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Jerusalem Western Salisbury
3441 Devonshire Road
Allentown, PA 18103
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In Memoriam: Rev. Robert D. Harting
(10 July 1946 - 24 December 2014)
Pastor of Jerusalem Western Salisbury United Church of Christ, 1974 - 1989
Pastor Robert D. Harting, former pastor of the United Church of Christ congregation of Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church, was called to God's eternal home this past Christmas Eve. In the years following Pastor Harting's retirement from the ministry, he and his family "came home" each year to Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church for Christmas Eve services.
Robert D. Harting was born in Reading, PA, the son of Grant and Helen G. (Harding) Harting. Baptized on September 15, 1946 at St. John's (Haines) Church Reformed Church in Wernersville, PA, he was later received into the church through confirmation on April 14, 1960 in St. John's UCC in Denver, PA. He developed a life long love for music, specializing in the trumpet, for which he won various awards. In 1964, he graduated from Cocalico Union High School in Denver, PA and went on to pursue his musical studies at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He graduated from Catawaba College in 1968 with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Following his undergraduate studies, Pastor Harting entered the Lancaster Theological Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity Degree in 1971. Following graduation from the Seminary, he did post graduate work at the seminary on "The Spirituality and Social Action in the life and teachings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer."
Pastor Harting was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ on May 21, 1972 at St John's UCC in Denver, the same church in which he had been confirmed 12 years earlier. He served as Co-Pastor of St. James UCC in Allentown from July 1, 1972 until September 1, 1974. He was called to serve the United Church of Christ congregation at Jerusalem Western Salisbury on October 13, 1974.
On May 3, 1970, Robert Harting married his college sweetheart, Elizabeth A. Aungst at the Catawba College Chapel in Salisbury, North Carolina. For many years, Bette (as she was known) taught elementary school students in the Allentown School District. The Hartings have three children, Kristen, born August 18, 1978, now the wife of Scott Sevinsky of Bethlehem, Kelly, born January 7, 1980, now the wife of Chris Caflin of Bethlehem, and Ryan D., born March 1, 1982, now the husband of Kristen of Bethlehem.
Pastor Harting served Jerusalem as the UCC pastor from 1974 to 1989, working alongside his Lutheran colleague, Rev. Carl R. Schmoyer. After leaving Jerusalem he served St. Thomas UCC in Bethlehem and St. Matthew's UCC in Kunkletown. During his ministry, he served on various boards and committees of the Penn Northeast Conference. He also served as a delegate to several General Synod of the United Church of Christ meetings.
Prior to his senior year studying at the seminary, Pastor Harting had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Italy and Athens, Greece, to participate in a six week seminar of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches. In the summer of 1973, he and his wife Bette spent four weeks traveling in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Austria.
Pastor Harting loved music, sports, the outdoors and spending time with his family. After many years of suffering, the Lord called his faithful servant Robert home on Christmas Eve, 2014. A Memorial Service was held at Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church on Tuesday, December 30, 2014.
Rev. Robert Harting, "Super Preacher," October, 1975
Pastor Harting loved the Lord and taught all those around him about love, faith, kindness and respect toward other people. During our church's 245th Anniversary, Pastor Harting wrote these words, which I find apropos as we remember our former pastor: "... may we ever be mindful of and thankful for the immeasurable mercies of God which, like an ever flowing stream, cleanse us and refresh us as the new community of God's future. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, may we obediently and joyfully walk in new life toward God's future. To this gift of new life be all honor and glory in the name of Jesus Christ."
And as we note the close of Rev. Robert Harting's earthly ministry among us, we say "Well done, God's good and faithful servant."
I have appreciated the positive responses to my articles and I am pleased that people are interested in the rich history of our church. If you have curiosity about our church and its history, or information to share, please contact me through the church office or at Finkyx@aol.com.
Joshua Arthur Fink, Historian