“Pennsylvania History Presents” is an online feature of the Pennsylvania Historical Association’s (PHA) website. Begun in 2019, we offer for free public access one article from the current issue of its quarterly award-winning journal, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies.
For the Winter 2023 issue (90.1), Journal Editor Linda Ries has chosen for “Pennsylvania History Presents” an article by Donald E. Harpster (Retired, College of St. Joseph, Rutland, VT), “Americanization of the Philadelphia German Reformed Community in the Era of the Revolution, 1775–1801.”
Abstract: The Americanization of the Philadelphia German Reformed community had its origins during the era of the American Revolution. Coming from a European Reformed tradition that had state support, the community found it difficult to maintain a church in the pluralistic environment of colonial Pennsylvania but the church’s charter of incorporation provided the needed modicum of support for the religious enterprise. Throughout the American Revolution, the Philadelphia German Reformed community supported the Patriot cause and its pastor, Caspar Weyberg, openly spoke in favor of independence during the British occupation of Philadelphia. However, the Philadelphia German Reformed community still valued aspects of its European heritage. The official language of the congregation remained German throughout the eighteenth century. In addition, the community was loyal to its theological and liturgical heritage embodied in the Heidelberg Catechism and the Palatinate Liturgy.