Whoever you are and wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome in this place!
Our Mission: To Welcome All People, Share Christ's Love for One Another, and Help to Make Christ Visible in Daily Life
Jerusalem Western Salisbury
3441 Devonshire Road
Allentown, PA 18103
Church Contact Information
Office: 610-797-4242 or 610-791-4979
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Happy 275th Anniversary! We are already a fourth of the way through the Anniversary year and the celebration continues this month with several special events highlighting our Reformed/UCC heritage (we will be celebrating Lutheran heritage in July).
Dr. John Frantz, Professor of American History Emeritus at Penn State University, will be present on both the evening of Saturday April 23 at 7:00 pm and on Sunday morning, April 24 at 8:00 and 10:30 am worship services. At this time he will talk about the Reverend Michael Schlatter and the organizing of the Reformed Coetus (Synod) in 1747. At worship on April 24, we will be following a historic Reformed liturgy and singing historic hymns to celebrate the Reformed side of our heritage, 275 years strong.
The Rev. Michael Schlatter (14 July 1716 - 31 October 1790), was a Reformed minister sent to America by the Holland Church Fathers to organize the Reformed Churches in Pennsylvania, gather information, and look after their well-being. He arrived in Philadelphia on September 6, 1746 and went straight to his work. He began visiting congregations in Pennsylvania, meeting with Reformed minister Rev. John Philip Boehm (who served our church in the early years) and Lutheran Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. On his fourth journey since his arrival in Philadelphia, Schlatter visited the Lehigh Valley from June 24 - July 2, 1747 and found our church at the time "vacant and inharmonious." When the first Reformed Coetus was organized by Schlatter and held at the First Reformed Church in Philadelphia from September 29 to October 2, 1747, Reformed elder Heinrich Roth was present and served as a representative of our church. For the first years of the existence of our church, however, the Reformed congregation was served by itinerant ministers.
Eventually more Reformed ministers came to America and the congregation was served more regularly by pastors who were part of a "charge" of several churches, with which our church was yoked. Schlatter later left the Coetus and settled in Chestnut Hill, near Germantown. During the occupation of Philadelphia by the British in 1777-1778, Schlatter was imprisoned for seven months, and his property looted. He died 31 October 1790 and was buried at the old Reformed Burial Ground, now Franklin Square, in Philadelphia. One physical connection that our church has to Rev. Schlatter is the Basil Bible (the so-called "Schlatter Bible" in the Artifacts Cabinet at the Front of the Church) printed in 1747. In October 1752, Rev. Schlattter reported to the Coetus that 800 Folio Bibles had arrived, the gift of the Synods of North and South Holland and the Classis of Amsterdam. One was to be given to each Reformed church in existence in the US at the time. Our 1911 Church History Book records that the Bible was presented to our church sometime in 1753. It was restored in 1994 and is used occasionally for special services, such as at our Reformed/UCC Heritage Service on April 24. This Bible is one of only ten or so of these Bibles that are known to exist today (read more about the Schlatter Bible).
I appreciate the positive responses to my articles and I am pleased that people are interested in the rich history of our church.. If you have a curiosity about our church and its history, please contact me through the church office or at Finkyx@aol.com.
Joshua Arthur Fink, Historian