1891: First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, Ambler, PA | Presbyterian Historical Society

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1891: First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, Ambler, PA

August 14, 2012
First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, Ambler, PA, undated.

In 1876 the Home Missions Committee of Philadelphia North Presbytery called the group’s attention to communities developing along the northern line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, including the borough of Ambler.  Ten years later the committee reported the opening of a mission in Ambler.  The Presbytery organized that mission as the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler on September 18, 1891.

In 1913 the Ambler Church participated in an interdenominational ministry to Italian immigrants that soon became The Ambler Italian Chapel, the sole responsibility of First Presbyterian of Ambler.  This Chapel continued as a ministry to our Italian community until 1966, when it joined with the Conshohocken and the Italian Church of the Redeemer in Norristown to create the Church on the Mall in Plymouth Meeting.

First Presbyterian Church of Ambler is a vibrant, caring church that desires to see the community both inside and outside its walls transformed by the love of God through a commitment to proclaim the gospel of Christ in word and deed to Ambler and beyond.  The church fosters this transformation through individual and corporate worship with a focus on discipleship and spiritual growth.  There is a strong emphasis on small groups to provide for this growth; we are not just a church with small groups, but a church of small groups.    We enjoy worship with both a traditional service as well as a contemporary service.  Our vital location at the intersection of Butler and Ridge Avenues in the very center of town compels us to reach out and draw the community into our fellowship.

We have a strong Children’s Ministry, not only on Sunday mornings but also through S.U.R.G.E., grades 3-5 bi-monthly gathering for fellowship and service, a Marble Shooting Club, a vibrant “Summer Friends” (VBS) involving children from the community, and a creative Christmas Pageant.  The Director of Children’s Ministry places strong emphasis on the children’s Bible reading and a good amount of memorization; in third grade each child eagerly anticipates receiving his/her own Bible.  This ministry is described by parents as “Christ-centered,” “creative,” and “impactful,” providing a strong foundation for the children.

Our Youth Ministry has been quite comprehensive to include Sunday school, worship, weekly youth gatherings, small groups and also offering after-school down time.  Each year the young people look forward to an exciting Mission Trip to truly serve others, an inspiring experience.  There is a dedicated group of volunteers who chaperone and who also help with the programming, planning special events and developing relationships with the youth.  In addition, Confirmation classes are offered every year for those in 9th grade or above.  Our youth are growing strong and committed.

Being a Mission-minded church, we support many mission enterprises over the world.  We also have reached out in hands-on service to various areas such as Ethiopia and Haiti among others.  Our team has made several trips to Haiti to build much-needed clean water sources in cooperation with Living Waters for the World.   They educated the villagers on the crucial importance of clean water and thoroughly trained the individuals who will be in charge of maintenance to sustain the machinery involved.  Physically working together, this Christian partnership continues to be a rich and blessed experience. 

Our church has grown and been richly blessed through the ministry of Ryan Balsan as Pastor, Head of Staff, and also Eric Dorville, Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Mission.   God is working in exciting ways here at First Presbyterian Church of Ambler . . .  a place where lives are changed by Christ and lived out in faith together.


This brief history was recently updated as a part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s 300th Anniversary Year of Celebration and Witness.  The story of the congregations throughout the Presbytery were revised to remind us of our past even as we live into the present and move towards God’s promised future. Read more about the 300th Anniversary: www.presbyphl.org/300th-Anniversary.