About Germantown Mennonite Church
Who We Are
What is a Mennonite? - Our community is connected to the Anabaptist community around the world, a Christian tradition emphasizing living out the life Jesus demonstrated, through peacemaking and community-building. .Many in our church come from Mennonite families and grew up as Anabaptist believers, and equally as many come from diverse Christian or other faith backgrounds. All are welcome!
What do we Believe? - As an Anabaptist community, we recognize that we are journeying towards these convictions that are central to our faith:
God, the creator of the universe, is a God of love, and longs for mercy and justice, both for humanity and creation.
We follow in the way of Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection teaches us how to live.
Jesus showed us a way of shalom, non-violence, and alternatives to empire responses of power and dominion over others.
As Jesus gathered his disciples together to eat with sinners and saints--throughout his ministry, at the last supper, and after the resurrection--we too gather, to share communion, to eat together, to share our joys and sorrows, and to give and receive counsel. We are part of each other’s lives, bound to each other in deep, meaningful ways.
Our discipleship leads us to serve God and others, and to have the grace and vulnerability to be served as well.
Water baptism is an expression of commitment to begin the journey of discipleship. We welcome those who desire to begin that journey to make a public confession of faith, and receive a blessing of the congregation and the Holy Spirit.
We study scripture with each other, aligning our story with the biblical story. We welcome the winds of the Holy Spirit to blow through us, giving us wisdom to discern where God is calling us.
We strive to live lives of simplicity, using our resources wisely, and recognizing the impact of our consumerism on God’s creation and on our spirits.
Thirteen Dutch Mennonite families arrived in Philadelphia on October 6, 1683, and settled on Lenape land in what became known as Germantown. At first, these families met in private homes and worshipped with Quaker families. In 1687, they authored the first protest by white people against slavery in North America.
The early settlers erected a log meetinghouse in 1708. In 1770, the log building was replaced with a stone structure. In the mid-1950s, with most of the regular attendees coming from the rural suburbs, this historic meetinghouse was almost sold.
The church’s revival began in the mid-1970s, when a concerted effort was made to gather the varied Mennonite graduate students and volunteer service workers within Philadelphia. The congregation began to grow numerically and assume an identity and vision for Mennonites who loved the city and felt a spiritual calling to live in an urban setting. A growing congregation soon made the 1770 meetinghouse obsolete. In 1993, after a couple of years as tenants in neighboring facilities, the Congregation purchased the present site at 21 West Washington Lane.
At that time, Germantown was a dually-affiliated congregation, being a member of both the Franconia and the Eastern district conferences. The relationship with Franconia lasted until October 1997 when Germantown was removed as a conference member, due to our full inclusion of LGBTQ people into membership. For similar reasons, the Eastern District also removed Germantown as a member congregation in November 2002. While we are outside of the body of Mennonite Church USA, we maintain many relationships with Mennonites in our region and around the world.
Raised on the plains of central Kansas, Jay Bergen is a third-generation Mennonite pastor, but don’t hold it against them. They have found God’s spirit in monasteries, street protests, neighborhood gardens, forests, pipeline blockades, singing circles, and more.
Jay graduated from Oberlin College in May 2014 and is pursuing an MDiv at Drew University. They enjoy playing music with friends, reading nerdy books, and organizing to end the violence of the carceral system with the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration.
They love working with young people and families, and is available for pastoral care and conversation on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Cate Michelle Desjardins
MDiv, MPH, BCC - Cate Michelle Desjardins (she/her) came to the Mennonite Church as a very young adult, finding a home in Anabaptist theologies of non-violence, reconciliation, and community. Cate received her MDiv from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and was Licensed for Ordination in 2017 as the 3rd openly LGBTQ clergy-person within MCUSA.
Before coming to GMC, Cate spent 5 years as a pediatric hospital chaplain, foster parent, and researcher in faith and medicine. Cate is passionate about walking with people through the ups and downs of life, contemplative expressions of faith (ask about her time living in a monastery!), and supporting health and wholeness in communities through faith-based advocacy.
Cate lives with her family in Mt. Airy. She loves museums, attempting to bake bread, learning languages, playing the harp, and watching Murder, She Wrote. She is available for pastoral care on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
As a “priesthood of all believers” we seek a leaderful community.
Click on the committee name below to contact current Committee chairs.
Church Council Co-Chair The mission of the Church Council Co-Chairs shall be to serve as an administrative leader and serve as the liaison connecting Church Council, pastors and the congregation; and work closely with its pastors at Germantown Mennonite Church.
Vision Team Vision Team provides leadership to Germantown Mennonite Church in discerning, articulating, and refining our purposes and vision as a congregation. It strives to listen to the whispers (or storms) of the Spirit that move among us. The Vision Team attempts to bring focus to those movements and to encourage them to take concrete shape in our lives as a community and individually as we seek to follow Jesus in ways that foster fullness of life for all. The team also holds responsibility for the spiritual and pastoral care of the congregation and its covenanters and attendees.
Peace and Social Concerns The committee provides resources for educating the congregation on local, national and international peace and justice issues and provides opportunities for action enabling the congregation to respond to these concerns.
Education Committee The committee’s mission is to oversee and facilitate all ministries of GMC that are involved in the Christian Education of children and adults at Germantown Mennonite Church and encourage the spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth of the children or adults in the congregation.
Trustee Committee The mission of the Trustees Committee is to be stewards and managers of the building and grounds where the church community meets for worship and fellowship. They have the foremost responsibility for respecting the community’s ownership and acting in accordance with its ramifications. The Trustees are preserving and protecting property rights as they pass from member to member, from pastor to pastor and from one generation to the next generation of believers.
Hospitality Committee The mission of the Hospitality Committee is to extend hospitality to congregation and visitors of Germantown Mennonite Church by creating a welcoming and accepting environment. They serve in concrete ways: greeting people arriving at worship, facilitating fellowship hour, celebrating special occasions and supporting the congregation during times of need.
Worship Committee Worship Committee seeks to guide the worship life of Germantown Mennonite Church in order to advance the praise of God by the congregation, enhance the spiritual life of those who take part in worship, and make worship relevant to the lived experience and local/world context of GMC participants.
Stewardship Committee The committee’s mission is to oversee and administer the financial and tangible resources of the church community. Stewardship committee’s job is to help the congregation understand how to be wise stewards of these resources to help fulfill the larger mission of Germantown Mennonite Church.