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 there is 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.
We come from many faith backgrounds and together we explore the questions in our hearts and support one another in growing trust.
In our ministry our constant source of strength and direction comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ.
A small group of Gladwyne residents petitioned the Presbytery of Philadelphia to establish a Presbyterian Church in Lower Merion.
The church was formally incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of Lower Merion, now known as Gladwyne. There were twelve original members.
A lot was purchased for $500 and a building erected at a cost of $3,000.
A Sunday School addition was built by the men of the church, made possible by Reverend Joseph Harvey’s generous donation.
The trustees voted to build a new church after World War II ended.
Harold Milton Neufeld is called as pastor. The growth in membership required creative use of space. Sunday School classes had to be held in the town library, firehouse, Old Baptist Church, as well as the manse and Sunday School annex.
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.
The Present building was erected.
Reverend Donald G. Huston ignites the church’s passion for social justice and serves as our pastor until 1970.
Reverend Howard Friend’s leadership in fostering the congregation’s inward-outward journey spans 23 years, until 1993.
Co-pastors Woody and Julie Sheetz-Willard are called to lead the church.
The church is served by Pastor Carol Evans LeBlanc. We are graced with caring leadership during period of transitions by Reverend’s Scott, Hinnant, Nablo, Sutton, and Valentine.
Pastor Todd Stavrakos is called as pastor and leads the church to expand its ministry in the spirit of those first members, who, in 1874, organized to serve a small community seeking to be faithful.
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 difficult times, we get our bearings, clarify our issues, and learn how to live with creativity, joy, and love.
For those of us unable to worship physically in our sanctuary, we are grateful to be able to keep connections strong with our weekly online offerings.
Pastor Todd Stavrakos
Pastor Todd Stravrakos was called to Gladwyne Presbyterian Church (GPC) in 2006. Before joining the staff at GPC, he served at a redeveloping congregation in southern New Jersey, and prior to that he served at a parish church in Cumnock, Scotland. Todd is originally from Philadelphia and has lived in the suburbs of Chicago, Washington DC, and Princeton, NJ. Todd’s primary focus is creating a ministry that is community-based and mission-oriented, seeking to take the Word of God into the community following Jesus Christ’s example.
Before entering into ministry, he spent ten years working in the political world, serving on Congressional staff in Washington, DC, and working on legislative issues and political campaigns in Pennsylvania.
Todd received his undergraduate degree at Villanova University and his Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. He lives with his wife Jennifer and their two children, Sam and Lydia, in Havertown, PA.
In addition to his work at GPC, Todd is on the Board of Heeding God’s Call, a national gun violence prevention organization that has its roots in Philadelphia. He has also served as the president of the board for Head Start Learning Tree, a program that serves over 800 pre-school children in south and southwest Philadelphia. As an active member in the Presbytery of Philadelphia, he is a member of the Presbytery Leadership Collegium and the Convener of the Southwest Commission Leadership Team.
Another area of interest for Todd is interfaith dialogue. He is a leader in the Interfaith Partners for Peace as well as the Rabbi-Pastor Dialogue group he created with the Presbytery of Philadelphia and the Jewish Community Relations Council. He has participated in two interfaith trips to Israel/Palestine to learn about interfaith work and to build bridges of peace between Palestinians and Jews. Todd also serves on the Clergy Advisory Council of the Hand in Hand Schools of Israel, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Catholic and Jewish Relations at St. Joseph’s University.
Todd also serves on the Board of Directors of Pathways for Middle East Peace.