BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of Baltimore’s very own holds a unique honor of being the oldest African-American church below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Marcus Washington reports St. James’ Episcopal Church continues to thrive as many celebrate its 190th anniversary.

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This Sunday, service at St. James’ Episcopal Church is about more than worship–it’s also a historic celebration.

“Today is special because for 190 years this church has been a beacon of hope and of God’s grace and love in the city of Baltimore,” said Reverend Dr. Allen F. Robinson.

It was actually on June 23, 1824 that Reverend William Levington established the church for a group that was considered less than people, but mere property.

“This parish was started right in the throws of slavery here in a slave holding state,” said Rev. Robinson.

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“I didn’t believe there could be such a place. But when I looked at the history of the church, it’s a church that started in slavery. It was a slave church,” said Charles Bolden.

For nearly 200 years, St. James’ Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square has put pride on inspiring people with God’s love.

Reverend Dr. Allen F. Robinson says it’s a joyful and prideful feeling to live on the church’s legacy, as they continue to push the mission of the congregation through the next century.

“The next 190 years is going to be better than the first 190 years,” Rev. Robinson said.

St. James is the fourth oldest church in the state of Maryland.

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