January 23: First Worship Service of the New Congregation (1842)

The initial services of the “Free Protestant Episcopal Mission Church,” as Epiphany was then called, were held on the morning and afternoon of Sunday, January 23, 1842 in Apollo Hall. This two-story building, located on the south side of E Street four doors west of 13th, could seat 300 or more people. When used for church purposes the minister preached from a desk, with a movable screen nearby, behind which he put on his robe. The principal secular uses of the hall were for debating and temperance society meetings, although occasionally it was used for less sedate attractions. In the new church the seats were free.


Within two weeks the rector could report to the Bishop of Maryland that both Sunday services and those on weekdays were well attended. On weekdays, there was a regular service on Tuesday and daily services during Lent. A choir of mixed voices led the singing, although with the aid of a tuning fork rather than a musical instrument. Six weeks after the first service, the bishop would make his first visit to the new congregation.

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