Saint Mary's Church, Hamilton Village

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St. Mary’s Church, Hamilton Village, is an Episcopal Church located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It calls itself the Episcopal Church at Penn to emphasize its campus ministry. The parish is part of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

The church is a remnant of the Hamilton Village neighborhood that existed in West Philadelphia prior to being subsumed by the University. The land was given to the church by the Hamilton family for whom the town was named.

Background

Founded in the early 19th century to serve as a summer congregation for Philadelphians who were vacationing west of the Schuylkill River, it soon had year-round services. The current building dates from 1872 and the parish hall from 1896. During the mid-19th century the parish became a focal point for the Anglo-Catholic movement, which the Rector and congregation supported. More recently, St. Mary's played a leading role in supporting African-American civil rights, the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era, women's ordination within the Episcopal Church, and the lesbian/gay community's quest for full acceptance.

The former rector, John Scott, was known for having performed an exorcism of the Philadelphia campaign headquarters of Richard Nixon. In the 1970s the parish was host to the local chapter of IntegrityUSA, immediately after the chapter's founding, and before the chapter moved to Center City. Due to its proximity to the Philadelphia Divinity School (which has now merged with Episcopal Divinity School and closed its facilities in Philadelphia), many seminarians often attended services here in the days immediately preceding the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven and the eventual admission of women to the priesthood in 1976.

The parish hall houses a nursery school, and the sanctuary is often used for concerts. The Rev. James H. Littrell is the Rector and the Episcopal Chaplain to the University of Pennsylvania.