Germantown, the site of the first permanent settlement of Mennonites in America, has been called "The Gateway of American Mennonitism," through which most North American Mennonites have symbolically passed. Thirteen Dutch Mennonite families led the way, when on October 6, 1683, they arrived in Philadelphia on the ship, the Concord. They located six miles north of Philadelphia in what became known as Germantown. More Dutch Mennonite families continued arriving, and then in 1707 Palatine Mennonite families followed, uniting with the Germantown congregation. In 1708 they erected a log meetinghouse, replacing it in 1770 with the present Meetinghouse, now some 236 years old.
Two historically significant events took place in Germantown. In 1688 the first protest against slavery in America was signed. Then in 1725 Mennonites held their first general conference, where they adopted the Dordrecht Confession of Faith, a Dutch confession dating to 1632. These two events laid the foundation for what would always be key foci for Mennonites – stating their faith clearly and expressing their faith through action in the way they lived.
The Historic Meetinghouse in Germantown belongs to all Mennonites and continues to stand, majestically and symbolically, as a witness to those many who for the sake of Christ and conscience have followed, over the centuries, this Mennonite path leading to North America.
Tours of the Historic Mennonite Meetinghouse are available by appointment. Call us to arrange your visit and make plans to: