FAQs

1. How did your church get the name Swamp?

            When this church was established in the early 1700’s German settlers built a log cabin as a meeting place. It was located in an area known as Swamp Valley. In German the word Swamp is pronounced Svamp. The w’s are replaced with v’s. The word svamp in German means meadow. Consequently, the church was identified as the church that met in the meadow.

2. What is it that makes your church unique?

            As one of the earliest churches established in Lancaster County we have a rich heritage. We have endured many challenges over time because we have a strong commitment to make necessary changes in order to keep the Gospel message relevant for each new generation. One of the key elements that have enabled us to remain stable amidst centuries of change is long tenured pastors. Since 1749 we have had only 25 pastors. This translates into an average of over 10 years each. Our present pastor has been with us since 1990.

3. Do you have any records that will help us research our family tree?

            Yes, we have preserved the names of deceased persons who are buried in our cemetery from 1700’s-1907. Because the original sandstone tombstones have deteriorated we have erected a black granite monument that has inscribed 249 names of people buried in the cemetery. Also, we have baptismal record that date back to 1749. These records are accessible through the Reformed Historical Society located at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

4. What plans do you have for the future?

            Currently, we are paying off the mortgage to our new multi-purpose facility. Once that is paid for we plan to erect an auditorium that will meet the needs of a growing congregation.  

5. How do I become a member?

            We invite new folks to worship with us for a while, to attend Sunday School, to get involved in small groups and to participate in ministry. We want you to feel like you belong.  After you have gotten to know us we invite you to enroll in a membership class that is held during the Sunday School hour. Following the class if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, have been baptized and desire to unite with us we will receive you into the church through a ceremony during a regular worship service. 

6. You have people from different theological backgrounds including, Roman Catholic, Fundamentalist, Anabaptist, Charismatic, Liberal, Armenian,  Evangelical and Reformed in your congregation. How do you maintain unity amidst this diversity?

            We strive to keep our focus on Jesus Christ. We believe that through the application of the Word, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating humble service to others and the utilization of good leadership principles, we can make our welcome broad enough to include diverse people. We want each person to feel they belong and are loved, so that they can experience the change needed to become more like Jesus Christ.

7. Why did you leave the United Church of Christ to become an independent congregation?

            Ever since 1957 when the United Church of Christ was conceived we have sought to be loyal even though we have maintained differences of opinion on a variety of social issues. Recently, we have examined our 50 year affiliation with the denomination and have come to the realization the UCC is going in a direction that we are not. We believe this is largely due to growing difference in worldview. Our understanding of Biblical authority is different than the leadership of UCC. We see ourselves as having an evangelical focus with an emphasis on making disciples. The UCC has a pluralistic approach with a social justice agenda. Whereas we acknowledge institutional and systemic change is needed for the procurement of social justice, we believe that we have a more urgent and higher calling to the salvation of souls through growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We feel our time, energy and resources need to be first dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission and then social justice concerns are to follow. We believe Jesus was more interested in a radical change of hearts and minds than he was in the cosmetic alteration of political systems. Jesus’ mission as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah was to write God’s law unto the hearts of people. (Jeremiah 31:33)  

8. Will your church marry or baptize people who are not members of your church?

            Each case is evaluated based on its own merits. As general rule we do not make a practice of baptizing persons or marrying people outside the church. However, there are exceptions. What is of primary concern is that promises be made in good faith and with utmost integrity.

9. What organizations do you have an affiliation with?

            We are affiliated with several organization including: Willow Creek Association, Evangelical Association of Reformed and Congregational Christian Churches, Lancaster County Council of Churches, Cocalico Ministerium, Homes of Hope (Love INC), and Church Communication Network.