Arvid Hernbom, Lay Reader

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

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.
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Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.