The present church building designed by Vertner Woodson Tandy, the first African American registered architect in New York, was dedicated on March 25, 1911 and was granted landmark status on July 15, 1991.
In 1933, Shelton Hale Bishop became the fifth rector succeeding his father. Dr. Hutchens Chew Bishop. During the tenure of Dr. Bishop and Fr. Bishop, St. Philip's became a force for social change by providing housing in the beginning of the twentieth century, opening Camp Guilford Bower in 1927, coordinating relief and counseling services during the Depression and opening the first psychotherapy clinic, the Lafargue Clinic.
The clinic opened in 1945 as a collaboration among Fr. Bishop,
Dr. Frederic Wertham, a psychiatrist, and
author Richard Wright. Dr. Wertham and a staff of twenty-five provided psychiatric counseling to anyone for 25 cents per session.
By the mid 1950's, the clinic served an average of sixty people per week. By the mid 1950's, the clinic served an average of sixty people per week. By the end of Rev. Shelton Bishop's time of service, the congregation had grown to 4,000.
In 1957, Dr. M. Moran Weston became the sixth rector. During the next 25 years, he continued the tradition of social activism. He further expanded the church's role in providing affordable housing by opening non-profit developments such as St. Philips on the Park (St. Nicholas Avenue and 134th Street), and Senior House (133rd Street between Adam Clayton Powell and Fredrick Douglass Boulevards). He also led the redevelopment of St. Philip's Community Center/Parish House Complex
In 1985, Fr. Chester L. Talton became the seventh rector of St. Philip's. In 1990, Fr. Talton was elected Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles, CA.
It was not until 1998 that St. Philip's called Rev. E. Roland Clemons as its eighth rector. His service with St. Philip's was dissolved in 2002.
From 2002 to 2012, St. Philip's spiritual and administrative leadership went through a succession of interim priests and priests-in-charge. We thank Rev. Howard E. Blunt, the Rev. Cecily Broderick y Guerra, and Rev. Rhonda J. Rubinson for shepherding us during this period.
In June 2012, Fr. Keith Johnson came to St. Philip's as our Priest-In-Charge. In 2014 he was called as our ninth rector. During Fr. Johnson's time with St. Philip's, he was becoming a force in the community with the Prison Outreach Ministry, and his concentration on youth. Through Warriors of the Dream, a diocese-sponsored drumming initiative as well as his ease with talking with people, he was on the cusp of leading St. Philip's toward renewal. In 2015 Fr. Johnson
Fr. Johnson was called home and St. Philip’s began the search for a new rector.
St. Philip’s now moves towards a phase of renewal with its tenth Rector, The Reverend Canon Terence Alexander Lee, M.Div. Fr. Lee looks forward to his ministry in Harlem with great anticipation for what God will do to manifest God’s glory!
In the meantime, St. Philip's vestry continued to be active in the Anti-Slavery Society and its political wing, the Liberty Society. In 1845, Vestryman James McCune Smith and Alexander Elston sought and were denied admission to the Diocesan Convention. The motion to admit St. Philip's was voted down or tabled every subsequent year until 1853.
During 1856-1857, the church was moved from Centre Street to Mulberry Street. The militia used the church as barracks during the draft riots of July 1863,
In 1865, Elizabeth W. Thompson became organist and choirmaster. During her tenure, she enlisted African American singer and composer William Appo, and lead soprano Madam Keeble, to integrate the choir with men and women. She revived the music school at St. Philip's.
Thirty-two years later, St. Philip's called its second rector, William Johnson Alston, on May 14, 1872. Unfortunately, he died two years later on May 26, 1874. After a short search, Joseph Sandford Atwell was called and became the third rector on February 9, 1875. He died on October 8, 1881. The next search ushered in the Bishop family dynasty. In 1886, Dr. Hutchens Chew Bishop became the fourth rector.
Aware of the changing demographics of New York, Dr. Bishop led the relocation of the church from Mulberry Street to 161 West 25th Street in mid-Manhattan in 1889. Also recognizing the need for affordable housing in the African American community, Dr. Bishop purchased residential buildings in
Harlem on 135th Street between Seventh and Lenox Avenues. He also purchased the properties on 133rd and 134th Streets where the church now stands.