Congregational Profile: Ambler Mennonite Church

by Dorcas Lehman, Interim Pastor 

90 E Mt Pleasant Ave, Ambler. Photo by Randy Martin

Ambler Mennonite Church is located on the corner of Mt Pleasant Avenue and N. Spring Garden Street in the borough of Ambler, Montgomery County, PA, 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

We want our neighbors, near or far, to know that when you join us for Sunday morning worship, you will find a small congregation that loves to sing, listen to scripture, share concerns and joys, pray for each other and the world, and inspire one another in the way of Jesus. As part of a historic peace church, we hope to share that much-needed perspective, and to live it ourselves.

Whether you arrive by walking, driving, or public transit, you will notice a Monarch butterfly station, a little free library, and a rain garden, reflecting our enjoyment of neighbors, care for the earth, and desire to add beauty to our block.

Our mission statement says: “We are a diverse community of believers following Jesus in building relationships by serving those among and around us with love, and offering the good news of peace, hope, and healing.”

AMC in front of the rain garden. Photo by Glenn Lehman

As a church that began as a mission with ministries to children and youth, we may have thought, “When we serve others, they may want to be part of us.” But now we think, “We want to provide opportunities for people who want to serve God and contribute to the community, whether or not they become part of the congregation.”

During the past year, we’ve become stronger by honestly facing questions of sustainability, and discovering a wide range of ideas for renewal. Now we’re ready to discern collective vision, and to grow beyond the current number of 45 or so congregants, which reflects a decline from earlier decades.

We come from a variety of backgrounds in culture, ethnicity, education, and lifestyles, and we come together as a worshiping community with Jesus at the center. Some of us live in the borough, and others commute.  Intergenerational relationships are strong. You will especially sense this if you visit on the day of a monthly potluck meal, where you will hear lively conversations rise around good food.

Sylvie and Lena packing Boxes of Love. Photo by Randy Martin

We share a desire for an increased presence in the neighborhood, and renewed connection with other Mennonite congregations nearby. During the Lent-Easter season, we hold joint services with Church of the Brethren, Lutheran, and United Church of Christ congregations. In May, we provide meals and overnight volunteers for the Interfaith Hospitality Network’s emergency shelter program. We fill Boxes of Love with food supplies and support the Wissahickon Valley Boys and Girls Club.

This spring, during Lent, we are following the initiative of Mennonite Church USA’s Creation Care Network to learn, pray, and act in relation to climate injustice. Through Sunday school and worship, we’re noticing the ways that caring for God’s creation is an act of discipleship.

We view ourselves as having a history of capable leadership and gifted laity. We are rooted in a mission initiative that began in 1952, when young adults from larger congregations in Franconia Conference began Sunday school classes in the borough. From that beginning, Summer Bible School was added, then came house church, and the building of the current meetinghouse in 1961.

Pastors Michelle and Jacob Curtis. Photo by Randy Martin

We honor that history, and value the older generation’s wisdom, energy, and resources, even as we transfer leadership and prepare to renew our children and youth ministries.

We are happy to introduce our new co-pastors, Michelle and Jacob Curtis, who will begin their ministry with us in May 2020.

Prayer requests:

  • for Michelle and Jacob Curtis as co-pastors, and our church, as we begin our journey in mutual ministry
  • for wisdom and insight as we discern a collective vision, and move through generational change
  • for creativity and resilience of spirit as we, along with other churches, find ways to practice social solidarity even as we practice social distancing, due to the viral pandemic