St. Mary’s, Hamilton Village, is the Episcopal Church at the University of Pennsylvania. We have been faithfully following Christ since 1824, sharing the Good News in our city and on campus. We are an inter-generational community serving as both a neighborhood parish and a campus chaplaincy, committed to the full respect for and the inclusion of all people in every aspect of our worship. Single or coupled, of every race or ethnicity, every gender, every sexual orientation, every age, every “station” and class, everyone at St. Mary’s is engaged in liturgy together. No matter where you are on your journey of faith, we hope that you will join us!
Just as our worship is shaped by the beauty of the historic sanctuary where we celebrate the mass, who we are as a congregation is informed by our history as well as our faith. St. Mary’s was at the forefront of racial integration in the Episcopal Church and in Philadelphia, advocated early and strongly for the inclusion of women in leadership positions in the church and the ordained ministry, and later was the first venue in Philadelphia for lesbian and gay religious advocacy organizations in the church, as well as being the first safe gathering place for lesbian and gay youth in the city. For four years in the 1960s, our tower provided sanctuary to Vietnam War resisters. As an early response to the AIDS epidemic, we founded a respite center for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. A recent survey of worshipers at St. Mary’s indicated that radical hospitality and openness are central to our identity and community.
This hospitality is felt through our Sunday Eucharist, and through other communal meals like our monthly Third Sunday Potluck Brunches, Fat Tuesday pancake supper, and coffee hour after worship. At the altar and in our fellowship, Christ is present. All who come into our doors are fed and given the strength to feed others. Named for the Blessed Virgin, mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we strive to honor our namesake and our God by extending love, compassion, and mercy to all. A radical welcome means that all people, whether homeless, severely poor, disabled, or otherwise “outside” society, are joyfully welcomed into our fellowship. Our commitment to inclusion, diversity, and social justice in Jesus’ name continues today. Our members, occasional and regular worshipers, participants in our outreach efforts, and those of our mission partners, are drawn from the University City community, students, faculty, and employees of Penn and other local institutions, as well as Greater Philadelphia. You are welcome here!