St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church: New pastor; new commitment --
For the first time since 1992, St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Bethlehem installed a new senior pastor June 8. He is The Rev. Gerald S. Kulp, a cleric strongly committed to keeping his church in the city at a time when other congregations are moving to the suburbs. He expressed his commitment as keeping St. Peter's "in the city for good; in the city for God."
In recognition of this commitment, and the contributions made by St. Peter's to the community, Bethlehem Mayor Robert Doncez proclaimed June 8 as The Rev. Gerald S. Kulp Day. The proclamation noted that the St. Peter's church has stood in South Bethlehem since 1863, and during those years it has served a multitude of charities, including the Bethlehem Sheltering Ministry, the Meal Center and the Food Bank.
The proclamation also cited Rev. Kulp's efforts to help open the church's doors to Head Start, Special Olympics and numerous other programs.
"Pastor Jerry has walked the neighborhood regularly, interacting with the people and places in this part of the city, so that he knows them, and they know him," the proclamation read.
Bishop Samuel Zeiser of the Northeastern Pa. Synod of the Evangerlical Lutheran Church of America officiated at the installation attended by several hundred members from various congregations throughout the area. During his sermon, the bishop talked about the gifts that individuals possess, and noted that "every member of every congregation has something to give." He challenged the St. Peter's worshipers to recognize how their gifts were important to their congifts were important to their congregation, especially since it is beginning a new relationship with a new pastor.
"I want you to think that you are part of not just one congregation, but of many congregations," the bishop said.
Rev. Kulp previously served as senior pastor of Fridens Church in Shartlesville, Pa., from 2003-2013. He graduated in 2003 from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg with a masters degree in divinity and a concentration in town and country ministry. A captain in the U.S. Army from 1985-91, Rev. Kulp served as an infantry company commander.
The father of three children, his son, Joshua, is serving in the U.S. Air Force. Son Benjamin is a sophomore at the Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and daughter Bethann is a freshman at Bloomsburg University.
The pastor received his bachelor of science degree in Criminal Justice in 1985. He attended primary and middle school in Reading, Pa., and graduated from Fleetwood Area HS.