How it all started...
Proclamation Presbyterian Church began in 1988 with a small band of believers meeting to study the Bible and search for God’s direction. This “Ad Hoc Group,” as they referred to themselves, prayed to develop the wisdom and courage to start a new church in the area. Initially calling themselves “Main Line New Church,” the group, led by Dr. John Bechtel, spent much time working out the details of establishing a new church. Dr. Bill Hogan was invited to be the interim pastor, followed by Dr. George Fuller, president of Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, and others from there. It was decided that Main Line New Church would affiliate with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and change their name to Proclamation Presbyterian Church. Committed to missions, the church adopted the motto “Proclaiming the Word; Reclaiming the World.” After meeting for six months in a local church facility, Proclamation found a more permanent home at the American College in Bryn Mawr. The first service was held on June 10, 1990 with 130 in attendance. After a lengthy search, Dr. Peter Lillback was called to serve as the first pastor at Proclamation Presbyterian Church, and he began his ministry in March 1991.
While the American College facilities were initially adequate, the need for our own home became increasingly apparent as the congregation grew. We established a building fund in 1991 and three years later began looking for a suitable existing structure or land on which a church could be constructed. A site committee was formed, and after reviewing many options, a 9.2-acre site was selected and purchased from the American College. A building committee was established with the mission to maximize the utilization of the site. Consequently, a three-building plan was designed, including a sanctuary to seat 500 on the main floor, 150 in the balcony, and 55 in the choir loft; a Christian education building; and a fellowship hall. After much discussion and evaluation of the financial resources available, it was decided that the development of the site would be phased, with the sanctuary constructed during Phase I. The sanctuary was then re-designed with classrooms on the lower level and the administrative offices in the balcony. Ground-breaking for this facility occurred March 24, 1996, and the first service in the newly erected structure was conducted on Sunday, Nov. 2, 1997. The building was dedicated on Thursday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 14, 1997.
The church then asked Rev. Mark Johnston to take up the role of senior pastor. A native of Northern Ireland, he trained for the ministry in the early 1980s 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.