Worship at 10am Sundays. All are Welcome!
The historical roots of the current congregation of Christ Presbyterian Church of the Slate Belt can be traced to at least seven Slate Belt Protestant churches:
1. The Roseto Presbyterian Church was located on Garibaldi Ave. in the borough of Roseto. It was incorporated in 1892 and was the first church in that town. Most of its members were Italian immigrants and, in its earliest years, services were conducted in the Italian language.
2. The First Presbyterian Church of Pen Argyl was located on Jory Ave. in the borough of Pen Argyl and incorporated in 1883.
3. The First Presbyterian Church of Bangor was located on Second St. in the borough of Bangor and incorporated in 1871.
4. The Peniel Welsh Presbyterian Church of Bangor was located on North First St. in the borough of Bangor and incorporated in 1886. The congregation consisted of Welsh immigrants, and, in its earliest years, services were conducted in the Welsh language.
5. The Faith United Church of Christ of Pen Argyl, which began as Faith Reformed Church, was located on Pennsylvania Ave. in the borough of Pen Argyl and dedicated in 1904.
6. The Bangor Presbyterian Church was located in the former Peniel Presbyterian Church building after the Peniel congregation merged with the First Presbyterian Church of Bangor in 1948.
7. The Presbyterian Parish of Bangor-Roseto was created in 1972 and a new church built on Kennedy Blvd. was dedicated in 1973.
The above congregations agreed to the following mergers which clearly influenced the creation of Christ Presbyterian Church of the Slate-Belt:
In 1948, the Peniel Welsh Presbyterian Church of Bangor joined with the First Presbyterian Church of Bangor to form the Bangor Presbyterian Church, which thrived for approximately 25 years.
In 1968, the United Church of Christ of Pen Argyl merged with the First Presbyterian Church of Pen Argyl to create the Faith United Presbyterian of Pen Argyl. This larger congregation worshiped together for over 60 years.
In 1972, the congregations of the Roseto Presbyterian Church and the Bangor Presbyterian Church joined together to create the Presbyterian Parish of Bangor-Roseto which thrived for nearly 50 years. This congregation built the church and developed the property on Kennedy Blvd.
Most recently, on November 3, 2019, the congregations of the Presbyterian Parish of Bangor-Roseto and the Faith United Presbyterian Church of Pen Argyl merged with a special service that began at the Pen Argyl Church and ended at the Bangor-Roseto Church to create the Christ Presbyterian Church of the Slate Belt located at 332 Kennedy Drive, Bangor, PA 18013
The merger of two Slate Belt Presbyterian congregations to form a new church in the 21stCentury was recently described by an official of the Lehigh Presbytery as “rare indeed”. Sadly, efforts to merge by some congregations fail when participants are unable to agree on terms and conditions. Our church leaders remained focused and motivated to succeed. Unfortunately, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the successful work of merging two Presbyterian congregations in the Slate Belt occurred with little fanfare or celebration. The creation of a new church of Christian believers is certainly cause to rejoice and thank God for the blessings that will emerge from a new congregation.
While inconsequential differences of opinion may sometimes challenge us to better communicate and compromise, a look at our collective history yields stories of past Presbyterian and UCC church congregations who were moved by God to join together for the purpose of spreading God’s Word and sharing the joys of Christian fellowship.
While sharing a common pride of place, much like the “patch” towns of the coal regions to the north, past congregations shared lives that centered on a number of aspects of their common culture. Most congregants lead church-centered lives and found some connections to the slate industry, and, the textile and garment industries, which were the largest employers in the region. People shared the national challenges that came with the World Wars, the Depression, the Flu Pandemic and the Cold War. Interestingly, from our ancestral churches of the Slate Belt came contributions to the Homefront Magazine of World War II, an award-winning, ecumenical effort executed and funded through the collective Slate Belt community of churches. This locally-printed magazine reached Slate Belt soldiers and sailors around the world providing each with news of the slate region and its people.
The towns and villages of the Slate Belt have always been somewhat isolated from both the greater Lehigh Valley region and the tourist driven Pocono Mountain vacation area. That isolation helped to create a unique and colorful culture in the Slate Belt. The members of our parent congregations supported longstanding school rivalries, a cadre of generous local merchants and a long list of community celebrations that were scheduled throughout the year. The people of these congregations joined fraternal groups and fire companies that targeted the public good.
With few, if any, social services available, they sought advice from the same legendary doctors and attorneys without thinking about church affiliation. The foods and customs of the ethnic groups who settled in the Slate Belt provided generations of residents with uniquely “delicious” ways to express their pride of place. Roseto’s Big Time celebration, Bangor’s Welsh Day events, Pen Argyl’s Labor Day activities, car shows, Jacktown ice cream, pasties and saffron nubbies were all enjoyed by past congregations of the churches mentioned previously.
This is a brief outline of the rich and diverse heritage that is now shared by members of Christ Presbyterian Church of the Slate Belt. We have been richly blessed!