On February 13, the church celebrates the feast day of the Rev. Absalom Jones, who, in 1804, became the Episcopal Church’s first African American ordained priest. Jones co-founded the Free African Society in 1787, a nondenominational mutual-aid society designed to assist freed slaves. By 1791, the Society had evolved into the African Church, which was received into the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania in 1794. The diocese renamed the church St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church, and it became the first black Episcopal parish in the United States – and remains an active parish today.