Lehigh University students know Christmas-Saucon Hall as the oldest building on campus. Before it became an academic building, however, it was a place of worship. Moravians had constructed the building to house their growing congregation and serve the South Bethlehem community. The building was nearing completion around the time of Lehigh University’s founding in 1865. As a result, the church sold their building to the university in 1866 and moved to a site to the north of Packer Avenue. Two church buildings occupied the property on Packer Avenue. The first was consecrated in 1868 and according, to the South Bethlehem Semi-Centennial Book, “For over forty years the members worshiped in this building, when it was replaced by the beautiful, modern, thirty-thousand dollar brown-stone brick church, formally opened to the worship of God and the service of man, May 28, 1911.” First Moravian Church remained on this property until 1964. Just over one hundred years after the church sold their original building to Lehigh University they did so again to accommodate campus expansion. While the structure no longer stands, the congregation, now known as Advent Moravian Church, continues to serve the Lehigh Valley community from another location.
Did you ever worship at First Moravian Church? Do you remember what it looked like? If you have any memories of First Moravian Church or other places of worship in the Lost Neighborhood, please share them with us!
The photographs of First Moravian Church can be found in the 1915 South Bethlehem Semi-Centennial Book.
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On December 18, 1962 Lehigh's Brown and White newspaper ran a short story about the acquisition of the First Moravian Church at Packer Ave. and Webster St.
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Bethlehem, PA 18015
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015