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Methacton Mennonite Church, Norristown, PA
Source: Franconia Mennonite Conference website

In 1739 land for burial purposes was deeded to the Dutch Anabaptist Society for 5 shillings and thus began the written record of the Methacton Mennonite Church, located near Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA. The first meetinghouse was built prior to 1771 although the exact date is unknown. Tradition says that Revolutionary War soldiers died in the church building when it served as a hospital after the Battle of Germantown, and were buried, not in the church’s burial grounds, but just outside the western wall, under a huge oak tree still standing there.

A second meetinghouse was erected of stone in 1805 and used as a community school and place of worship. The third meetinghouse was erected in 1873, with subsequent additions in the 20th century.

As Mennonite families moved further north towards Souderton/Franconia in the following years, Methacton Church began to be on the fringes of the larger Mennonite community rather than centrally located.

The church has always needed to draw people from the local community, from the Worcester/Collegeville area, since there were no “ethnic Mennonites” living in the area. After being down to one member in 1943, a large Summer Bible School program was begun in the 1940s and 1950s with the help of several families from the Plains Congregation. This began a new era in the church’s existence. Through this vigorous Summer Bible School outreach in the 1950s and through a preschool program (begun in 1958), community people were drawn into the church and preschool ministry.

The congregation was earlier known as the Worcester Mennonite Church (after the township); it changed its name to Methacton Mennonite Church about 1969.

[edit] Bibliography

Clemens, Beulah. "History of Worcester Church." Mission News (Franconia) (May-June, 1958): 2.

“Our history.” Methacton Mennonite Church. Web. 15 September 2016.

[edit] Additional Information

Address: 3081 Mill Road, Norristown, PA 19403

Phone: 610-584-4080

Website: Methacton Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church USA

Franconia Mennonite Conference

[edit] Methacton Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders

Name Years
of Service
Howard Pennapacker (1858-1931) 1911-1931
Jacob T. Landes (1893-1992) 1931-1939
Supplied by Conference 1939-1950
Paul R. Clemens 1950-1965
James L. Derstine 1965-1967
Warren B. Metzler 1968-1975
Clayton L. Swartzentruber 1976-1985
Kirk Hanger 1984-1993
James K. Beachy 1993-1999?
Dan Graber 1999?-2003?
Luke Beidler 2003-2011
Dawn Ruth Nelson 2003-2014?
William Kull 2003-2014?
J. Fred Kauffman (Interim) 2014?-2016
Sandy Drescher-Lehman 2016-present

[edit] Methacton Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1890 50
1915 35
1925 22
1935 10
1945 5
1955 79
1965 88
1975 97
1985 80
1995 99
2005 54
2015 46

[edit] Map

Map:Methacton Mennonite Church (Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA)

[edit] Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

By Paul R. Clemens. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Kitchener, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 978. All rights reserved.

Worchester Mennonite Church (MC), known also in the past as Methacton Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church) is located in Worcester Township near Fairview, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Franconia Mennonite Conference. The date of organization is uncertain. According to Joseph Heebner, a historian of Worcester, the church was started by the Henry Rittenhouse family (grandson of William Rittenhouse) and it is presumed that the first meetinghouse was built a few years after eight trustees in 1739 acquired a burial ground for a union cemetery. Five of these trustees were Mennon­ites: Henry Rittenhouse, Christopher Zimmerman, Conrad Stem, Peter Keyser, and Peter Custard. It is known that the meetinghouse was there by 1771. In 1873 the third and present meetinghouse was erect­ed.

Methacton Mennonite Church has never been a large congregation. There were about 50 members in 1890. Sunday school with an attendance of 125 was started in 1898 but by 1920 it was discontinued and the congregation dwindled. Extreme reluctance to adopt progressive methods and the long continuance of the "circuit system" of ministerial leadership are some reasons given for the decline in interest. In 1943 there was one communi­cant member and the Franconia Mission Board made Worcester a mission station. An annex was added to the church building in 1948 to provide space for Sunday school and for summer Bible school, in which the enrollment had reached several hundred. On 22 January 1950, Paul R. Clemens was or­dained minister and Worcester again became an or­ganized congregation, with 80 members in 1958.

Author(s) Sam Steiner
Date Published September 2016

[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Sam. "Methacton Mennonite Church (Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2016. Web. 28 Oct 2016.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=135939.

APA style

Steiner, Sam. (September 2016). Methacton Mennonite Church (Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 October 2016, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=135939.

©1996-2016 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.