Our Story

Our Story

Our church was established in 1879 as the first Mennonite congregation in the city of Lancaster. Our sanctuary, which looks like many of our county’s traditional meeting houses, was built in 1906. In our early years, preachers often needed to pause whenever a trolley came rumbling by.

Our location at the corner of Chestnut & Sherman has helped us to see new things in the Bible, especially God’s deep love for our city and its people. In Jeremiah 29, for example, we began to hear God’s call for us to find our wellbeing in the wellbeing of our city neighbors.

Today, our reading of the Bible continues to inspire our congregation to join what God is already doing in our city. Every Monday evening (since 2001), we build community and share a warm meal with 100+ of our city neighbors. We work through the Chestnut Housing Corporation, founded in 2010, to provide affordable housing for those coming out of homelessness. In recent years, we have walked with several refugee families as they’ve resettled in our city.

In 2016, we moved from Lancaster Mennonite Conference to Atlantic Coast Conference in order to maintain our cherished denominational ties with Mennonite Church USA. We also deeply value our connections with other communities of faith in our city and around the world.

In 2016, our congregation voted to welcome gay and lesbian persons into membership. In 2021, our congregation expanded that welcome to all LGBTQ+ persons in every aspect of church life, including the blessing of marriage and opportunity to serve in pastoral ministry.

We are a church that loves to sing, pray, and worship God together. We seek to read and interpret the Bible through the “lens” of Jesus. We care deeply about justice, peace, creation care, and dismantling racism. We are passionate about our shared spiritual formation as the followers of Jesus, at every stage of life, from beginning to end. We seek to ground all that we do in a deep and prayerful connection with God.

We welcome you to come follow Jesus with us!