Blooming Glen Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), located in a village by the same name in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is affiliated with the Franconia Mennonite Conference. The original name was Perkasie, derived from Perkasie Manor, on which the first meetinghouse was built in 1753. When William Penn opened Perkasie Manor for settlement in 1735, among the earliest Mennonite settlers were Henry Funk, Christian Lederach, John Funk, Andrew Godshall, Valentine Kratz, and Hoopert Cassel. Familiar names such as Moyer, High, Hunsberger, Kulp, Rickert, Hunsicker, [[Yoder (Ioder, Joder, Jodter, Jotter, Yoeder, Yother, Yothers, Yotter)|Yoder]], Alderfer, Landis, Rosenberger, and Bishop came later. The name Perkasie was retained until about 1885, when the village name was changed to Blooming Glen.
As the congregation grew in number, larger meetinghouses were built in 1823, 1882, 1925 (addition), and 1938. The 1950s church was a brick building with a seating capacity of 1,000 in the main auditorium.
The first minister who served at Blooming Glen was probably Abraham Swartz of Deep Run. The first preachers ordained for the congregation were probably Jacob Meyer (1758) and Samuel Meyer (1769). Later outstanding leaders were Isaac Oberholtzer, who was senior bishop in the Franconia conference at the time of the Oberholtzer schism in 1847, and Henry Rosenberger, who served the congregation as minister, 1885-1895, and as bishop, 1895-1921. It was the support and leadership of Henry Rosenberger that brought about such significant innovations as the Sunday school (1887), evangelistic meetings by John S. Coffman (1896), English preaching by Henry Anglemoyer (1900), support of foreign missions in India (1899), sewing circle (1915), Sunday evening services (1911), support of a foreign missionary (1918).
During the ministry of Wilson R. Moyer (1921-1951) and Melvin A. Bishop (1930-1953) the following new activities were introduced: (1) singing classes taught by J. W. Yoder and L. D. Hunsicker; (2) teachers' meetings (1921); (3) winter Bible school (1935); (4) summer Bible school (1946); young people's meetings (1948); (5) junior sewing circle (1945). Some changes in the form and order of worship services were made in 1949. The traditional introductory sermon (Vorrede) and the testimony following the sermon (Zeugnis) were discontinued and weekly Sunday morning services were introduced.
During an interim Paul Lederach served as pastor (January 1950-March 1952) and as bishop, serving conjointly with Joseph Gross (January 1950-May 1953). David F. Derstine, Jr., was ordained as pastor in October 1951. Two deacons, Norman Moyer, ordained in 1921, and Franklin Alderfer, ordained in 1938, also served the congregation.
Several changes in administration and organization took place during this period (1951-1953). Among them were (1) a quarterly workers' meeting; (2) the election of a board of five trustees; (3) the organization of a Christian Workers' Band with its various activities and projects for young people; (4) schedule of Sunday evening services to include a monthly song service, a C.W.B. meeting, a young people's meeting, and a church service; (5) by agreement with the Franconia Board of Missions and Charities responsibility was assumed for a mission outpost at Bridgewater Corners, Vermont. Several families moved into the area to assist with the activities, and the congregation agreed to supply the workers and regular support for Abram Landis, the pastor.
The congregation with the Sunday school and the young people's meeting supported five adults and four children of missionary families, and the pastor and his wife of the Bethany Mennonite Church at Bridgewater Corners. Pastoral support of the home pastor was adopted by the congregation in 1951, and a home for the pastor was built in 1953. A very active Sunday school supported a number of mission projects and activities.
The Blooming Glen congregation, numbering 450 members in 1953 (717 in 2007), was the largest in the Bucks County district of the Franconia Mennonite Conference. Situated in a thriving farming community, in the 1950s it was largely rural in character. It included also a number of businessmen, merchants, factory workers, and several doctors, nurses, and teachers. A large percentage of the young people attended high school and an increasing number of them enrolled in church schools and colleges. A number of the young people of the congregation served in various missions, church institutions, and relief projects both in the United States and in foreign countries.
Lederach, Paul. Seeking What Cannot be Seen. Blooming Glen, PA: The Church, 2003.
Address: 713 Blooming Glen Road, Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania
Website: Blooming Glen Mennonite Church
Cite This Article
Leatherman, Quintus. "Blooming Glen Mennonite Church (Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Jan 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Blooming_Glen_Mennonite_Church_(Blooming_Glen,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=91154.
Leatherman, Quintus. (1953). Blooming Glen Mennonite Church (Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Blooming_Glen_Mennonite_Church_(Blooming_Glen,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=91154.
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