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.
Search Churchyard Records
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.
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.
Our historians are writing biographical sketches on our “permanent residents.” Here you will learn about the people buried in our churchyard.
The Rectorship of Mr. Simes holds a unique place in the record of the Gloria Dei Church’s ministry. During his long tenure, the congregation grew, developed and prospered. He was the spiritual guide of more than a generation of affectionate parishioners.
Before her death in 1998, Catharine Marett donated the bulk of her life savings toward the 300th anniversary historic restoration project at Gloria Dei Church. Thanks to her generous endowment, the congregation was spared from financial ruin.
Sampson Harvey was born in Cornwall, England, on March 14, 1731. He was master of a number of merchant vessels in the 1760s and often sailed to the West Indies.
Members of the Stewart family, buried in the churchyard of Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’ Church), had a long relationship with another important Philadelphia landmark—Carpenters’ Hall.
Caleb Cushing’s sea passages took him across the Atlantic as well as to the West Indies. His family traces its lineage in America back to Matthew Cushing, who had emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1638.
In 1865, Rhoda McCoy, almost 90 years old, was buried in the Gloria Dei Churchyard. Rhoda must have had a strong constitution — she died of “old age” rather than an ailment or disease.
Lavinia Sheed never married and died at age 65 from rheumatism. She is buried near her father and several of her siblings in the Gloria Dei Churchyard.
This stone commemorates Bernard Ulrick Dahlgren, although his body no longer rests here. His remains, with those of his wife Martha and their infant son Washington, now lie in West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
4th Annual Spirits And History
Honoring Our Swedish And American Artists
When: Friday, May 3, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church
This popular annual event features a guided churchyard tour with stories about several influential Philadelphia artists. Inside Riverside Hall, sample spirits from local distilleries, hors d’oeuvres from local chefs and enter a wine auction. Plus, enjoy live jazz music courtesy of The Jazz Sanctuary.
And the best part: proceeds from the event will be used to restore and paint the Church, Riverside Hall and the Sexton’s House.
Lucia: A Life, A Legend, A Legacy
The Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation is pleased to present “Lucia: A Life, A Legend, A Legacy,” an exhibit exploring the Christian martyr whose selfless acts inspired an longstanding annual festival at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church.
This free exhibit is hosted inside the Gloria Dei Church’s Sanctuary, Columbus Blvd. and Christian St. It is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm. The exhibit closes on July 31, 2019.
Attractions also include photographs from Gloria Dei’s very own Lucia Festival, a musical pageant featuring Swedish songs, traditions and folklore.
Jazz & Joe
The Alan Segal Quartet brings the finest samplings of Philadelphia Style Jazz to Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church the fourth Thursday of the month from 7:30 to 9:30pm.
The Alan Segal Quartet showcases some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the Philadelphia area who specialize in Philadelphia Style Jazz. The group is comprised of Eddie Etkins on Saxophone, clarinet and flute, George Sinkler on piano, Leon Jordan Sr. on drums and Alan Segal on bass.