The Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation (HGDPC) was established to fund, support, and supervise the restoration, renovation, and ongoing maintenance of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church buildings, grounds, and graveyard so that future generations may share in this historic and architectural treasure.

Great Talks at Gloria Dei

These free lectures take place inside the Gloria Dei sanctuary. After the lectures, join us for refreshments with our guest speakers inside Riverside Hall.

Digitizing the Records

Digitizing the Records of Philadelphia’s Historic Congregations

When: Weds, Oct. 23, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

Carol W. Smith will provide an overview of an exciting project which brings together the records of 11 of Philadelphia’s oldest congregations including Gloria Dei in one unified website.  She will discuss the background of the project, what is still to come and how to best use this website for all types of research from genealogical to social history.

Carpenters' Company

Rocks and Nails: The Carpenters’ Company and Religious Buildings in Early Philadelphia

When: Weds, Nov. 13, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

Alex Palma, Assistant Director of Carpentersʻ Hall, will discuss the Companyʼs role in building the religious landscape of colonial and early federal Philadelphia. Alex will also touch on some of the preservation work being done on these churches and other churches in Old Philadelphia by Carpenters’ Company member firms.

Civil War

William Penn Meant Well … Or Blame It On the Irish

When: Weds, Jan. 22, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

Jim Mundy, Historian of The Union League Legacy Foundation, will explore the political and social history of the city before the war, and the creation of the Union League as a patriotic social society during the war.

Other Events

Proceeds from these fundraisers will be used to fund the repair and painting of the church and steeple and will be 100% matched by our Keystone Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Beef and Beer

Beef, Beer and Ben Franklin

When: Nov. 1, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Riverside Hall

Rain or Shine!  On Friday, Nov. 1st, join us for a family-friendly event featuring beef, beer and a little local history.

Historical Research

Our historians are writing biographical sketches on our “permanent residents.” Here you will learn about the people buried in our churchyard.

Capt. Charles Sandgran

The inscription on Capt. Charles Sandgran’s headstone is now obliterated. But, a century ago, it was possible to read this terrible pronouncement: “the earth and the sea shall give up their dead.”

Capt. Robert Rae

A large obelisk commemorating the life Capt. Robert Rae stands in the Gloria Dei churchyard. Rae was “lost at sea” somewhere along the River Nuñez in 1839.

Lost at Sea: Capt. Henry Sharp

Capt. Henry Sharp was “lost at sea” while on a voyage to Africa in 1836. What caused his demise? We may never know but many seamen of the time died from exposure to tropical diseases like malaria.

Lost at Sea: James and Josephine Stewart

The words “lost at sea” are the most melancholy, and often the most mysterious, inscriptions on gravestones at Gloria Dei. In those cases, the stones are merely markers for a person who never came home and never saw their loved ones again.

William “The Legend” Isaacs

Bill Isaacs, a South Philadelphia taproom owner and lifelong Mummer, founded the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Within a decade, he changed Mummers history.

Jack and Margaret Dunn

Jack and Margaret Dunn were a wonderful couple from Southwark who had long family histories in the community. The Dunn’s lived on the unit block of Fitzwater where they raised their twin sons before their home was demolished for I-95.

Joseph and Mary Kane

Joseph and Mary were lifelong residents of Southwark/Queen Village. Married for over 52 years, they raised their four children in their Front Street home. They were both dedicated to helping family and friends throughout their lives.

Francis and Margaret Moock

Frank and Margaret Moock both grew up near Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church in Philadelphia. Although they were not parishioners of this church, Gloria Dei held a special place in both of their hearts. Here Margie Moock Schernecke shares stories about her parents and their love for Old Swedes’.

Churchyard Map

Churchyard Map

As part of our churchyard research project, we are creating an interactive map to help visitors find their ancestors’ graves.  This project is in its early stages, but you can see our progress by viewing our map.

Churchyard Restoration

We seek to restore the churchyard to an earlier point in history, increasing the historical accuracy of the environment, repair and preserve gravestones that have decayed due to extreme age, the ravages of an urban environment, and some very old damage caused by vandalism.