During the 1890s the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania New Church Congregation and its associated school (the Academy of the New Church) made plans to relocate to the countryside. Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania was formally selected as the new location in the spring of 1893. Even before this date, a number of families belonging to the Philadelphia group had been spending their summers in the area.
Industrialist John Pitcairn (1841-1916), a congregation member, had purchased the Knight farm at the beginning of 1889, and Knight’s Hill was used as the site of summer church services. Pitcairn eventually purchased enough land to accomodate both the school and a New Church community. In 1895, he built his own home, Cairnwood, nearby. During that same year he also provided funds to build a temporary frame structure in which the community could hold church services, school classes and social events.
Other temporary places of worship followed, and as the community grew, members of the congregation began to contribute to a church building fund. In 1908 John Pitcairn donated a large sum of money to the cause and five years later ground was broken for the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. The Cathedral was under construction from 1913 until 1928, but was dedicated for church use in 1919.
Today, the Bryn Athyn church and schools, together with the Academy of the New Church schools, have a growing and thriving church and local community that are blessed with a high quality, Christian values, school system.
The Bryn Athyn Church would be happy to welcome you to one of its worship services or other religious programs.