History

The Lehigh Conference of Churches is driven by faith—one shared by all Christians—to provide social services to our neighbors in need. Our history, which spans more than 60 years, demonstrates clearly how ecumenism has, does, and will continue to play a fundamental role in the shaping of our ministry. For a more detailed look at the Conference’s history, read our 50th anniversary booklet.

1954

The Greater Allentown Council of Churches is borne out of conversations between six pastors concerned about the increasing number of poor migrating from large metropolitan areas into the Lehigh Valley.

1978

An ecumenical food bank, founded, funded, and operated by member churches, reveals several critical, unmet needs in the community: hunger, housing, mental health, access to community resources.

This sympathetic insight into the plight of the area’s poor greatly influences the shape and direction of the Conference in the decades that follow.

1982

The Conference joins CROP Hunger Walk, a national organization sponsored by the Church World Service.

The first Allentown CROP Hunger Walk is held later that year.

Daybreak expands its service to five days a week.

Pharmaceutical Assistance program begins, supplying medication to the uninsured and underinsured.

1988

Pathways program launches to facilitate the response by member churches and human service organizations to fulfill basic human needs.

1992

The Conference moves to Alliance Hall to accommodate growing programs and additional space needs.

2002

Asbury United Methodist Church transfers its growing Aspires program to benefit at-risk youth to the Conference.

2006

Pathways establishes additional programs, including permanent supportive housing.

2013

Five Conference programs merge to form Pathways Housing Services and take on new office space to better serve the growing number of people facing homelessness.

2014

HOPE Program begins, offering case management to those who are mentally ill and homeless.

The Lehigh County Conference of Churches become the Lehigh Conference of Churches and accepts its first member church from Northampton County.

Safe Haven, operated since 2010 by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, turns over management of its program to the 6th and Chew Winter Shelter.

Recognizing a need to do more than provide shelter guests with a warm place to sleep, member church Union Baptist begins a breakfast service program.

2015

The Conference purchases Dubbs Memorial United Church of Christ, at 5th and Allen Streets, with plans to relocate its main office and later consolidate all Conference programs under one roof at the new Dubbs Memorial Community Center.