In the 1980’s, the Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Philadelphia had about ten people. They met in a second floor room rented from the Second Mile Center every Sunday. The leader was pastor Quang Tran. Pastor Quang served as a missionary for Vietnamese people in Philadelphia and gradually more people joined the Sunday service.
The Vietnamese congregation moved to a bigger space in the basement of a Church on 48th and Baltimore Pike in Philadelphia. In 1990, after much time in prayer, Pastor Quang and the congregation finally purchased a building for our church to meet. God built His people, the Vietnamese Mennonite Church, on 63rd and Woodland Avenue in Philadelphia.
Pastor Tuyen Nguyen, who later became bishop, followed after pastor Quang Tran. Today, Peter Nguyen serves as associate pastor, and Pastor Daniel Tran helps with the church in its activities. The Vietnamese Mennonite Church worships on the third floor in Vietnamese, and the Church for the Needy meets on the third floor and worships in English. The Sunday worship attendance for both the Vietnamese Mennonite Church and Church for the Needy averages about 35. Sunday school precedes the worship service, which begins at 11:00 am for both congregations.
God gave our pastors a vision to send many members from our congregation to the LMC STEP program for leadership and ministry training. Some leaders from the Vietnamese church in California enrolled in STEP.
The Philadelphia district includes another Vietnamese congregation that meets at 69th and Upper Darby. Luc Pham also attended STEP and was called from the Vietnamese Mennonite Church to serve as pastor of the Upper Darby Mennonite Fellowship. This congregation of about 25 people holds services every Sunday. Upper Darby Mennonite Fellowship reaches out to the local community, sends teams to North Carolina, and supports a missionary ministry to rural Vietnam.
Pastor Danh Ho focuses much of his ministry on outreach to Vietnamese people in all three regions. Since 2009, pastor Danh Ho has traveled from Philadelphia to North Carolina every other weekend to teach Bible and lead worship with the Vietnamese group there. In 2010, Pastor Danh began traveling to Vietnam once or twice a year and serves as a missionary. Bishop Tuyen travels to Vietnam three or four times a year. God has given him a vision to develop and train leaders in the new congregations there.
Although we are a small group of Vietnamese people, who, more and more frequently, do not speak our mother language and live in a foreign land, we are glad that God brought us to this place. Day by day, we grow closer to Christ. God speaks through our lips, works through our hands, and fulfills in us the great purpose of God’s will. God holds our hands, and we hold the hands of our brothers and sisters as we walk on the way to be more like Jesus.
Crystal Nguyen is a daughter of pastor Peter Nguyen from the Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Philadelphia. She is a STEP graduate and serves at Upper Darby Mennonite Fellowship and travels with the teams to North Carolina.