Calvary Moravian Church is a member of the international Protestant denomination popularly called the Moravian Church. For over 550 years the Moravian Church has proclaimed the gospel in all parts of the world, ministering to the needs of people wherever they are.
The Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren) as it has been officially known since 1457, arose from followers of Czech priest and reformer John Hus, east of Prague, Czech Republic. It draws its name from this region of Moravia in the Czech Republic. This was about 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church.
According to Gregory the Patriarch, considered the founder of Unitas Fratrum, what made a Christian was not doctrine or what he or she believed, but that a person lived his or her life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. He described these first Moravians as “people who have decided once and for all to be guided only by the gospel and example of our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy apostles in gentleness, humility, patience, and love for our enemies.” (Rican,History of the Unity)
Early in its history, the church developed their own hymnals and printed the Bible in the language of the people. Among our beloved Moravian leaders in the early years, Bishop John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) is renowned for transforming education worldwide.
The eighteenth century saw the renewal of the Moravian Church through the patronage of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a Lutheran nobleman, in eastern Germany, who motivated this community for international mission and ministry. Moravians founded Nazareth and Bethlehem, PA in 1740 and 1741, and then grew churches in this area including one in Coopersburg. After several mission effects by the church in Coopersburg in the early 1900‘s, Calvary was founded in 1939 as an outreach to the growing neighborhood on Allentown’s west side.
Calvary’s History Timeline
March 21, 1893 – First Moravian worship service held in Allentown by Rev. Clarence Romig
March 5, 1939 – Charter drawn for Allentown Moravian Church with 45 communicants
December 7, 1941 – First worship service at 21st and Livingston St church. During the service, a neighbor interrupted the proceedings with the news that there was an attack on our navy, in Pearl Harbor.
April 1, 1951 – New Christian Education wing dedicated
October 20, 2010 – New Belfry in place
Today there are more than one million members of the Moravian Church in the world. Most of them live in eastern Africa, but other majors centers include the Caribbean, South Africa, Winston-Salem, and the Lehigh Valley.
Though the Moravians played an important role in colonial American history, the church in North America numbers only about 60,000 (including Canada, Alaska, and Labrador). One of the reasons for the difference in membership between the United States and the rest of the world is that Moravians saw their distinct calling as bringing the good news of God’s infinite love to some of the more remote places in the world and often did not try to start new Moravian Churches in America.
Click here for a link to our denominational information on Moravian Covenant for Christian Living, our historic guidebook for living in a community and a church family.
Over the years, we have developed principles for Biblical interpretation, viewing the Bible as an important way to access the essentials of faith; God and our relationship to God and God’s children through faith, love and hope. Please click here for our Guiding Principles for Biblical Interpretation