A few things you may notice about First Presbyterian
Our church lives in the community, but the building where we gather is hard to miss at the corner of two major Allentown arteries, Tilghman Street and Cedar Crest Boulevard. We moved to this site in 1958, but have a long history in Allentown dating to 1831, when First Presbyterian was established as the city’s only English-speaking church (the others were German). We spent our first 127 years deeply rooted in center-city Allentown until space constraints due to a growing ministry prompted the move to a larger property.
The building is open:
Monday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday: 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Church office hours:
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(Church office entrance faces Tilghman street)
(These times are subject to change)
OUR WORSHIP SPACES
At the front of the building, facing Tilghman Street, is the Sanctuary where traditional worship takes place Sundays at 10:30 A.M. During the day, the sanctuary is bright with light from stained glass windows, many of which came from the church’s previous Fifth Street location, now the Allentown Art Museum.
Near the Sanctuary is the Chapel where the 8:00 a.m. traditional service, 10:00 a.m. Arabic language , and 12:00 p.m. Chin Burmese language services are held.
At the other end of the building is Fellowship Hall, where alternative worship takes place Sundays at 8:45 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. This space was renovated in 2011 for the express purpose of providing a dynamic, welcoming venue for alternative worship led by the guitars, drums and vocals of The 10:10 Band (see the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10).
THE CELTIC CROSS
This motif is found throughout our campus and reflected in the church’s logo. The Celtic cross and Presbyterian church share a long historical association, partly due to their common Scottish roots. But the lines of the design hold deep meaning. The upward shaft signifies God, the transcending Creator. The horizontal arms represent Christ reaching out to humanity. The distinctive circle, or nimbus, represents eternity and the Holy Spirit, co-linking with both elements of the cross so all three form one unit as the Trinity.
PRIORITY PARKING FOR VISITORS
Reserved spaces for first-time visitors are set aside near our main entrances (look for maroon signs identifying each space). Welcome! Come through any door and you’ll find friendly people who can help direct you to where you want to go.
This space is used for worship services for our Arabic community on Sundays at 10 a.m. as well as for various worship gatherings, meetings, and classes at other times. The chapel is located just east of our main entrance and narthex, under the large, white freestanding Celtic cross visible outside.
THE MEMORIAL GARDEN
On the western grounds of our campus, our peaceful Memorial Garden provides a place for those who wish to maintain a witness to their faith even unto death. This hallowed ground serves as a place for remembrance, worship, fellowship, solitude, meditation, serenity, and prayer as well as the interment of cremated remains. Flowers and shrubs ring the setting. A shaded area on one side and a sun garden on the other provide benches and other places for rest and contemplation. All areas suitable for interment are fully accessible by a permanent walkway.
Cremation is accepted in the modern church as consistent with the resurrection and eternal life. Ashes placed either directly in the soil or in a biodegradable container become part of the living garden. Interment of ashes is open to all members of First Presbyterian and their immediate families, former members and (with Session approval) others.