1909: Holy Trinity-Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
Holy Trinity-Bethlehem has a rich history dating back to September 1908 and January 1909 when residents of the Logan Station in Philadelphia petitioned the Presbytery of Philadelphia North to organize as a Presbyterian Church. The Presbytery organized the Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church on February 23, 1909 in a barn.
The present-day Holy Trinity-Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, USA is a compilation of four (4) basic church strands and their subsequent mergers. The four “strands” of this “chord” of faith are: McDowell, Tioga, Bethlehem and Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church(s) or their predecessors. All these four churches now comprise the present Holy Trinity-Bethlehem Presbyterian Church.
In 1959 McDowell merged with Tioga; in 1955 Bethlehem merged with Holy Trinity to create Holy Trinity-Bethlehem and in 1993, Tioga merged with Holy Trinity-Bethlehem.
Initially, the Logan area was primarily made up of Jewish families; however, over many years other ethnic groups migrated in the area as the Jews moved out. This new composition of new residents consisted of African Americans, Hispanics, Koreans, Portuguese, and Southeast Asians. Holy Trinity-Bethlehem became the central location for these groups to meet collectively and individually to discuss concerns of the neighborhood and to develop ways for these groups to work together. Holy Trinity-Bethlehem subsequently became known as the “Community Church” in the area. As the neighborhood experienced many transitions, we became the church location for community groups to meet to discuss strategies to help the community through various transitions.
For over forty years (40), until October 2014, the Nationality Senior Service Center, housed in Holy Trinity, provided services to seniors of all racial and religious backgrounds. The Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous and the Police Athletic League provided and continue to provide services in Holy Trinity-Bethlehem for more than 50 years. Other agencies have joined these groups at Holy Trinity-Bethlehem in providing services to the Logan/Olney Communities.
Holy Trinity-Bethlehem continues as a “Community Church” as it strives to carry out its motto as a church preaching and teaching the “Mission, Ministry and Message” of Jesus Christ. We continue to financially support many local groups and Presbytery Ministries; and our yearly vacation bible school attendance averages 45 youths from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Holy Trinity-Bethlehem remains a viable religious institution in the Logan/Olney Communities.
This brief history was recently updated as a part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s 300th Anniversary Year of Celebration and Witness. The story of the congregations throughout the Presbytery were revised to remind us of our past even as we live into the present and move towards God’s promised future. Read more about the 300th Anniversary: www.presbyphl.org/300th-Anniversary.