Lehigh Presbytery is a ministry of Jesus Christ through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), dedicated to strengthening and supporting the congregations that by the grace of God acting through the Holy Spirit act as Jesus’ hands, feet, and heart in the world.
The Presbytery is composed of thirty-two worshipping communities in eight counties of eastern Pennsylvania: Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Pike. It includes one Arabic fellowship, the Korean Church of the Lehigh Valley, a new church development-The Barn, and a new worshiping community (NWC)-Blank Slate. It is one of seventeen regional bodies that make up the Synod of the Trinity. The Lehigh Presbytery office is located in the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown.
The area covered by Lehigh Presbytery was originally settled by German Lutherans and Moravians, but a Presbyterian influence began to be felt as early as 1744 when David Brainerd came to the forks of the Delaware to tend to the spiritual needs of the Indians and the Scotch-Irish living in the area; his name and spirit live on at the Brainerd Center, the Presbytery’s camp. The Presbytery was chartered in 1871.
Like the Church of Jesus Christ around the world, the churches of the Lehigh Presbytery are in the midst of change. At the June 2004 meeting of the Presbytery, a plan for “Strengthening and Supporting Congregations” was adopted, building on the mission.
In 2006, after years of prayer and study, the sessions of the Presbytery were asked about their hopes and dreams, as well as challenges they faced. The responses we received ran a wide gamut. Among the common replies we found that:
- there is a desire to learn how to relate to those people who are not worshiping God;
- there is a desire for spiritual formation, for a deepening relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit; and
- there is a need for vision: how do we move from who we are, to be more fully who God would have us be?
These hopes, these challenges, these questions, are at the heart of what it means to be a missional church.