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Press release in response to Judge's ruling

BETHLEHEM, PA—Northampton County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Stephen G. Baratta today ruled that Lehigh Presbytery, acting for First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem PCUSA, is the recognized trustee of the property at 2344 Center Street along with all its assets under the present circumstances.
In a press release following the Judge’s decision, First Presbyterian Church Bethlehem PCUSA leadership issued the following statement:
We, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem PC(USA), are grateful for President Judge Stephen G. Baratta’s clear ruling today affirming that “title to both real and personal property held and/or owned by First Presbyterian of Bethlehem is held in trust for the Lehigh Presbytery of PCUSA.” It is our ardent prayer and hope that our church community can now find a measure of reconciliation around our shared love of our Lord Jesus Christ and for one another. We continue to affirm that we are a congregation in which “All Are Welcome.”
The Reverend J.C. Austin, Designated Pastor/Head of Staff, emphasizes the appeal for reconciliation, stating, “It is a blessing to have the affirmation of the court that our property is inextricably tied to the essential connectional identity of the PC(USA), an identity that generations of members of this congregation have cherished. And this is also a good day to remember the words of the Apostle Paul: ‘‘There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were also called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is over all and through all and in all’ (Ephesians 4:4-6). We continue to hope for opportunities to pursue reconciliation based on our common baptism and discipleship in Christ, and as we do so, we recommit ourselves to looking for signs of the One who makes all things new, especially in this season of Advent.”
Please visit  or contact The Rev. J.C. Austin at, The Rev. David Duquette at, or Sue Farber at, for more information.

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