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. Prior to coming to Proclamation, Rev. Johnston served for 16 years as pastor of Grove Chapel, an historic Independent church on the edge of the inner city of London. Regrettably, he had to return to the United Kingdom after three and a half years because of visa challenges for his family.
In 2015, Proclamation called Rev. Ben Falconer to serve as their third Senior Pastor. Ben had previously served for 18 years at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI, as Campus Ministry Director to Michigan State University students for ten years, and then as Associate Pastor for eight. Ben moved with his wife and six kids in response to God’s call to Bryn Mawr and the Philadelphia area. He has a particular passion for preaching the glorious riches of God’s grace and has a heart for discipleship of students, future leaders in the church, and others who are eager to grow in their faith.
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.