History of the Maple Glen Church
Please Note: Rev. Louis Prontnicki has written a book about our first 100 years. If you would like a copy, it is available for a $10 donation, with checks payable to Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church. Click here for our address information.
The church began in 1903 as a mission under the leadership and vision of Rev. Charles H. Brunner, who was the president of the Gospel Herald Society. It was a church and a training ground for young men who wanted to serve the Lord in ministry. Evangelistic services were held every evening; gospel tent meetings were conducted on Philadelphia street corners during warm weather, and Gospel Herald magazines were sold house-to-house and in saloons. The members of the church were very dedicated in their prayers, service, and outreach.
The Salem Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, as it was then called, initially met at a three-story house at 2310 Germantown Avenue; but the congregation found a more permanent home at 3360 Goodman Street (just east of where Temple University Hospital now stands) from 1907 until 1924. Later, from 1924 to 1963, the congregation worshipped on McFerran Street, just above Broad and Erie, in the Hunting Park section of the city. Finally, after meeting in the Germantown YMCA for 2 years, the church built a new structure in the suburbs of Maple Glen, where it has been since 1965. In 1959, the Mennonite Brethren in Christ denomination had changed its name to Bible Fellowship, so the church was renamed the Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church. (For more about the Bible Fellowship Church, click here.)
The church has a rich history of giving its members away. Dozens of men and women have gone out from the congregation to serve the Lord as pastors, missionaries, teachers, and other servants for Him. Many who have come through the doors of the church just for a short time have been enriched by their fellowship here, and the church has richly benefited from their contributions.
In 1922 the Lord used the Salem Church to launch a daughter church, which is now the Wissinoming Bible Fellowship Church. In the 1930s and 40s, the church grew and was on fire, as many young people were converted, discipled, and went out to serve the Lord. The pastor and lay leaders provided the spark for some significant theological changes in the Bible Fellowship denomination in the 1950s and 60s. A number of pro-life organizations in the area can trace their roots to Gods work in the church in the late 1970s and early 80s. There was a vibrant outreach both to college students and to the deaf community during the same time period. Many students from Westminster, Biblical, and Reformed Episcopal Seminaries, as well as students from Arcadia (Beaver College), Temple Ambler, and Temple Tyler School of Art have found a home away from home at the Maple Glen Church.
Though the church has had its share of ups and downs, God has graciously kept this church for over 100 years as a place where the whole counsel of God has been faithfully proclaimed, and where there has been a warm fellowship of saints. May the Lord continue to shed His grace on this church, for His glory, for the spread of His Gospel, and for the edification of His people!
Pastors of the Church:
1906-1908 Paul J. Musselman
1909-1911 J. G. Shireman
1911-1914 W.J. Fretz
1914-1923 Franklin M. Hottel
1923-1933 Charles H. Brunner
1933-1946 G. F. Yost
1946-1952 Walter H. Frank
1952-1958 John E. Golla
1958-1967 Donald T. Kirkwood
1968-1971 William Franklin
1971-1988 Carl K. Spackman
1989 (Interim) Charles M. Snyder
1990-present Louis Prontnicki
Missionaries Sent Out From The Church:
1941 – Robert and Marcella Rampy: Venezuela
– Jack and Marianna Riggall: Kentucky Mountain Mission
1949 – Herb and Betty Dyke: India
1952 – Walter and Ethel Frank: Greater European Mission
1956 – J. Barclay and Dorothy Harley: Venezuela
1980 – Jeffrey and Lois Stickler: Lehigh Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center
1983 – Mark and Dayna Blair: Uganda
1985 – William and Linda Dougherty: Morocco
– Louis and Lynn Prontnicki: Jordan
1988 – David and Becky Riddell: France
1991 – Laurel Kehl: Russia
– Amy Ciavola: Hawaii
1994 – Brad and Lynn Jankowski: Student Venture/Florida
1995 – Maggie Gallo: UFC/ Philadelphia
2000 – Bruce and Heather Beal: Mexico