As pioneers moved out of Philadelphia in the early 1700’s, they established a settlement at a place they called Old Goshenhoppen. The origin of this name probably has its roots in the Indian chief called Shakahoppa who controlled much of the land along the Perkiomen Creek. The early settlers apparently Germanicized his name, and Shakahoppa’s region became the Goshenhoppen region. Our area, being closer to Philadelphia, was settled earlier, so it was called Old Goshenhoppen; the area around East Greenville was settled later and called New Goshenhoppen.
The settlers in our area came out of the established churches of Germany, the Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) churches. They established a Union church in which two congregations, one Lutheran and the other Reformed, shared one building in which they had their separate services. The first record of a Reformed worship service in this area was October 12, 1727. The two congregations purchased 38 acres from the sons of William Penn, and by 1732 they erected a log building which served as both a church and a schoolhouse. This building still stands behind our present (1858) church building. It has been restored as a monument to the faith of our spiritual forebearers.
In 1989, the Lutheran congregation separated and built a new church, Advent Lutheran Church, five miles away in the Harleysville/Lederach area. Our Reformed congregation remains in the original church. Our members come from not only Upper Salford Township but also from many surrounding communities. As we confess in the Apostle’s Creed, we are part of “the one, holy, catholic (i.e. universal) church. People from many different denominational and ethnic traditions have found a spiritual home at Old Goshenhoppen. Our life as a church family is centered in our faith in ‘the head of our household’, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the 280 years since it was first established, Old Goshenhoppen Reformed Church has seen many changes, but for this church “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb.13:8) Set on it’s little side road, many people find it to be an island of peace in our fast-paced world. The basic teachings of the Christian faith, which have sustained believers for 2000 years, remain the foundation of our faith. The content of our faith is summed up in the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism, a Reformation Confession of Faith that was dear to the founders of our church, and is still dear to us.
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Although written way back in 1563, its truth is timeless, and we at Old Goshenhoppen Reformed Church invite you to join with us and find “your only comfort” in the same Lord Jesus Christ.