Home->Get To Know RBCC->Our History
Officially organized January 28, 1947 as “Greater Reading Council of Churches”, RBCC was inspired by leadership from the School of Theology of Albright College.
Activities at that time included the “Release Time Religious Education” (one hour per week) serving 1649 students in the Reading School District, grades 4, 5, & 6. This was made possible by the efforts of forty volunteer instructors at twenty seven congregation sites.
The first Executive Director was Rev. Mervin Heller “1947-1974” who was very involved in an effort to clean the city of its name “Sin City USA”, as well as getting churches and religious traditions to understand each other and work together.
With the 1980’s came a proliferation of projects and ministries led by the leadership of Executive Director Rev. Earl Allen “1975-1986” and Rev. Warren Wilfert “1987-1991”.
- Nursing home worship services and ministries to the elderly.
- Hospital chaplaincies initiated at the Reading Hospital, and later at the Community General Hospital.
- CROP Walk - a walk for world hunger – has raised accumulatively over one million dollars, with a portion returning to the Greater Berks Food Bank.
- S.H.A.R.E. (Survival Help/Assistance & Referral in Emergency) a partnership with the Salvation Army to minister to those in poverty
- Greater Berks Food Bank; a cooperative community effort.
- Prison Chaplaincy at BCP where hundreds of inmates attend religious services every week, and are being connected to some two hundred volunteers from the faith based community for support with re-entry.
- Rainbow Home; a hospice to those dying of Aids.
In the 90’s came a name change to include a county wide emphasis led by Executive Director Larry Nallo. Growth continued by:
- Expansion of the programs begun in the 80’s
- Development of Marriage and Family Builders.
- Development of Community Coordinator position to help congregations connect to the dramatically changing population of the city. This was accomplished through Breakfast Clubs and N.E.A.R.(Neighborhood Education Activity Recreation Center) centers for the youth, and Midnight Ministries for neighborhoods.
- Reading Police Chaplaincy becoming a reality in 2006. This became very valuable as the city was saddened by the loss of two officers in a two year period.
Executive Director Emeritus, Rev. Calvin Kurtz, realized the adopted logo "Churches in Ministry Together" as a reality. Ministries and programs grew out of his efforts, involving many of the four hundred congregations in Berks County and thousand of individuals volunteering and giving. Rev. Kurtz desired to help fulfill the prayer of our Lord, "May your Kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."