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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.

Above: Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church exterior in 2007. Photo by Tim Moyer.Below: The VGMC choir at the Chinese New Year celebration, 2012. Photo by Emily Ralph. Both courtesy of Franconia Mennonite Conference.
Above: Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church exterior in 2007. Photo by Tim Moyer.Below: The VGMC choir at the Chinese New Year celebration, 2012. Photo by Emily Ralph. Both courtesy of Franconia Mennonite Conference.
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).

Bibliography

Lapp, Helen. "New Citizens Blend Egg Rolls, Casseroles in U.S. Life, Faith." Franconia Conference News, 61, no. 5 (May 1997): 4.

Additional Information

Address:  811 S. Sixth Street, Allentown, PA 18103

Affiliations:  

Franconia Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA

Mennonite Church USA

North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship  

Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church Pastors

Name Years of Service
Hao Huy Tran  1984-1987 
Luke S. Martin  1988-1996 
Thanh Cong Pham  1996-2005 
Hien Tri Truong  2006- 

Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1996  23 
2000  32 
2005  29 
2010  41 

Maps

Map:Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania)


Author(s) Luke S Martin
Date Published February 2012


Cite This Article

MLA style

Martin, Luke S. "Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 17 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Vietnamese_Gospel_Mennonite_Church_(Allentown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=96767.

APA style

Martin, Luke S. (February 2012). Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Vietnamese_Gospel_Mennonite_Church_(Allentown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=96767.




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