Proclamation was founded in 1989 by a group of Christians with connections in the Mainline area of Western Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, and beyond. Many of them were either new Christians, or else had been helped significantly in their Christian experience through careful Bible teaching. Their vision and desire was to share the kind of teaching that had been such a help to them with the community in and around the Bryn Mawr area.
In their early days they met in temporary venues – initially in the offices of the local Water Company and then in the Chapel of the Good Samaritan Church in Paoli – before finding a more permanent place to meet in the American College on South Bryn Mawr Avenue. While there, they were able to acquire a site of their own on adjoining property on which they were able to build a Sanctuary and Education Wing.
At an early stage in its life, Proclamation affiliated itself to the Presbyterian Church in America – a Presbyterian denomination that is Reformed and Evangelical in its beliefs and practices. Not long after that the church called Rev. Dr. Peter Lillback to be its Senior Pastor and he served the congregation in that capacity for the next 20 years.
The church then asked Rev. Mark Johnston to take up the role of Senior Pastor. A native of Northern Ireland, he had trained for the ministry in the early 1980’s at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia and had subsequently returned to Ireland to be involved in church planting work. He went from there to London, England in 1994 to pastor Grove Chapel, an historic Independent church on the edge of the inner city, for the next sixteen years.
One of the great passions Proclamation has had from its inception – enshrined in the name the congregation chose for itself – is to see the good news of Jesus Christ and his salvation being spread all over the world. Christian Missions have always been given a high profile in the church and over the years the congregation has provided generous support for many missionaries who serve throughout North America and also in numerous countries overseas.
As with every story, the story of Proclamation is still being told and everyone who becomes part of the church in a very real and living way becomes a part of it.