Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled Vietnam at the collapse of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975 and for several years following. Many congregations in Franconia Mennonite Conference and other denominations in southeastern Pennsylvania assisted in resettling these individuals and families. After Luke Martin moved with his family to Allentown to pastor the Allentown Mennonite Church in September 1977, he and his wife Mary organized occasional home Bible study meetings. Methacton Mennonite Church near Norristown and other Mennonite congregations also invited the Martins, Quang Xuan Tran and Donald Sensenig to lead Vietnamese Bible study and worship services for the refugees.
As a new church planting within Franconia Mennonite Conference, the Vietnamese Christian Fellowship began meeting each Sunday in 1983 at Penn View Christian School in Souderton. Hao and Hong Tran accepted an invitation to lead these services in January 1984, and the meeting place was changed to Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton. In August 1984 the Fellowship adopted provisional bylaws with a leadership team. Hao Tran was licensed and installed as pastor in June 1985 and served until September 1987. Luke Martin assumed leadership of the Fellowship in June 1988. Ca Van Nguyen and his wife Phi Tuy Tran also moved to the Souderton area from Philadelphia to support the church. Since the families were so widely scattered, the church met on a revolving schedule in Allentown, Easton and Hatfield (Plains Mennonite Church) for several years. The church was reorganized with bylaws and a deacon committee on 2 June 1996 as the Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church with 23 members and received as a congregation within Franconia Mennonite Conference on 8 November 1996.
Thanh Cong Pham served as pastor from March 1998 until December 2005. True Vang served as part-time youth leader for two years 2004-2006. From May 1998 until April 2004 the congregation met in Souderton at the Franconia Mennonite Conference center. The congregation hosted the biennial conference of the North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship on 4-6 July 2003.
The congregation was able to secure the former Allentown Mennonite Church facilities located on South Sixth Street, Allentown and began meeting there in April 2004. Hien Tri Truong began serving as pastor in 2006. Membership in 2010 was 41 persons. Worship services and other activities are primarily in the Vietnamese language. Children’s activities are in English. Having no pianist in 2007, the worship music was sung karaoke-style. In 2010 the congregation instituted a band (piano, keyboard, guitars and drums).
Lapp, Helen. "New Citizens Blend Egg Rolls, Casseroles in U.S. Life, Faith." Franconia Conference News, 61, no. 5 (May 1997): 4.
Address: 811 S. Sixth Street, Allentown, PA 18103
North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship
Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church Pastors
Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church Membership
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Martin, Luke S. "Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/vietnamese_gospel_mennonite_church_allentown_pennsylvania_usa.
APA style: Martin, Luke S. (February 2012). Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/vietnamese_gospel_mennonite_church_allentown_pennsylvania_usa.