Join us for Sunday Worship at 11 am.
Welcome to Gladwyne Presbyterian Church. On the first Sunday of each month we have communion. Our worship style is informal. We delight in music of all kinds — traditional hymns, spirituals, classical, and jazz. Our sanctuary is a nurturing place filled with light. It is a place where, in confusing and disruptive times, we get our bearings, clarify our issues, and learn how to live with creativity, joy, and love. We have a vibrant commitment to children and youth. After the service we usually enjoy fellowship with refreshments in our Community Room.
Statement of Faith
We believe God is ever present. Though we may question, doubt and struggle God keeps expressing love for all creation, and for all persons.
We know this love in the person of Jesus Christ who helps us understand God and what it is to be human. Jesus lived God’s love in his ministry of compassion to all people: well or sick, rich or poor, included or outcast. Jesus invites all persons to experience God’s transforming forgiveness and grace, and to share new life with others, following Christ’s example. We believe in the Holy Spirit an active force eternally present that moves people to demonstrate their faith. The Holy Spirit inspires us and enlightens us, coming to us in times of need, refreshing and renewing us, and giving us courage.
We believe the church is where we seek to be faithful together and where we answer the call to help mend the world. In our ministry our constant source of strength and direction comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We are proud of our church history, dating back to 1870 when a small group of Gladwyne residents petitioned the Presbytery of Philadelphia to establish a Presbyterian Church in Lower Merion. The church was formally incorporated on October 27, 1874 as the First Presbyterian Church of Lower Merion. Our church has been an important cornerstone and religious center in the village of Merion Square, now known as Gladwyne.
The first permanent minister, Reverend A.W. Long, led services at a parishioner’s home and at Odd Fellows Hall on Righters Mill Road. There were twelve original members. In 1875 a lot was purchased for $500 and a building erected at a cost of $3000. A Sunday School addition was built in 1941 by the men of the church, made possible by Reverend Joseph Harvey’s generous donation of two lots of land. The trustees voted in 1943 to build a new church after World War II ended.
By 1953, when Harold Milton Neufeld was called as pastor, the growth in membership required creative use of space. With only $33 in the building fund, Sunday School classes had to be held in the town library, firehouse, Old Baptist Church, as well as the manse and Sunday School annex. In 1954, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Warner offered a gift of 3.8 acres of land on Monk Road, and the decision was made to move the church to its present location. By January of 1956, additional land was purchased and the pressent building was erected in 1958. Reverend Donald G. Huston served as our pastor from 1960-1970 and ignited the church’s passion for social justice.
On the occasion of the church’s 100 year anniversary in 1974, Dorothy (Dot) Lamdin (a beloved member of this church who passed away in 2005) wrote:
“Gladwyne Presbyterian Church is one place where you are free to be yourself. There is a spirit of warmth and openness in the church family. One hundred years have passed and the First Presbyterian Church is alive and well. The tiny church, surrounded by wealth, continues to struggle to provide a rich experience in Christian Community.”
Reverend Howard Friend’s leadership in fostering the congregation’s inward outward journey spanned 23 years, from 1970 to 1993. Since that time, the church has been served by Co-Pastors Woody and Julie Sheetz-Willard (1995-1998) and Pastor Carol Evans LeBlanc (2001-2004). We were graced with caring and able pastoral leadership during periods of transition by Reverend Don Scott, Reverend O. Elaine Hinnant, Reverend Helen Nablo, Reverend Debra Sutton and Reverend Herb Valentine.
Pastor Todd Stavrakos now leads the congregation as the church continues to expand its ministry in the spirit of those first members who, in 1874, organized to serve a small community seeking to be faithful.