St. Andrew's In-The-Field Episcopal Church

500 SOMERTON AVENUE PHILADELPHIA, PA 19116
215-673-5938 standrews1898@aol.com


HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW'S

 
1897Bishop O. W. Whitaker, Bishop of Pennsylvania, gave his consent to the establishment of a Mission at Somerton. 

The Mission was started by John C. Lewis, layreader at St. Luke's, Bustleton under the Rev. S. F. Hotchkin, Rector. 

The first services were held on October 3, 1897 in the home of Mrs. Thomas Franklyn on Somerton Avenue. Ten people attended. 

The congregation increased to 35 people, which necessitated a larger place in which to worship. 

Mrs. Taylor, one of the members, offered Taylor Hall located on the Northeast corner of Bustleton Avenue and Byberry  Road as a meeting place. 

During the first year, the congregation had grown from ten to 61 persons. The total expenditures for the year were $35.64 and the yearly offering amounted to $261.91. 


  
1898On March 14, St. Luke's Vestry authorized John Lewis to collect money for a chapel. 

  
1899In August the Vestry of St. Luke's authorized Mr. Lewis to secure bids for a chapel. 

In October, Mr. Lewis resented plans from several builders. The plan of Mr. Albert Kuhn was accepted at the cost of $1180.00 for the erection and completion of the chapel. 

On Thursday, October 26 at 3 pm the laying cornerstone of St. Luke's Somerton Mission took place. 

Among the articles deposited in the cornerstone were copies of the Philadelphia daily papers, a copy of the Frankford Herald, a list of contributors to the building fund, a history of the Mission and historical events of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 

 
 
 Original St. Andrew's chapel. Today it houses the Somerton Food Bank
 
 
 
 
1900
On Sunday, January 14, the Chapel of St. Andrew's-in-the-Field was opened for services. The name was selected by the layreader, John C. Lewis. "In-the-Field" was added because the Chapel was surrounded by fields. 

One of the most faithful members  was Mrs. Strawhacker. She cut wood and started the fire on Sunday morning so the Chapel would be warm for the services. She also cleaned the Chapel. 

 


  

1907On Sunday, July 7, a new Sunday School addition to the rear of the Chapel was dedicated. Due to the non arrival of the oil lamps, the evening service had to be canceled. 


  

1912The Rev. S. F. Hotchkin, Rector of St. Luke Bustleton and St. Andrew's Somerton died on August 1. 


 
  

1915 to 1945The fortunes of the Mission fluctuated as the degree of attention the rectors of St. Luke's and students of the Philadelphia Divinity School were able to devote to it. Services were held only at scattered intervals during many years of this period. 


 
  

1947The population growth following World War II brought a number of Episcopal families into the Somerton area. They petitioned Bishop Hart to have the Chapel used for regularly scheduled services. The Bishop prevailed upon St. Luke's and regular services were begun in late 1947 by the Rev. John Weber, assisted by a layreader assigned by the Bishop, Mr. Christopher Weill. Robert Ballantine served as Acolyte. 

 

 

1948Our first Church School sessions began in February 1948 with 39 children. 

Alter Guild was formed and directed by Edith Winslow. 

 

 

1949Chapel Committee was formed. 

Chairman - George Bertolet
Treasurer - William Mason
Secretary - Lester Bailey

Members - Herbert Ricker, John Sellers, Edith and William Winslow,
Elsie and George Drexler, John Lewis, Elsie Lott and Arno Sudiek

First fall festival was held. Profit of $500 was more money than any local church ever raised.

The St. Andrew branch of the Girls' Friendly Society held its first meeting on January 28 with 20 girls present. Mrs. Herbert Ricker was in charge of this group.

The Somerton Boys Club met every Monday. This group was open to all boys from 6 to 12 years of age. Mrs. G. Drexler and Mrs. N. McBride were regular helpers with other mothers helping when possible. Mr. Gilmore sponsored the Older Boys Club for ages 12 to 17 years.

A Junior Choir was started for children at least eight years old. Mrs. William Winslow was the Choir mother.

The Women's Guild of St. Andrew's was formed.

First Church dinner was held.

The annual Budget for 194 was $1800.

 

 

1951In July, the Diocese took over the Mission from St. Luke's and assigned a full-time Viscar, the Rev. F. Lee Richards, and appropriated $55,000 for a building and furnishings.

Annual Budget increased to $2,085.33.

Everyone at St. Andrew's had a part in increasing the building fund. "Penny a Meal" banks and dime cards were distributed. The women of the Church arranged suppers, the Boys Clubs and Girls' Friendly sold candy and Christmas cards. Mr. Winslow and his son collected newspapers and scrap and sold it. Even refunds on empty soda bottles were added to the fund.

Due to the growth of St. Andrew's a revised schedule of services was begun in September. The services were Holy Communion at 8 AM., Church School and family service at 9:30 AM and service of Morning Prayer and sermon at 11:00 AM.

A new electric organ was donated to the Church.

At the meeting of the Mission Committee on September 18, plans were discussed for the building of a new church. Mr. Roland T. Addis ws chosen to draw up the plans for the church building.

 

 

Fr. Hoover as rector

In 1980, St Andrew's experienced a devastating fire and roof collapse. Dedication and hard work built it back and it became better than ever!