When the first session of the Philadelphia Annual Conference met in 1817 there were only four Itinerant Preachers present, Bishop Richard Allen, who presided, and the Reverends William Paul Quinn (later o become a Bishop), Jacob Tapisco, and Clayton Durham. From that small but distinguished cadre of churchmen The Philadelphia Conference has grown to number more than two hundred Itinerant Preachers, male and female.
The geographical boundaries of the Conference extend westward from the Delaware River, which forms the eastern boundary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to include about half of the State, with the exception of three or four Churches along the state’s southern border, the Mason-Dixon Line. These Churches are included in the Delaware Conference. A similar exemption must be made for a few Churches in northern half of the state which are included in the Pittsburgh Annual Conference. It is interesting to note that at one time the Philadelphia Conference included what was known as ‘the Island of New Jersey”, the State of Delaware and at least one new point and a new Church in the State of Maryland, according to the 1948 edition of the Encyclopedia of African Methodism.
AS the heart pumps blood to every section of the body so the Philadelphia Conference has sent it’s influence to every section of our Zion. And as the blood sent out returns to the heart for renewal and further service, so the General Church looks to the Mother Conference for inspiration and renewal.