In August, 1873, the Weldon Sunday School in the Community Hall of the Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid was started for summer attendance. This hall had been built during the Civil War on Plank Road (now Easton) on the site where the present Parish House now stands. The Hall was first occupied September 20, 1864 for the purpose of sewing, bandage making, cloth collecting and cooking for the men in hospitals during the Civil War.
As the school seemed to grow, people showed interest in having a church in the Weldon area. The only other Episcopal Church in the nearby area was the Church of Our Savior in Jenkintown. So an agreement was made by two unrelated men, Mr. Russell Smith and Mr. Thomas Smith, who also lived in the area in the summer months. Mr. Thomas Smith gave the money to build a frame church and Mr. Russell Smith gave the land which was just north of the Community Hall.
The building of the church was begun in July 1881, and completed by the first of December, 1881. The first service was held Christmas Day, 1881, at 3:00 p.m. The Sunday School met thereafter at regular intervals with a service and celebration of the Holy Communion once each month in the afternoon.
Since the church was small and had insufficient membership to sustain it, it was held in ownership by the Diocese of Pennsylvania and was known as the Bishop’s Chapel. As the area grew, the church congregation grew. Weldon became known as Glenside-Weldon and now Glenside. In 1952, after a number of vicars had led the small, and at times struggling, congregation, the church had grown so substantially it joined the Diocese as an incorporated congregation. At that time, the Vicar, always appointed by the Bishop, became the first Rector of the St. Peter’s Church. This was the Reverend Robert Nelson Back. Our current minister, the Reverend Emily Barr Richards is the 6th Rector to serve the congregation.
In 2015 the Vestry of St. Peter's and the Vestry of St. Philip-in-the-Fields, an Episcopal parish a few miles down the road, began an intentional process to discern whether God was calling these two communities to join in ministry and mission together. In this process we discovered that in 1945 when a group of women had asked Bishop Hart and the Diocese of Pennsylvania to develop a mission in the growing suburb of Oreland, he went to the Rector of St. Peter's, the Rev. Dr. Copeland and the Vestry to support this endeavor. The first service of St. Philip-in-the-Fields took place on Sunday, February 14, 1945 at the Oreland Fire House presided over by the Rev. Dr. Copeland.
On May 20, 2017, Trinity Sunday, the people of St. Philip-in-the-Fields rejoined its Mother Church bringing with them their people, their resources and their sacred objects. With each passing season the two communities are knit more deeply in fellowship, love and service for the sake of building up God's kingdom.
The world changes and so do we as we strive to meet the needs and challenges of our time and place. Together with our expanding church family, we eagerly embrace the future …
“Rooted in love, growing through God’s grace, and reaching out to all.”