St. Philips Moravian, North Carolina’s oldest African American church, to celebrate 200th anniversary

St. Philips Moravian Church

St. Philips Moravian, North Carolina’s  oldest African American church, to celebrate 200th anniversary
April 27
19:15 2022

Founded in 1822, St. Philips Moravian Church will be celebrating its 200th  anniversary on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. The celebration will feature music,  community speakers and a keynote address by Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby  Kimbrough. 

The congregation of St. Philips Moravian Church will be gathering in celebration of its 200th  anniversary. Founded in 1822, the church was founded as a place where enslaved and free people of African descent in the community of Salem could worship. Through the initial efforts of the  Female Missionary Society of the Moravian Church, St. Philips Moravian is the oldest African American church in North Carolina, and the first African American Moravian Church. 

During its 200-year history, St. Philips has not only been a fixture in our local history, but also in our  nation’s history. In May of 1865 a Union cavalry chaplain, Rev. Seth G. Clark, came to the church’s brick church location to announce Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves.

In the decades since, St. Philips has been active in communities across Winston-Salem. In 1952 the  congregation moved to the Happy Hill Garden area, where it remained until the construction of US 52 led to its move to Bon Air Avenue in 1967. In the 1990s, the congregation was involved with Old  Salem in the renovation of the brick church, which was originally constructed in 1861. In June of 2019, the congregation returned to the brick church location, where they currently worship. 

St. Philips Moravian Church will hold its Anniversary Celebration on May 1 at 3 p.m. and will  include: 

• Music performed by the Provincial Moravian Brass Band 

• Rev. Chris Thore, president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference  

• Keynote address by Bobby Kimbrough, Sheriff of Forsyth County 

For more information, contact Dorothy Pettus via email:; phone: 336-770-5933; website:; or on Facebook at

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