Sunday, April 6, 2014

Communion Token from Old Pine Church in Philadelphia

Here is another CT from Baltimore.
     I was not planning on taking any American CTs home, but this one was attractive. The heart is bold on a plain field with the flames of the Holy Spirit at top.
     The token is cataloged as Bason-320 and is attributed to  the Third Presbyterian Church, also called "Old Pine" for the street name. Burzinski lists and pictures two varieties of the type as BZ5647 and BZ5648. In addition, he copied Bason's note that a newer issue exists that was used for a commemorative service in 1958. A friend of mine showed me a new one a while back that looked fresher with more even edges.
     My token looks like BZ5648 as the heart is smaller and in higher relief. So is my CT a new or old one? I will have to examine my friend's piece again to find out. Maybe you know the answer -- let me know if you have info about the two varieties.
     The Old Pine church was built in 1768. It was a fine brick building, but a major renovation in the mid-1800s transformed the old Georgian facade into a magnificent Greek Revival edifice with a  porch and Corinthian columns. The brick was covered with stucco and painted white.
     Early pastors included Dr. Francis Alison (from the First PC) and Samuel Aitkin. The latter preached at the church until 1771 when a scandal urged him to leave his post -- apparently, his new wife gave birth only six months after they were married!
     George Duffield was called to minister next. He had been hired by Alison earlier to convert the Indians along the frontier -- his missionary work took him far into the Ohio territory. Duffield was a strong supporter of American independence and often shared his political views from the pulpit. He left the church during the war and was appointed Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Militia. He was also co-Chaplain of the Continental Congress. The church itself was desecrated during the conflict: it served as a hospital, and later a stable, by occupying royal forces.
     The church was repaired and enlarged in 1857. This was when the facade was transformed into the Greek Revival style. Thomas Brainerd was the pastor at the time. He became popular as an anti-slavery activist.
     As you can imagine, Old Pine PC is a popular tourist attraction for all its history.
     So when was this CT first used? Add in if you know.

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