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Diocese of Bethlehem
Province III (Middle Atlantic)
Bishop Paul V. Marshall
Cathedral Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Subdivisions — 
Suffragan Bishop(s) John P. Croneberger [1]
Parishes 68
Location of the Diocese of Bethlehem

The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem covers thirteen counties in Pennsylvania to the north and west of Philadelphia. The bishop is Paul V. Marshall. The cathedral is the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The pro-cathedral is St Stephen's, Wilkes-Barre.



In early Pennsylvania settlements, missionaries of the Church of Sweden and the Church of England had a cooperative relationship, and Anglicans often worshipped with the small Swedish congregations. As Sweden decreased support for these congregations, some were taken over by Anglican clergy.[2]In 1753, a former Swedish church near Hopewell Furnace became St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church.[3] St. Gabriel's later established a missionary parish in Reading, meeting in member's homes.[4] The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sponsored other missionaries in eastern Pennsylvania before the American Revolution, but most of the small congregations they formed were scattered during the war.

In 1785, the Reverend William White convened a meeting at Christ Church in Philadelphia for the purpose of organizing the Episcopal Church in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The conference included laymen as well as clergy, an arrangement which had no precedent in England.[5] St. Mary's in Reading, St. Gabriel's in Morlatton (now Douglassville) and St. James in Perkiomen (now Collegeville) were among the fifteen parishes represented at the conference.[2] Plans were made for the first official convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and delegates were chosen to attend the first General Convention for the national Episcopal Church, held later that year at the same location.

In 1865 Diocese of Pennsylvania was divided, the area west of the Alleghany Mountains becoming the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In 1871 the area now comprising both Central Pennsylvania and Bethlehem became a new diocese. The original name was the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, and the cathedral[6] was in Reading. In 1904 the western part of the diocese was separated to form the Diocese of Harrisburg, and the name "Central Pennsylvania" retained by the eastern diocese. By this time, however, the seat of the diocese had been relocated to Bethlehem[7], and in 1909 it received its present name of the Diocese of Bethlehem. In the 1970s the name of Central Pennsylvania was re-adopted by the former Diocese of Harrisburg.


(with year of consecration or accession)[8]

Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe, 1871

Nelson S. Rulison, 1884

Ethelbert Talbot, 1887

Frank W. Sterrett, 1923

Frederick J. Warnecke, 1953

Lloyd E. Gressle, 1970

J. Mark Dyer, 1982

Paul V. Marshall, 1996


  1. ^ The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem Team Directory
  2. ^ a b Benton, A.A. (1884). The Church Cyclopedia. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly.  
  3. ^ Walker, Joseph E. (1966). Hopewell Village: A Social and Economic History of an Iron-making Community. p. 366.  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Hodges, George (1906). Three Hundred Years of the Episcopal Church in America. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co.. p. 87.  
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

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