On January 13, 1873, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church was officially organized at a meeting of the Presbytery of Chester. Sixteen members comprised the new congregation, including 13 women and three men. Of course, two of the men were promptly elected as the first elders! Presbyterians had been gathering at Temperance Hall on Lancaster Pike to worship before the official church charter was signed, and they continued worshiping there until arrangements could be made for a more permanent location for the new church. The congregation purchased the current plot of land from the Pennsylvania Railroad in May 1873 for $2,500 and began planning for the construction of the first Sanctuary.
A number of events to celebrate this momentous 150th anniversary year will unfold over the coming months, with a special emphasis on our church’s history and Christian witness taking place this September and October. The fall season was chosen because the weather is more predictable and more of our congregation members are in town, as opposed to these winter months when many relocate to warmer places. Preparations are underway for a grand season of celebration this fall, so mark your calendar for the weekend of October 14-15 and plan on joining us for the church’s big birthday party.
While we plan to look back with thanksgiving and remember key ministries and moments in the life of this congregation, we also are in the midst of a strategic process of looking forward. The 150th Vision Committee continues to engage the congregation in a churchwide conversation about where and how we believe God is calling BMPC as we live out the Gospel and move forward together on the strong winds of the Holy Spirit into the community and world in service.
The 150th Vision Committee is grateful for thoughtful participation in last spring’s public forums and the focus group conversations that took place last fall. We can see some priorities developing and some consensus building in this discernment process! Based on the feedback in these first two phases, the committee is developing a churchwide questionnaire to assure every member has the opportunity to join in this conversation about where we believe God is calling us in ministry and mission in the years ahead.
Thank God for the importance of this new year in the life of this congregation! In 2023 we will remember the remarkable path that followed those 16 members signing the church charter in 1873, and we will begin to chart the church’s path forward praying that we will be as boldly visionary in our time as those early faithful stewards of this congregation’s life and witness.