Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (VGMC) is a church with a full history. Since the collapse of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled their homeland and came to the United States. Many congregations in Franconia Mennonite Conference and other denominations in southeastern PA assisted in resettling these individuals and families.
In September 1977, Luke Martin, who had served in Vietnam as a missionary, moved with his family to Allentown, PA to pastor the Allentown Mennonite Church. Occasionally, he and his wife, Mary, organized Bible studies for Vietnamese immigrants at Methacton Mennonite Church (Norristown, PA). Other Mennonite congregations invited Luke and Mary Martin, Quang Xuan Tran (a Vietnamese immigrant who had served as a Mennonite pastor in Vietnam), and Donald Sensenig to lead Vietnamese Bible study and worship services for the refugees during this time.
In 1983, Vietnamese Christian Fellowship (VCF) was formed, meeting in the old schoolhouse near Penn View Christian School (Souderton, PA). From 1984-1987, Hao Duy Tran was the leader of VCF, assisted by his wife, Rose Tran. After Hao Duy resigned in 1987, the church disbanded for a brief time. In 1988 Luke Martin assumed pastoral leadership of the Vietnamese Christian Fellowship and the congregation began to meet again. Ca Nguyen and Phi Tran moved from Philadelphia to Telford, PA to support the leadership of the church.
In April 1996, Thanh Cong Pham was installed as pastor. By the end of May 1996, the congregation began to meet regularly on Sunday mornings, using the Franconia Conference Center in Souderton, PA as their gathering place. On June 2, 1996, Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church (VGMC) was formally organized with bylaws, a church council, and a membership list (23 members). VGMC was received as a member of Franconia Mennonite Conference on November 8. 1996. In 2004, the congregation was able to secure the use of Allentown (PA) Mennonite Church building and has been meeting there since.
During the next ten years, the congregation had different leaders, but since 2016, Pastor Bao has served as the regular pulpit preacher and now pastor. Pastor Bao lives and works in New York City but commits to driving himself each Sunday to preach at VGMC. In 2019, Pastor Bao was licensed for ministry with Franconia Mennonite Conference.
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