To the applause and cheers of the crowd, L.A. Councilwoman Jan Perry unveiled the sign identifying St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church as Cultural Historic Monument number 987.
During a ceremony on March 21, Councilwoman Perry said, “The distinctive architecture and iconic history made St. Philip a natural fit for monument designation. It can trace its earliest worship services to 1907 and count among its members some of the most influential people in the Black community.
“It became the first African American congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and today at 105 years old, is the oldest, historically African American parish still standing west of the Mississippi River. The church building has stood at this corner since its dedication on June 23, 1929.”
The celebrated architect Paul R. Williams was a St. Philip’s member and also designed and oversaw construction of the church’s parish hall.
Many of those present at Thursday’s ceremony could trace their lineage in the church. They included Public Works Commissioner Valerie Lynne Shaw who came with her 92 year old mother, Mrs. Ann Shaw.
Recounting her childhood baptism at St. Philip’s, Shaw said, “I feel like I’m returning home.” She and Perry collaborated to make the designation possible.
The Rev. Dr. Glenn M. Libby, priest in charge; Roy Salmon, senior warden; Darryl Delgardo, junior warden; Robert Williams, Diocese communications director and Gil Smith, former mayor of Carson and life-long member; also participated in the ceremony.
St. Philip is located at 2800 Stanford Avenue in Los Angeles. Sunday services are conducted in English at 10:30 a.m. and Spanish at 9 a.m.