of God to fulfill their vows (BCP p. 861). If you and your significant other have discerned that Holy Matrimony is the Christian vocation to which you have been called, the clergy of St. Philip’s can help you explore and define that call in more depth and more clearly, in terms of its spiritual component.

Please contact the office of speak directly to a clergy person to schedule time for pre-marital consultation with a priest.


Notwithstanding a deep sense of joy and hope that Christians can have because of their faith, death often still brings about attendant feelings of grief and sadness for family and friends of those who have died. The church is here to assist with making arrangements for a funeral service. We will listen and work with you, including providing suggested scripture readings and hymns, to plan a burial service appropriate for your particular situation.

It is important to note that in the burial service both the life of the deceased as well as the presence of Jesus in that person’s life are being remembered. Please notify the church office as soon as possible of a loved one’s death to begin making the appropriate arrangements for a funeral or memorial service, which will be done in consultation with the church office.

Home and Healthcare Facility Visits

If you or a loved one has become sick or ill and cannot leave home or have been relocated to a healthcare facility (hospital, rehabilitation center, nursing home, etc.) and would like to receive a visit from clergy or trained and licensed lay member of the church, please call the church office to notify us. Both clergy and trained lay leaders are able to make visits, pray and distribute communion to those who are unable to come to church for communion or those who would like to be seen by and prayed for/with a member of the pastoral team.

Pastoral Counseling

If you are facing major life crisis or a difficult life circumstance, positive or negative, you may wish to speak with a priest for spiritual direction and/or guidance. St. Philip’s clergy would be happy to speak with you about matters great and seemingly small, even to refer you on for more specialized help when appropriate.

St. Philip’s Credit Union

St. Philip’s Credit Union

The St. Philip’s Credit Union was organized in 1951 to enable parishioners of  St. Philip’s Church to invest their savings and obtain credit on affordable terms. Responding to the difficulty faced by many African-Americans in saving or borrowing money at commercial banks, the founders of the Credit Union started the organization with only $100.

The Credit Union is a federally-chartered financial institution. All deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Over the years, the Credit Union has grown to over $1.5 million in assets. Its mission is to encourage thrift among its members, and to assist them in developing a sound financial understanding. Membership in the Credit Union is open to all members of St. Philip’s Church. Parishioners can earn competitive rates on their savings, and borrow at reasonable interest rates for a variety of purposes.

The Credit Union is affiliated with St. Philip’s Church, but is independently managed by a Board of Directors composed of eight members of the church. The Credit Union is open on Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

St. Philip’s Courtyard Garden

Courtyard GardenSt. Philip’s Courtyard Garden

The St. Philip’s courtyard garden is a peaceful oasis from the bustling sights and sounds of the city. Amidst trees and flowers, birds and squirrels the garden provides a additional variety of sanctuary to contemplate God’s loving nature and presence in the quiet stillness. The garden is a resource for all the community and access is granted weekdays during parish office hours as well as before, during and after Sunday worship services. You can schedule a special program or event in the garden by contacting the Parish Administrator.