Reverend Canon Thomas Wilson Stearly Logan Sr. was the oldest serving African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, USA.
Father Logan died May 2, 2012. He was 100.
He was born in Philadelphia on March 19, 1912. The son of a minister and a teacher, Logan was one of eight siblings to graduate from college. Education and achievement were very important in the Logan family.
After graduating from Central High School for Boys, he attended Johnson C. Smith University and later graduated from Lincoln University in 1935 with a bachelor’s degree. Three years later, he earned a bachelor of sacred theology from General Theological Seminary in New York City, and in 1941 received a master of scared theology from Philadelphia Divinity School (now Episcopal School). Over the years, Logan also received five honorary doctorates from Lincoln University, Hampton University and St. Augustine’s College.
In 1938, he married Hermione Hill at St. Simon of Cyrenian Church in South Philadelphia. The ceremony was officiated by his father, Rev. John R. Logan Sr., and his brother, Rev. John R. Logan Jr.
From this union one son was born, Rev. Father Thomas W.S. Logan Jr., who died in 2011.
“They are certainly the couple of longevity,” Michael Nutter said as he reflected on the Logans during a birthday celebration held for Hermione Hill Logan in March 2011 at City Council chambers.
“Father Logan is the oldest African-American priest in the country. His service has been quite incredible and Mrs. Logan has been with him every step along the way. They really are quite an incomparable pair, but their service to the community, to the nation, and I would suggest to the world, has really been something to admire. Any one of us should hope to do so much, and live so long.”
Logan devoted more than 73 years of his life to the Episcopal Church. He spent his dedicated ministry serving on commissions and community groups as well as in parochial leadership. He was ordained as a deacon in June 1938 in the Diocese of Pennsylvania at Holy Apostles Church. The following year, he advanced to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia. He served as curate at St. Phillips Church in New York City from 1938 to 1939; vicar at St. Augustine’s Chapel in Yonkers from 1938 to 1939; and vicar and rector at St. Michael’s and All Angels Church in Philadelphia from 1940 to 1945. At St. Michael’s, Logan worked successfully to eliminate the church’s debt during his first 12 months there. As its first rector, Logan helped quadruple the church’s membership in less than five years.
In 1945, Logan helped merge Calvary Monumental Church with St. Michael’s Church, creating one of Philadelphia’s first interracial congregations. He was elevated to rector at Calvary Church Northern Liberties in Philadelphia, where he served until his retirement in 1984, when he was bestowed the title of rector emeritus at Calvary Church.
He also served as interim priest for five Philadelphia parishes, associate priest at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, and chaplain of Philadelphia’s Presbyterian and Misericordia
hospitals and the Philadelphia Police Department.
Logan has also served the church in a number of other leadership roles, including delegate to the Anglican Conference in Cape Town, South Africa; member of the Restitution Fund Commission; past president of the Homeless Fund; member of the Diocesan Council; a founder of the National Conference of Black Episcopalians; past president of the National Workers Conference USA; member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and life member of the Union of Black Episcopalians.
Logan has been a visionary leader in various fraternal and civic organizations locally and nationally. He is a past Most Worshipful Grandmaster of the Prince Hall Masonry of Pennsylvania; Imperial Chaplain of the Shrine of North America; former president of the Hampton University Ministries Conference; Exalted Ruler of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World and international chaplain, Frontiers International.
He was a member of Sigma Pi Phi (Boule.) He was also celebrated as the longest serving and oldest living member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., becoming a member in 1933.
His extraordinary contributions to the City of Philadelphia and region go far beyond that of a parish rector. He is past president of the Tribune and Rafters’ Charities and was one of the founders of the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Committed to equity, opportunity and active in the local and national work for social and economic justice, Logan was a life member of the NAACP, and former board member of branches in Philadelphia and Darby, Pa. In the early 1960s, he was active with the National Baptist Convention and collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr. in organizational and fundraising efforts in Philadelphia to support civil rights strategies.
Logan’s service to humanity and community leadership has been recognized by countless awards and citations from church, education, fraternal and community organizations nationwide.
His family said he has served God, church and community with conviction, valor, dignity, unwavering faith and unparalleled commitment.
He is survived by his wife, Hermione Hill Logan; brother, Leonard Logan; sister, Phyllis Logan Simms; grandchildren, Lisa Logan Leach, Thomas W.S. Logan III, Jina Simmons, Kaia Jacobi and Sherry Logan; great-grandchildren, Lionel Anthony Leach III, Angel Fowlkes, Zoey Simmons, Naiomi Fowlkes; daughters-in-law, Brenda Moore Logan and Karol Logan; and other relatives and friends.
The first viewing will be held May 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Avenue. The second viewing will be held May 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 3723 Chestnut Street. Mass will follow at 11. Burial will be in Eden Cemetery, Collingdale, Pa.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Last Sunday morning the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas was packed with church members and people eager to hear the word of God and to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Rev. Canon Thomas Wilson Stearly Logan Sr. (Father Logan).
Located at 6361 Lancaster Ave., the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, known to be the first Black Episcopal Church in the United States — founded in 1792 — was filled to capacity last Sunday. With an overflow in the sanctuary, the church accommodated additional seating with a big screen and live feed of the service in a room nearby.
The vibrant service incorporated a celebration of Father Logan’s life. The service opened with a hymn, followed by readings, prayers, songs and a sermon delivered by Father Logan and the Rt. Rev. Allen Bartlett, a retired bishop.
The congregation laughed and clapped as Father Logan shared personal stories and led a prayer. Sporting a smile, Father Logan concluded the prayer comically saying, “I’m finished.”
Gwen Cottman Winfield has been a member of the church for more than 60 years. It’s where she was married and where her children were christened and baptized. As a longtime member, she was excited to celebrate Father Logan’s 100th birthday.
“This is my church and Father Logan is so comical — he says what he wants and he has such a wonderful personality,” Winfield said. “He really gave words of encouragement today.”
As the service continued, various guests gave remarks in honor of Father Logan. The speakers were; The Rev. Angela Ifill, missioner, Office of Black Ministries of the Episcopal Church, Mr. Bert Jones, national vice president, The Union of Black Episcopalians, The Rev. Herman “Skip” Mason, general president, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., “The Honorable Most Worshipful Grand Master” Leonard A. Heard, Prince Hall Masons and Darrell Tiller and Bettie Jones, co-chairs of the Logan 100’s birthday celebration committee.
Each speaker shared personal stories and ways Father Logan has made an influential impact. As a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. since 1933, Father Logan received a warm embrace from the general president and brothers of the organization. They presented him with the “Distinguished King Medallion.” Rev. Mason noted this is the third time this medallion has been awarded.
“It is my honor to place upon you this distinguished metal with the emblem of Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on it and also the wonderful words of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity,” the Rev. Mason said as he presented Father Logan with the medallion.
Among the many other organizations Father Logan was involved in, he has also served as Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonry of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Heard presented him with an award for his involvement and dedication in honor of the Prince Hall Masons.
Born 100 years ago, Father Logan has touched many lives through his ministry and devotion to the Episcopal Church for more than 75 years. He was ordained to the diaconate, a rank of a deacon, in 1938 and to the priesthood the following year. He had various leadership roles in organizations including, Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, Anglican Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, the Homeless Fund and National Church Workers Conference U.S.A. Father Logan was active in various charities and was one of the founders of the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
After earning his Bachelor of Sacred Theology at Lincoln University in 1935, he received his Master of Sacred Theology from Philadelphia Divinity School in 1941. Later on, he received two honorary doctorates and completed doctorates in divinity and theology. He received the title of Rector Emeritus of Calvary Church upon his retirement in 1984.
Father Logan gave thanks to the congregation and to all that spoke and participated in celebrating his birthday that morning. Everyone rose to their feet and sang “Happy Birthday” to Father Logan.
“This is a great honor to have so many people come out to St. Thomas Church to honor a man who is 100 years old,” Father Logan said. “God is my savior and advocator and I believe in Jesus Christ — he’s taking care of me.”
The Rev. Fr. Isaac Bonney, assistant rector, has been with the church for seven years. Rev. Bonney felt the service and celebration was full of love that morning.
“The spirit was lively, and it was wonderful to see an overflow of people to celebrate a man of his stature,” he said. “Of course Father Logan is always Father Logan — lively at any place he’s at.”
As the service concluded, Father Logan joined by his family and wife Hermione Logan, who is 101 years old, posed for photographs before they were escorted to the reception next door. The church gathered to break bread and continue the birthday celebration with Father Logan, his wife and family.
If you are a Lincoln University alumnus and happen to be fortunate to receive a Dr. Frank “Tick” Coleman Award, then you have been given a very special honor. The Alumni Association of Lincoln University, Philadelphia Chapter, will be presenting the 10th annual Dr. Frank “Tick” Coleman Awards luncheon on Saturday, April 21. The event begins at noon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield.
This year’s honorees have achieved success professionally, in their community and in their personal lives. The recipients will be Rev. Thomas W.S. Logan Sr., Dr. Walter D. Chambers, Dr. Lenetta R. Lee, Cyrus Jones and Dr. Judith Thomas.
Coleman was an absolute legend. He was a great football player at Central High School. He was the first African-American quarterback to play for the Lancers. He guided Central to two straight Public League championships in 1929 and 1930. He was named to the city’s All-Scholastic football team.
Coleman played quarterback for Lincoln University from 1931 to 1935. He was a major reason why Lincoln University brought football back after a 48-year absence.
He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He grew up in South Philadelphia in the 1920s. In junior high school, he became a member of the Boy Scouts. Through hard work and dedication, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor in scouting.
He graduated from Lincoln University in 1935 and received a master’s degree from the Penn School of Social Work in 1959. Coleman spent 32 years as a counselor in the School District of Philadelphia. In 1981, he retired from the school district. Coleman was the director of alumni relations from 1981 to 1988. He also spent 10 years as a member of Lincoln University’s board of trustees.
He passed away on December 25, 2008, at the age of 97. Coleman’s legacy lives on with his alumni awards and scholarships. The tickets for the luncheon cost $50.00 per person. All proceeds will benefit students of Lincoln University through the Archie Goodwin Jr. Financial Aid Fund.
The second annual Philadelphia Tribune’s Christopher J. Perry/Carter G. Woodson Black History Awards Luncheon served as both a notable learning experience and networking opportunity for the 400 guests this week at the venerable Union League. Daniel J. Hilferty Jr., President/CEO, Independence Blue Cross and Michael A. Rashid, president/CEO, AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies co-hosted the informative program covering key points in Philadelphia's African-American history.
The Philadelphia Tribune was established in 1884 by Christopher J. Perry (1854-1920), a pioneering Black businessman who championed racial equality. The Tribune is recognized as the oldest continuously published African American newspaper in the nation.
Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950) launched Negro History Week in 1926 as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of Black people throughout American history. Since 1976, the week has expanded to Black History Month.
“We celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the NAACP, the 107th anniversary of Bright Hope Baptist Church, the 100th anniversary of the Seventh Day Adventists at 15th and Christian Streets and the 128th anniversary of The Philadelphia Tribune,” said Robert W. Bogle, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune.
“Black History Month, which started out as a week, and is now a month and I'd like to suggest that every day is a Black history day in Philadelphia and in the United States of America,” remarked Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Let us never forget our past, nor the expectation of a glorious future ahead of us for African Americans.”
Founded during the Civil War in 1862, the Union League's mission was to highlight the policies of Abraham Lincoln. During the latter decades of the 20th century, the League resolved its issues with minorities and women, and now boasts a diverse membership. It was a matter that keynote speaker speaker, H. Patrick Swygert, President Emeritus Howard University, recalled from his boyhood days in the city. “Kater Street was not six and a half blocks from Lincoln Hall here in the Union League, it was a universe away, because the idea and the notion that we might have the opportunity to meet today to enjoy each other's company and celebrate what is good about this great nation was unthinkable when I was a youngster in South Philadelphia,” said Swygert.
“The honorees today have made significant history, not only in our city, but in the nation,” said Rashid as Bogle presented History Makers Awards Episcopal Reverend Canon Thomas W. S. Logan, Pulitzer prize winning newspaper columnist Acel Moore and Radio One co-founder Cathy Hughes.
Father Logan, who is just weeks away from his 100th birthday, demonstrated his longevity when he spoke of horse drawn buggies circling City Hall. Moore reflected his longtime news roots: “Being able to live some of the history that has been announced today is significant. In the past few weeks, though, there have been some history makers that have gone too soon, from Fatimah Ali, to Whitney Houston, to others not as well know but to many of us as equally precious.” A visibly touched Hughes credited the Delaware Valley region as an important start to her career. “I'm grateful,” said Hughes as she held her award. “I'm honored. I live in DC, but I'm a Philadelphia girl.”
Hermione Hill-Logan, an educator, mother, and the supportive wife of the late Rev. Canon Thomas Wilson Stearly Logan Sr., the oldest serving African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, USA, died on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. She was 101.
She was born in Manassas, Va. on March 16, 1911, the second of six daughters, to Dr. Leslie Pinckney Hill, a renowned educator, author, poet, dramatist, community leader and first president of Cheyney State University, and his wife, Jane Ethel Clark, a teacher and counselor at Tuskegee Institute with Booker T. Washington. She was described in her late father’s poem, “Melrose at Christmas” as “Hermione with a heart of gold.”
Hill-Logan graduated from West Chester High School in West Chester, Pa., Cheyney State College with a Bachelor’s degree and Columbia University with a Master’s degree in home economics in 1929, 1933 and 1939, respectively. In 1933, Hill-Logan began teaching home economics at Frederick Douglass Junior High School and worked as the school dietitian for more than 39 years.
“She was truly a class act,” said niece Anita Trotman. “She was an educated, intelligent, loving Christian woman. She was concerned about the community and the quality of life for all people, particularly those in underserved communities. She was reciting her father’s poetry up until the end.”
In 1938, Hill-Logan married the love of her life, the late Father Logan, at St. Simon of Cyrenian Church in South Philadelphia. Their ceremony was officiated by the groom’s father, the late Rev. John R. Logan Sr. and his brother, the late Rev. John R. Logan Jr.
Father Logan died on May 2, 2012. They were married for 72 years. The couple had one son, the late Rev. Thomas Logan Jr., who died in 2011.
“Their love story was just remarkable,” Trotman said. “In their times, marriages were made to last. They knew each for five years prior to getting married, because Father Logan was in seminary. She waited for him. During their marriage, they supported and loved each other. She ran a lovely home and raised a son with love. Family meant everything to her.”
In her spare time, Hill-Logan liked painting. She served as president of the social group Las Simpaticas and was a member of the Frontier’s Womens Yokettes. She was a long-time member and president of St. Michael’s Guild at Calvary Episcopal Northern Liberties.
She is survived by her sisters Mary Tucker, 95, of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. and Elleanor Valentine, 104, of Washington D.C.; five sister-in-laws, one brother-in-law, five grandchildren, four great-grand children, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Services will be held Oct. 24 for Hermione H. Logan.
Logan was an educator, mother and wife of the late Rev. Canon Thomas Wilson Stearly Logan Sr. the oldest serving African American priest in the Episcopal Church, USA.
She died Oct. 14, 2012. She was 101.
Services will be held Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. at Calvary St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 814 N. 41st St.
In lieu of flowers, gifts Logan’s name can be made to the St. Michael’s Guild at Calvary St. Augustine Episcopal Church or to the Alumni Association of Cheyney University for scholarships,through the director of Alumni Affairs, Gregory Benjamin, P.O. Box 200, Cheyney, PA 19319.
DeBaptiste Funeral Homes, Inc. handled the arrangements.