Otterbein United Methodist Church was a part of The Evangelical United Brethren Church prior to the merger of 1968. In 1765, Phillip William Otterbein of the Reformed Church and Martin Boehm, a Mennonite, joined forces to better serve the German population of Pennsylvania, and its frontier areas. Their followers founded a new denomination in 1800, calling themselves United Brethren. They merged again in 1946 with The Evangelical Church founded by Jacob Albright, a contemporary of Otterbein and Boehm.
Otterbein Church of Mont Clare had its beginnings in 1868 in Phoenixville. A Church was erected at Gay Street and Second Avenue in 1875. In 1882, under pressure of debt, they were forced to sell to the Reformed Church and were disbanded by their Annual Conference. Some members, refusing to go elsewhere, began services at Port Providence Chapel. After purchasing ground on Walnut Street, Mont Clare in 1887, they built a church with their own hands from stone quarried on the site. By 1890 it was complete and debt-free. Again, in 1900 amid adversity, the Annual Conference disbanded the congregation. They refused to let the church die, calling Pastor Edwin Rupp to lead them. With hard work, they were readmitted to the denomination in 1904, and have continued to grow and prosper since that time.
A new church sanctuary was added to the existing facility in 1953. Renovations have been made since then for more classroom space. A new parsonage was built adjacent to the Church in the late 1960’s. Fortunately, it was placed on higher ground and escaped the flood of 1972, which nearly reached the church sanctuary. In 1994, we completed the construction of an additional parking lot, to accommodate future growth.
Twenty-six pastors with our present pastor, Deborah Gildart-Hanks, have served Otterbein.