History

sanctuary

In 1955, a survey conducted by the Missions and New Church Development committee of the Lehigh Presbytery determined that there was a need to serve the growing population of Emmaus and its surrounding areas with a Presbyterian Church. In 1957, the Lehigh Presbytery purchased a home, a former beauty parlor at 167 Harrison Street in Emmaus, to serve as a manse and temporary place to worship and appointed Rev. Gilbert B. Dodd to serve as organizing minister in this mission effort. On October 1, 1957 (World Communion Sunday), 25 people gathered for the first service.

history 1The rapidly expanding group moved to Fourth and Broad Street in Emmaus in November 1957, renting a building previously used by St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. The building was purchased in the fall of 1958, and was the home of the first Sunday School classes.

The Lehigh Presbytery approved the organization and charter of this mission church, and on April 27, 1958 Faith Presbyterian Church became a reality with 56 members.

By 1961, membership had grown to 186 members. The Session and Board of Deacons were ordained and installed. Associations and an Adult Choir was formed. When the facility at Fourth and Broad became too small, worship services were moved to the Emmaus Movie Theater. history 2Work on land on North Second Street (purchased in 1958 by the Lehigh Presbytery) was completed by November 1961. A Service of Dedication was held in December of 1961. While this building allowed for growth of programs, there was committee investigation for further expansion of the facilities.

In December of 1964, the Lehigh Presbytery accepted the resignation of Rev. Dodd.  Rev. Gorman Roof was appointed as Interim Moderator. During this time, the Harrison Street manse was sold and another property was purchased on North Second Street.

In September of 1965, Rev. Ralph Lamar III was called as the second pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church. Within a year, problems including a decline in attendance and participation were noted.  Unable to resolve the conflicts, the Session with Lehigh Presbytery concurrence asked Rev. Lamar to seek another call. Rev. Roof was again called as the Interim Moderator and Stated Supply as the Pastoral Nominating Committee started their search. Rev. John Earl Naegele began what would become his 20 year pastorate in June of 1969.

history 3During the 1970s, there were several capital fund drives and building projects highlighted by the fellowship hall expansion, sanctuary enhancements, and grounds improvements. The music program also grew substantially during this time.

Rev. Naegele retired in September of 1989. He held the honorary title of Pastor Emeritus for his 20 years of leadership with the church.

Rev. Thomas C. Wray was called as Interim Pastor in December of 1989 to lead during the transition. During his time, the manse on Second Street was sold.

history 4In June of 1991, Rev. Charles E. Colson was installed as the fourth pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church. Pastor Colson received his degree of Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in May of 1993.

During Rev. Colson’s time, the church’s involvement in Mission projects, and financial support of these efforts was greatly expanded. The youth attended their first Workcamp in 1992, and have continued to do so every summer since. In 1998, a partnership was formed between the Riamukurwe Parish in Kenya and Faith Presbyterian Church.

exteriorIn 2000, building began on the current Sanctuary after years of planning. The first service in that space took place in January of 2003.

In 2006, Faith Presbyterian Church (in partnership with the Lehigh Presbytery) started a three year process of discernment to help guide our church in the path God wants us to take. We called this journey “Faith on the Road”. Through this process, our “Guided Vision Statement” was created which years later we use as a guide to our ministries.

In September of 2008, Rev. Colson retired after 17 years and he also holds the honorary title of Pastor Emeritus.

Interim Pastor Rev. Roberta J. Kearney served the church for 27 months, through June 26th, 2011.

From September, 2011 until the Fall of 2016, Faith Church was served by Rev. Timothy Michael Dooner. Under his spiritual leadership the local community outreach was invigorated with participation in Consign for Good, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and the opening of “The 412” in downtown Emmaus. At the same time Faith continued to enthusiastically support the mission endeavors already in place and eagerly offer our facilities to community groups.

As Faith Church strives to reach beyond our doors, the support of our members and friends will still be a hallmark as we continue “Living and Sharing the Miracle of God’s Grace.” We look forward to the next chapter in our life together.

Temporary Pastor, Rev. William Schram, began serving our church in April, 2017.