First Fellowship Church!
First Fellowship Church is an independent church in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Previously known as the First Methodist Church, the church disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church in 2023.
The next chapter of our story is only beginning.
At New Bethlehem First Fellowship Church, our mission is to glorify God through worship, prayer, and the study of His word. We are committed to fostering a loving & welcoming community, where all can grow in faith, share God’s love with others, and serve our neighbors.
We are located in a beautiful 130 year old building with amazing original hardwood and traditional worship elements!
Introducing the New Bethlehem First Fellowship Church!
A pillar of faith in New Bethlehem, the First United Methodist Church has long stood as a symbol of devotion and service. However, because of doctrinal differences and leadership capacities, the congregation voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and become an independent congregation.
This decision was made after careful consideration and prayer and in alignment with a new vision for the future. As an independent church, the congregation will have the freedom to shape their own identity and theological direction. The true strength of a church lies not only in its theological teachings, but also in the bonds of friendship and shared experiences that bring people together.
The New Bethlehem First Fellowship Church eagerly looks forward to this new chapter and the continued growth of the congregation. As the church embarks on this journey together, everyone is invited to experience the love, joy, and sense of belonging with us.
The congregation continues to meet for Sunday morning worship beginning at 11:00 am at 234 Penn Street.
Methodism in New Bethlehem dates back to 1838 when services were held in the log house of Phillip Hoffman, the location of which is now 341 Broad Street. Smith’s Schoolhouse, about one-half mile out of town, was also used for services until 1848, when a school was built in New Bethlehem and the religious services transferred to it.
The First United Methodist Church was built in New Bethlehem in 1853 and dedicated in February 19, 1854. This church, which was a plain, wooded structure and which served the needs of the congregation for 42 years, stood on the location of the paved parking lot in back of the present church.
Our first ministers were the Rev. George Reeser and the Rev. Ahab Keller who were itinerant ministers out of the Curllsville Charge in 1849. Our church became a station appointment in 1901, except during the years of 1954-1965, when Leasure Run Church was also served by the New Bethlehem pastors.
The church was the place of Worship for the Methodists until 1896, when our present church was completed and dedicated April 19, 1896. An addition to the church was constructed in 1927.
In recent years several changes have been added to the church.
In 1993, the Cross and Flame was added to the Lafayette Street side of the church. The steeple was also added that year.
In 1996, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary. A cabinet was built in the narthex of the church for a membership chain. Each chain link represents a member of the church.
In 1998, the double bulletin board on the side front yard was built and the windows on the outside of the church were covered with new protective glass.
The 65+-year-old organ was renovated over a period of 3 years and completed in 2004. In 2005, a new roof was put on the entire church. The beautiful stain glass restoration project, which was to repair the lead in the windows, was finished in 2007.
In 2009, a project to replaster and paint the sanctuary and narthexes has begun.
In 2015, a new sound system was installed.
In 2023, the church successfully disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church due to doctrinal differences and became the New Bethlehem First Fellowship Church.