First Presbyterian Church of Allentown is a diverse body of faith committed to living God’s love in the way of Jesus Christ. We do this through worship, study, service, and relationships for the common good of our community and the world.
That’s our mission statement. Here’s what we mean:
A DIVERSE BODY OF FAITH
A diverse body of faith: We have members from more than 30 nations with roots in a variety of faith traditions. We’re liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, mainliners, charismatics, and mystics. We’re rich, poor, and middle class. We worship in traditional and alternative venues, and hold services in English, Arabic, and Burmese. We express mission in a variety of ways. We belong to each other and need each other’s unique gifts, vision, and passion to make the kingdom of God flourish, as the apostle Paul established in 1 Corinthians. To us, diversity and plurality are strengths that allow fuller expression of God’s spirit in community. By leveraging our multiplicity of gifts, we strive to be more faithful to the mission of the church and the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
LIVING GOD’S LOVE
God is Love, and love is the law of the Christian community, the anchor that roots everything we say and do. Love isn’t a fleeting emotion but an intentional, deliberate act of God that calls the world and the church into being. It’s the reason God sent God’s only son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God declares that you are beloved no matter where you are on the spiritual journey, and the most important thing we can do together as a church is to live God’s love into the world.
We claim the name Christian because we’re profoundly shaped by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We may all have different styles of fleshing out the gospel but have a standard in Jesus Christ, who is at the center of our faith and life together. Following the way of Jesus Christ entails a process of call, conversion, and celebration rooted in love that makes the church more than an institution, social service organization, or fellowship gathering.
WORSHIP, STUDY, SERVICE AND RELATIONSHIPS
These are core practices for spiritual formation and living a Christian life of relevance and integrity. Christian communities the world over practice these essential habits in settings from great cathedrals to secret house churches. Rooted in the early church and Jewish ways of practicing faith and life, these activities are part of what characterize one holy, catholic and apostolic church. You’ll find vibrant examples at First Presbyterian in spirit-filled worship, robust education, strong mission efforts and engaging community.
FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE WORLD
As Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple once said, “The church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members.” John 3:16 doesn’t say “God so loved the Presbyterian church” or “Christians,” but “the world”—so much that he “gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” This is a common blessing for all people, and we are to be God’s instrument in conveying God’s blessing to our church community, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, and the world.
A WORD ABOUT THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Presbyterianism grew out of the Reformation movement of the 16th century in Europe and takes its name from the Greek word presbuteros, which means “elder.” Our name reflects our form of government, which stresses the concept of representative rule by the elected elders of the congregation under the authority of Scripture and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Presbyterian Church (USA) to which First Presbyterian belongs has about 1.9 million members.