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Today the church remembers Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818.Pastor Absalom Jones was reared a domestic slave on a plantation in Delaware. His charm, wit, and sincerity gained for him the affection of all who knew him. He was able to save enough pennies, given to him as tips, to purchase for himself a primer, a spelling book, and a New Testament. This was the beginning of an insatiable quest for knowledge which was to occupy much of his life. When he was sixteen years old his mother, five brothers, and one sister were sold, and he was taken to Philadelphia with his master. The more stimulating environment of the city, added to a desire to correspond with his mother, resulted in an intensified effort to learn. He went to night school and also studied theology under Bishop William White (see July 17), from whom he eventually received holy orders. He married, bought a house and land, and finally, at age thirty-seven,he was granted his freedom. Finding that Philadelphia"s “white” churches were not truly open to him or his people, he founded the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. He was an exemplary pastor and an able student of Holy Scripture and human nature. He had found Our Lord and in his Name had overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Jones bore witness, with his life, to the truth that all people are bearers of God"s image. Give us strength to overcome those things that separate us, Lord Christ, that we may see your likeness in all people. Amen.
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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.