Absalom Jones, first African American ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church (1804). Celebration of his 2017 feast day at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Phoenix, AZ

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About Absalom Jones

Celebrate with us! We are commemorating the feast of Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American and formerly enslaved person to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1808.

After the constitutional deadline for abolition of the slave trade passed, Jones joined the first group of black Americans to petition Congress. Their petition criticized the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act for encouraging cruelty and brutality, and for supporting criminal practices of kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery.

Fr. Jones drafted a petition on behalf of four freed slaves asking Congress to adopt “some remedy for an evil of such magnitude." In his time, Absalom Jones was well known for his remarkable skills as an orator and writer. Today, we remember his witness and continue to pray for peace, reconciliation, and justice among all people.

+ "Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."