As part of its commemoration of the centennial of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, its Board of Directors through its Centennial Planning Committee commissioned an updating of the Council’s history. Three previous volumes had been written—A History of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches 1911–1945 by William LeRoy Mudge, former Executive Secretary of the Council (1951); The Recent History of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches by John P Harman (1962); and A History of Christian Social Consciousness within the Pennsylvania Council of Churches by Paul Andrew Remick (1966). Mudge’s volume largely recounts the years of his tenure as Executive Secretary of the Council (1920–1927 part-time, 1928–1945 full-time). Harman and Remick did their work “in partial fulfillment of the requirements” for the Bachelor of Divinity degree (Harman) and the Master of Sacred Theology degree (Remick) at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. (Harman also prepared “A Brief History of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches” for publication in 50th Anniversary 1911– 1961: The Pennsylvania Council of Churches Marking a Half Century of United Christian Witness, the program bulletin for the fiftieth anniversary festivities.
With nothing having been written since the 1960s, clearly the Council’s story needed updating. The Centennial Planning Committee commissioned the Rev. Dr. David A. Schattschneider, dean and professor of the history of Christianity emeritus of Moravian Theological Seminary. Schattschneider, with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, brings the eye of a professional church historian to the last fifty years, placing the Council and its activities within its larger context of American church life.