Our Clergy

Timothy Safford,  Rector

In May 1999, the Reverend Timothy Browning Safford was called to be the nineteenth Rector of Christ Church.   His passion is for Christ Church to be accessible in worship, inclusive in spirit, and diverse in theological and ecclesiastical outlook, a safe place for  believer and skeptic alike.  He says, "Now, we must unleash, through God's grace, a spirit of renewal in Christ Church. We have so many new members in their 20's and 30's, finding their way in life, seeking God's presence and blessing.  We will give this emergent community our most considered efforts so that we can trust the future of our church to them."

"We must never stop accounting for the truth that we are not ethnically and racially reflective of the city around us at Christ Church," he says.  "We have set this goal, but not kept pace.  Why?  We must reclaim our history that in our colonial origins, we were a far more diverse church, abolitionist in spirit, and welcoming of all racial and ethnic groups in Philadelphia.  What are the barriers now?  If the demons of racism and elitism hover at our doors and harbor in our hearts, we must publicly and intentionally exorcise them.  It will be harder for newcomers to see us as bringing the Reign of God if we don't reflect the stats on God's census."

Tim constantly encourages Christ Church to see its mission as a "public church,"  serving and witnessing to all who come equally and openly.  He says, "We have great responsibilities at Christ Church, with a duty to respond to the needs of one pilgrim seeking God, and to preserve the legacy of a a 315 year history and our majestic buildings.  A public library is always open, inviting people in, whether they want to borrow a book or not.  Christ Church will be open, without condition, to those who, for whatever reason, come within our embrace."

 Prior to coming to Christ Church in Philadelphia, Tim served as Senior Associate for Mission, Parish Life and Administration at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California (1988-1999), and as Curate of St. John's Parish, Bridgeport, Connecticut (1985 to 1988).

 In Philadelphia, and previously, much of Tim's ministry has been dedicated to the work of outreach and social transformation, including work with the homeless, gay and lesbian ministries, those with AIDS, refugees, and with low-income housing. Here, in Philadelphia, Tim has served on the boards of Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has served as Chair of the Diocesan Commission on Ministry. He serves as Chaplain to honorary and patriotic groups in Philadelphia and nationally.In 2001, Tim was accepted as a Pastor-Theologian at the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2000, he was awarded the Lawrence J Mikkelsen Preaching Prize for his Sermon on the Gospel and Social Justice and Human Dignity.Tim received his Master of Divinity from the Yale University Divinity School, and received sacred orders for the diaconate in 1985 and for the priesthood in 1986.

Just call him "Tim," and your kids can also, though "Pastor Tim" is fine, too, if more formality is desired.

Susan Richardson, Assistant Minister

The Rev. Susan Richardson was ordained priest at Christ Church in 2006, when she became the Assistant Minister there, stepping away to serve as an interim rector in New Jersey from 2011-2014, and returning to Christ Church in June 2014.  Susan works with all the ministries of Christ Church and is a fan of this inside-out community that's so connected on all levels with the world that it's in.  She has been a blogger on conversations around the workplace for WHYY's Newsworks.org; click here for the postings on her blog Human At Work, or for her on-air interview with Dave Heller, click here.  She's a member of the 2016 Core Class of Leadership Philadelphia.  She's adjunct faculty in World Religions at the College of New Jersey, a mom whose default line is still "Did you wash your hands" (he's 19), a yoga practitioner, and grateful for Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee.   

Photo credit: JJ Tiziou Photography

Palmer Hartl, Parish Associate ‚Äč

 The Rev. Palmer Hartl has served as a priest associate at Christ Church  since 1999.  Volunteering his time, Palmer brings a rich experience from a career in management, psychotherapy, and organizational consulting. Reach Palmer by calling the parish office at 215-922-1695 xt 21.  

Photo credit: JJ Tiziou Photography





The Christ Church Preservation Trust is a non-religious non-profit organization whose goal is the preservation of the historic Christ Church buildings and burial ground, and the interpretation of church history.

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