York Town Square

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Father Girgis Ramandious, left, and His Grace Bishop Karas, center, pray over two newly baptized girls during the first Coptic Orthodox service in the former Trinity United Methodist building owned by Bethlehem UMC in Dallastown in 2018. York County's growing Egyptian Coptic Christian community had previously used St. Mary's Catholic Church in York for their services, studies and other customs, and are now leasing the old Trinity building from Bethlehem UMC.

Things to know about York County’s religious groups, past and present

Another in a series of York Town Square posts on the religious scene in York County. This is the last in the series.

York County hosts many religious groups that have done – or are doing – important work in fostering the spiritual lives of congregants and their work in the community.

We’ll use a “Did you know” format to cover some terrain of congregations or groups that have not yet been covered or have been discussed only briefly in this series.

So, did you know?

  •  Moravian and Episcopal congregations are among the oldest in Protestant religious groups in York County. The legacies of these two groups include: S. Morgan Smith came to York as a Moravian pastor and later became one of its leading industrialists. One forerunner of York College – York County Academy – was started by the Episcopal Church in York County. The Moravian Church originated in Bohemia and the Episcopal Church orginated in Britain.
  • The Unitarian Universalist Church of York constructed its building on the former estate of Grier Hersh, Springdale. It continues to use Springdale mansion’s former carriage house.
  • At least three large camp grounds – growing from to revivals in the 1800s and early 1900s – operate in the county: Summit Grove in New Freedom; Penn Grove Retreat in Smith Station and Mount Olivet near Dillsburg.
  •  In the 1700s, a community of 7th Day Baptists, affiliated with the faith community in Lancaster County’s Ephrata, lived on the banks of Bermudian Creek in Washington Township. This group held worship services on Saturday, akin to the Seventh Day Adventists today.
  • An early county mosque, probably the first, opened in 1985 in the former Catholic Social Services building on South George Street. This mosque provided a place for Muslims to meet in prayer. Muslims previously worshipped in homes.
  • The county hosts a growing diversity of religious groups, including those pictured in this post. The number of congregations numbered about 500 in 2010. The Association of Religion Data Archives provides a helpful list as a place to start.

Motorists along North George Street in North York pass by the outside of the Vietnamese Alliance Church. Here, inside that church, Springettsbury Township’s Duong Huynh admires a flower decoration. This building originally served North York’s St. Peter’s Lutheran congregation. York County’s Vietnamese population has been growing in recent years. (York Daily Record file)

More in this series

Check out these Retro York Facebook posts explaining and exploring the religious scene in York County. 

Posts in this series of religious groups in York County were published on this York Town Square blog between March 15 and May 24, 2020.

Julio Rivera, left, and Enrique Claudio enact the role of Roman guards, persecuting Jesus, here played by Huego Nieto. They participated in ‘The Way of the Cross’ on South George Street in the Easter season, 2004. Such Good Friday processions are common in Hispanic countries – and now in York County. These worshipers are part of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. This church history from St. Mary’s website: “Our parish, founded in 1852 by Saint John Nepumocene Neumann as a parish for German-speaking Catholics has been, since 1995, a territorial and multilingual parish with special care for Hispanic immigrants.” Many Latinos in York County worship in Protestant churches as well. (YDR file)