We are a community of Christians who seek to learn, grow + glorify God.
Established in 1863, our church has a rich history.
The movement that became the Moravian Church was started by John Hus in the late fourteenth century. Hus objected to some of the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and wanted to return the church in Bohemia and Moravia to the simpler practices of early
Liturgy in the language of the people
Having lay people receive communion in both kinds (bread and wine)
Eliminating indulgences and the idea of purgatory.
The movement gained royal support and a certain independence for a while, but was eventually forced to be subject to the authority of Rome. Hus was tried and burned at the stake. Moravians officially declared themselves to be a church on March 1, 1457. They became
renowned for their mission work which was aimed at making people Christians rather than making them Moravians. Moravians are found in Europe, North America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and India. Being a Moravian looks very much like being a Lutheran, or Methodist or other mainline Protestant Church member. During recent years Moravians have reached ‘full communion’ agreements with the Lutheran, United Methodist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches. By such agreement there is mutual recognition of each other’s church and each may share in the ministries of each other. While Moravians have many practices in common with other denominations, one tradition that is singular is the Lovefeast which is held to celebrate special occasions, such as anniversaries, in the life of the church. Another noted practice is to gather in the cemetery at daybreak on Easter Sunday to affirm the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Story of Palmyra Moravian
The Moravian Church in America saw a great, exciting, strong home mission program in the middle nineteenth century. One of the men most active in this movement was the Reverend Phillip Henry Gapp. Reverend Gapp worked out of Philadelphia under the auspices of the Philadelphia Home Missionary Society and was drawn to the Palmyra area by a Philadelphia Brother. There, Gapp found a group of believers who had no organized church. Every Sunday afternoon, he traveled to Palmyra by steamboat and held meetings in the believers’ homes. In the winter, when no steamboats went, he traveled during the week on the railroad and held evening services.
In the absence of Brother Gapp, the service was led by Brother George Frank and Brother George Hintermeir. Brother Frank and his wife started the first Sunday School for the children of the area. Meetings in the farm houses were attracting so many that a larger meeting place was needed. Ground for the church building was purchased in 1860 and building commenced in 1862. The church building was completed the following year and the consecration was held on May 17, 1863 by the Right Reverend Samuel Reinke. The congregation was formally organized on that same date with a charter membership of nineteen people.
When the Centennial celebration of the Palmyra Moravian Church was held in May of 1963, there were 225 communicant members. The Sunday School that had met in the home of one of the original members, now brought Christian education to two hundred and twenty-five students. What had, in the beginning, been a tiny little home mission congregation, served by a Brother who came from Philadelphia in good weather on the steamboat, and on foul days on the single track railroad facility, had done far more than survive the unexpected changes of time, it had grown and thrived in all it did - a work given over to the Lord and blessed with His grace.