Pastoral Assignments


1885-86                      Bethlehem                                          Musselman, Jonas

1887-89                      Bethlehem                                          Musselman, W B

1890-91                      Bethlehem                                          Haws, M D

1892-94                      Bethlehem                                          Gehret, A B

1895-96                      Bethlehem                                          Hillegass, O S

1897-98                      Bethlehem                                          Musselman, H B

1899-1901                  Bethlehem                                          Woodring, R L

1902-04                      Bethlehem                                          Gehman, W G

1905-06                      Bethlehem                                          Musselman, H B

1907-09                      Bethlehem                                          Roth, J C

1910-13                      Bethlehem                                          Brunner, C H

1914-19                      Bethlehem                                          Hottel, W S

1920-22                      Bethlehem                                          Brunner, C H

1923-31                      Bethlehem                                          Hottel, F M

1932-44                      Bethlehem                                          Stengele, P T

1945-53                      Bethlehem                                          Wolf, N H

1954-58                      Bethlehem                                          Heffner, W A

1959-63                      Bethlehem                                          Hartman, W W

1964-79                      Bethlehem                                          Herb, F L

1980-84                      Bethlehem                                          Johnson, R F

1985-94                      Bethlehem                                          Fritz, H J

1994-98                      Bethlehem                                          Head, J D

1995-                          Bethlehem                                          Cooper, B H


1885 - February 2

page 152 [first reference to Bethlehem in minutes]

Resolved: That a division of Circuits be made. Divided as follows:

5. Coopersburg, Bethlehem, Ruch's and Springtown

Gospel Banner Notes

June 15, 1884 - page 92

Bethlehem, Pa.

Dear Brother Editor:– I love to read the Banner, because you use such simple language, and have a particular page for correspondents. Thinking you might be glad to hear from this part of Pennsylvania, I will, by the help of God, write a few lines.

            We are yet rejoicing over the happy time spent at “Chestnut Hill” last summer, where the power of God was so wonderfully revealed unto us. It makes me glad to think that the time is fast approaching when we expect to meet again to have a season of refreshing for our souls.

            We have passed through days of trials and difficulties; but thanks be to God who has helped us to fight the enemies we have to contend with. We are still on our way to Zion, and pray that we may remain faithful unto the end.

            May the Lord grant us health, so that we will be able to attend the camp-meeting. If we should not meet there, we hope and pray that we may meet where there will be no more parting or pain, and where we will praise our Savior for evermore for what he has done for us.

Yours in Christ,

Annie Heller.

October 1, 1884 - page 148

[Excerpt of a report from William Gehman on Chestnut Hill Camp Meeting]

Vera Cruz, Pa., Sept. 10, ‘84.

            The meetings were well attended each day, especially so on Sunday. There were probably five thousand persons on the ground that day, but there was no disturbance of any kind. The unseen hand of Providence, and the fact that we had no restaurant, is ascribed as the main reasons for the good order. Notwithstanding the fact that we had no eating house, we heard of no one starving among the large assembly. At the close of the meeting, fourteen converts were baptized and added to the church. At this meeting we received a Macedonian cry from Bethlehem. We expect soon to take our tabernacle to that city and cast the Gospel net in the name of the Lord of hosts.

            Beloved brethren in the ministry, let us press forward, for the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.

            Your Brother in Christ

                                    Wm. Gehman.

February 1, 1886 - page 9.

            Being a reader of the Banner, and seeing so many testimonies as to the healing of the body by faith in the Lord Jesus, I will also honor my Saviour by testifying to His healing, as well as His saving power.

            About three months ago my sickness, which was Catarrh in the head, became very annoying, and I found it necessary to do something to relieve it.

            Having used medicine on former occasions, I thought, why not use God’s way of healing the sick? I had often read those passages of Scripture where it speaks of healing the sick, but never could take hold of it by faith as now. When I would read it, it seemed to say, “If you have the anointing done, you will be healed.” I was determined to do so if an opportunity would be offered.

            It happened that we were having Tabernacle Meetings at that time, and Bro. Musselman of Coopersburg, and Bro. Musselman of Reading, being here, they consented to do the anointing.

            I will here state that in the morning of the appointed day, I took my Bible, and said, “Lord, what shall I do?” On opening the Word of God, my hand rested on the 14th and 15th verses of the fifth chapter of St. James. In the afternoon of the same day we met at the house of a brother in Christ, and upon being anointed, the power of God came upon us, and I realized my Catarrh was gone. Praise God, I believe in God’s healing power.

            Yours in Christ

                                    Annie M. Heller

Bethlehem, Pa., January 9th, 1886

November 1, 1886 - page 4

Dear Editor:– God bless you and the brother printer, with all who love the dear Saviour.

            I am well as also my family, and we are thankful to the Lord for all temporal blessings; but more especially for His Holy Spirit, which help me still to think and speak; may I be humble and also meek, yes, may I daily watch and pray, while I am on this heavenly way!

            I am encouraged to work on in my weakness for my Master, knowing for a certainty that my night of death will surely come, when my work on earth will be done.

            By the request of our P. E. Wm. Gehman, I bought a lot on which to build a house of worship. The lot costs $400.00, of which I paid $100.00. Our class here is small and nearly all poor; therefore we need your assistance. May the Lord incline may honest hearts and hands, in helping us in the erection of a “plain house” for God, where the “plain truth” is preach and a plain, honest people may worship without hypocricy. Pray much for me dear pilgrims. I need the prayers of the faithful very much. Eld. Eus. Hershey

                                    Bethlehem, Pa. Oct. 14th 1886.

December 15, 1886 - page 6

Good News from Bethlehem Pa.

            We commenced our protracted meeting on the 6th of Dec. On Sunday the 5th I filled my regular appointment, and a very good feeling existed among the little flock, and on Monday evening two souls humbled themselves before the Lord, the one a boy of ten years, the other a married woman. Both remained on their knees in their seat. Both prayed for pardon, but especially the boy, William Moyer by name, and in about one hour he was blessed, and praised the Lord for what He had done for him. The next morning, when he came down stairs he told his mother he had thanked the Lord for watching over him through the night, and asked Him for His guidance through the day. His father being absent from family worship, he read the first part of the 4th chapter in Phillipians, and the mother lead in prayer, and he frequently responded with amen. He wrote a letter to his grandmother, telling her: “I found Jesus precious to my soul last evening, and He was lovely and sweet, etc. I am going to serve Him till I die. Please pray for me that I may hold out faithful to the end. On Tuesday evening, afer preaching a short sermon from Ps. 40:1-3., the invitation was extended for such who would seek the Lord. The woman who had made a start the previous evening prayed for pardon, and the little band exercised faith in the Lord. Little William stood beside his father, joining in singing the songs of Zion in earnest, and it pleased the Lord to raise the distressed soul out of the “horrible pit and miry clay, and set her feet on the rock, and put a new song in her mouth, even praises to God,” and she was not backward in giving all the glory to God.

            I and the few members are much encouraged to labor for souls. Pray for us, for we have underground and open opposition, but we remember Paul’s language, “If God be for us, who can be against us! Romans viii: 31.

If God be for us, we’ll succeed,

Though opposition we may meet,

If we’re on our Savior’s side,

In His promise we may still confide,

The cause is God’s and must prevail,

The enemy tempts us to assail;

The victory for Christ is sure to come

If faithful we our work have done.

                                    Eld. Eus. Hershey

            Bethlehem, Pa.

December 1, 1888 - page 12-13.

A Dedication and Convention

            The dedication and convention which were held according to announcement began in full power on Saturday evening Nov. 10th. Presiding Elder Wm. Gehman came early on Saturday in good spirits, and till evening Elders F. W. Berkheiser and Oswin Hillegas were present too, and Eld. Berkheiser preached an appropriate sermon for the occasion, and after the sermon there was a general consecration of preachers and all Christians, which was acceptable to God; and great was the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. On Sunday morning Elds. M. A. Zyner, Joshua E. Fidler, A. B. Gehret and John Krauss also appeared, with many of the Lord’s people from different places, so that the new house was filled up all day. Presiding Eld. Wm. Gehman preached a powerful sermon in the morning after which there was some collecting done of which the out come proved to be $368.00. We took a common dinner (had all things common) prepared in the prayer meeting room of the church. At two o’clock in the afternoon, meeting opened. Eld. F. W. Berkheiser preached the word to an attentive audience after which $135.00 more was collected which made $500.00 in all, (what was needed to pay for the church) after which the church was dedicated, Wm. Gehman P. E. officiating. All was done joyfully, and great peace and joy prevailed. Sanctification keeps people sweet even when money is needed. Hallelujah! The church building is 50 x 36 ft. and the total cost of house, lot, heater, fence, etc., is $3300.00 the great storm which passed through this part of the country, added some to the costs, but the brethren of Bethlehem believe in paying their debts. Not one drew back. They all gave. They all gave according to their several abilities. They all gave cheerfully. Not only they but many who do not belong to the M. B. C. Church aided us, while also the brethren from the other places had open hands and hearts, so that we can say: “In union there is strength,” glory to God! Who had His hand in the work from the beginning unto the end. There was peace prevailing through the entire convention. Many thanks are continually offered to God for His helping power, and we will also thank our brethren from others places for the love and aid we have received from them. In the evening Elds. Joshua E. Fidler and Oswin Hilegas preached, after which the altar, 25 ft. long was filled with seekers for the power for service, which was not in vain, for one after the other was filled with the Holy Ghost and many “old time” shouts ascended. On Monday morning the convention proper was open by Wm. Gehman who preached a powerful sermon. In the afternoon Eld. G. A. Campbell, who arrived in the morning preached a very spiritual sermon which was followed by altar services. In the evening Eld. L. B. Heller from Newark, N. J., arrived. Eld. Berkheiser preached a powerful sermon followed by Eld. Heller after which there was once more a consecration meeting, which was owned by God. On Tuesday morning Eld. J. M. Hartzel, of the Reformed Church, preached on sanctification. His sermon made a general impression. Bro. L. B. Heller had charge of early prayer meeting which was also very interesting. His theme was “divine healing.” In the afternoon Eld. L. B. Heller had charge and many were anointed for healing and also healed. All praise for a living God in Whom we can trust. His promise “according to thy faith be it unto you,” may be fulfilled even to-day. Hallelujah! In the evening Eld. Hartzel preached another sermon on the word “Mighty to save.” Sinners came forward for forgiveness, and believers for sanctification. His labors were greatly appreciated. May he ever abide in Jesus. On Wednesday morning Eld. Hilegas preached and was followed by Eld. Meyer of the U. B. Church. The Lord was with us. Eld. Meyer preached in the afternoon from “The Lord is a Sun,” followed by Eld. M. A. Zyner, after which altar services were held and God wonderfully revealed Himself to His saints. In the evening our beloved brother Reading Beatty Johns, pastor of the A. M. E. Church of Reading, preached a powerful sermon which was convicting to the sinner and edifying to the saints, he also gave urgent invitations for sinners and believers to come forward for salvation and sanctification until the altar was full and a mighty power prevailed, glory to God. On Thursday morning Eld. J. E. Fidler preached an earnest sermon to not so large an audiance on account of rain, but God was in the meeting. Eld. R. B. Johns preached again in the afternoon of “Faith” after which some more were anointed according to James, and others were gloriously sanctified. In the evening writer preached.

            This convention proved to be a great blessing to many pilgrims and eternity alone will tell what has been done. Our people here are eagerly looking forward to our next convention which will be held at Quakertown commencing Jan 1st, 1889. May God wonderfully bless our beloved Bro. Campbell in his undertaking. So much from your brother under the blood.

                                    Wm. B. Musselman

            Bethlehem, Pa., Nov. 20th, 1888.

Eastern Gospel Banner - May 2, 1918 - page (15) 287

Bethlehem, Pa. – We found the work at this place in a fine, flourishing condition. All of the officers were present, and the reports given were most inspiring. The various offerings for the quarter were exceptionally large, being beyond anything known heretofore. The building fund is being swelled, and a committee was appointed to look after plans for the building of a new church... H. B. Musselman, P. E.

Eastern Gospel Banner - October 10, 1918 - (15) 655

Bethlehem, Pa. – ... The building fund has been swelled to almost $7,000. ... H. B. Musselman, P. E.

Yearbook 1919 - page 44

Report of the Presiding Elder of the Bethlehem District

            A church building is now in course of erection, on the purchased lot on Main St., Bethlehem, Pa. The building will occupy the entire lot on which it stands and measures fifty-five and one-half feet front on Main Street, and ninety-five and one-half feet deep on Durham Street, with an approximate seating capacity of 1200. The main floor will seat about 450. The class at this place has been contributing nobly, and sacrifices are being made by them to finance this much-needed project.

Eastern Gospel Banner - May 1, 1919 - page (14) 286

Bethlehem, Pa. – ...It was decided to start the building of a new church on the purchased lot on Main Street, at once. This will have been the last services held in the old church building, as the same will be torn down. The plans for the new church are all made and arrangements have already been made on some lines to proceed with the preliminaries. Sunday services will in the future be held in the public school auditorium, which has been secured for this purpose until the new church is built.

Eastern Gospel Banner - June 26, 1919 - page (15) 415

Bethlehem, Pa. – The services at this place were held in the auditorium of the Franklin school building. The attendance was quite good at all of the services. Both young and old are standing together in the work. The former church building has been torn down, and the foundation wall is being put up on the purchased lot for a new church building. The class is doing well in assisting in the work on all lines. The pastor, W. S. Hottel, is kept busy in conjunction with the building committee, in seeing the work move on, and in making the necessary arrangements for the same. Everybody appears to have good courage, and is anxiously looking forward for the completion of this much needed house of worship.

                                    H. B. Musselman, P. E.

Eastern Gospel Banner - February 19, 1920 - page (15) 127

Church Dedication at Bethlehem

            For about 8 months the congregation of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ at Bethlehem, Pa., held all their regular services in the Franklin school building auditorium, corner of Center Street and North Street, due to the fact that when building operations began on the new house of worship, the former edifice was torn down, so as to obtain the lumber to be used for scaffolding, aw well as a part of it to be used in the new edifice.

            The weekly prayer meetings during all this while were held in the homes of the different members and friends of the congregation. All this while the members of the congregation were busily engaged, doing whatever they cold in helping along the work on the new building. While working, there were also expectantly looking forward to the day when the opening services would be held and the building formally dedicated to the worship of God and the preaching of His word.

            That day came at last, and so, on Sunday February the eighth, the pilgrims gather for the first time, for worship and to hear the Word of the Lord preached, in the new building. They gathered early and at 9:15 o’clock the first hymn was sung. A season of prayer and thanksgiving followed.

            Elder W. G. Gehman, of Easton, Pa., presiding elder of the Mt. Carmel District, preached the morning sermon.

            Pastor C. H. Brunner, of Allentown, Pa., the former pastor of the Bethlehem congregation, preached in the afternoon.

            Elder H. B. Musselman, of Bethlehem, Pa., presiding elder of the Bethlehem District preached in the evening. The brethren were blessedly used of the Lord in preaching the Word. The messages were full of inspiration; they were most practical and helpful, as well as fraught with scriptural principles and spiritual power.

            The attendance was most remarkable, considering the fact that all the local trolley lines were tied up and had to suspend operations on account of the blizzard. Even walking was quite hard and difficult, and, the only way the people from the distant ends of the city had to come to the service was, by foot. The spacious auditorium was nicely filled at the morning service. At the afternoon service the prayer meeting room at the east end of the building and the Sunday School room at the west end, had to be thrown open to accommodate all in attendance. The congregation at the evening service was almost as large as that in the afternoon service.

            We were very glad to have a large number of the dear pilgrims from Allentown present at the afternoon service. Pastor E. N. Cassel of South Allentown, Pa., was also present with a number of his people, as well as several brethren from Coopersburg, Pa. All told, the occasion was a grand one.

            The offerings and the pledges throughout the day were large and liberal. The dear pilgrims have certainly responded most cheerfully and liberally, all along the line to the appeal of need, created by the need for a new, a larger, and a more commodious house of worship. The brethren from Allentown and the other heretofore-mentioned places also helped along in the offerings, and seemed quite glad to do so. We wish for the pilgrims at Allentown the same joy that ours at Bethlehem now, namely, the joy of a much needed larger house of worship. We pray God to speed the day when this joy may be theirs. The many friends present also contributed freely and a goodly number quite largely. We have received many contributions from people who are not members of the congregation, one dear friend giving the sum of $700.00. Quite a number of outsiders gave us $100.00 each.

            Our presiding elder, H. B. Musselman, rendered most valuable services in helping to raise these offerings and pledges. Indeed, he was right in his element, doing so.

            We have just this word more to say: “We praise God for His help and blessing and for answering our prayer.” A neighbor lady was heard saying, “Every time I look down there and see that new Mennonite Church, I must say that it is an answer to prayer.” We say a hearty “Amen” to this.

                                    W. S. Hottel, Pastor.

Yearbook 1920 - page 40

Report of the Presiding Elder of the Bethlehem District

            The new church built on the lot at Main and Durham Streets, Bethlehem, at a cost of almost $37,000, has been dedicated to the worship of Almighty God in the early part of the year, and is now being made good use of. The building is neat but plain, and has been affording ample room to accommodate all who desire to come. The class and friends have done most nobly in subscribing and contributing towards the paying of this building. The brethren stood by the pastor in a most creditable manner, and we wish to give both pastor and people their due honour in the sacrifices made in this behalf. May this Church be used for God’s glory and be flooded with Divine power, in a manner even exceeding the former Church building, which had been so signally used for God, for these many years...