Arvid Hernbom Lay Reader 1719
A small plaque on the back of a pew at the front of the church peaked our curiosity this month. Arvid Hernbom, Lay Reader 1719. Who was he?
Arvid Hernbom, who served as chaplain at the Swedish embassy, came to America around 1719. He was licensed to preach by Bishop Jesper Swedberg. Swedberg, who was one of Sweden’s most notable churchmen, had ordered Rev. Andreas Sandel to ordain Arvid Hernbom to the priesthood to serve the Wicaco congregation after Sandel’s departure.
But, after his arrival, Sandel and the other Swedish clergymen did not think he was qualified for the priesthood and he was not ordained. In 1719, on Sandel’s departure, Hernbom was promised 25L (pounds) a year to preach part time at Wicaco. After Sandel’s departure Arvid Hernbom alternated for a time with Rev. Hesselius, of Christina Church, and the Rev. Lidenius, pastor of Racoon Church, in New Jersey. These clergymen promised to perform divine service once a month. During the vacancy Hernbom maintained the church school and when the ministers weren’t available served as a lay-reader.
(Riverside, November 2008)