Fritz Memorial UMC in in Bethlehem was featured in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call newspaper Nov. 6, as one of the historic architectural marvels on the Bethlehem’s Steeples & Steel tours. The two-hour tours, begun in 2014, explore the lives of immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s, who settled in south Bethlehem to become steelworkers and, along the way, established tight-knit church congregations.
Fritz UMC , at 303 W. Packer Ave., was on the tour itinerary on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Rev. Barbara Lee, pastor, introduced the church’s resident historian, Don Bortz, who discussed the church’s founder, John Fritz, a man with little formal schooling but outstanding skills in blacksmithing and ironmaking that led to his hiring as superintendent of Bethlehem Iron Co. in 1860. In 1891 he began building a church for the south Bethlehem community and two years later dedicated it to the memory of his Methodist parents.
Tourists viewed the 103-foot-tall bell tower, arched stained glass windows, 126-year-old organ and 500-seat sanctuary. Read reporter Ryan Kneller’s story: Insider’s Guide to the Lehigh Valley: Bethlehem’s Steeples & Steel tours.