The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Transition Committee

Where We Live

"Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill shall be made low . . ."
Isaiah 40:4

From the Pocono Mountains in the north to the Lebanon Valley in the south, The Episcopal Church in Northeastern Pennsylvania awaits the “coming of the Lord” upon lush mountains and in broad, flourishing valleys. Families from this region often identify themselves by describing the geographic character of the place of their origins.

The Poconos

Poconos The wooded hills and valleys of the Pocono region have long been a popular recreation area, accessible within a two-hour drive to millions of metropolitan area residents. Scattered throughout are many communities that host resort hotels with fishing, hunting, skiing, and other sports facilities. Several regions within the Poconos have seen an uptick in population growth largely attributable to vacationers from the New York and New Jersey areas turning vacation homes into permanent residences. Notable among these communities are Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, and Mount Pocono. More on The Poconos can be found HERE.

The Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley The Lehigh Valley, once home to the mighty Bethlehem Steel Corporation, is the fastest growing and third most populous region in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, outflanked only by the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Lehigh Valley remains the economic center of the region with its population centers in its principal cities: Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, which lie increasingly within a single metropolitan community. The region’s lower cost of living, favorable business climate, and its natural beauty make the Lehigh Valley an increasingly attractive bedroom community for the highly populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City. More on The Lehigh Valley can be found HERE.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys

The Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys are the historic home of the anthracite coal industry, former source of home heating fuel for the entire Northeastern United States. It was also the birthplace of the railroad industry in this country, founded to move the coal. Successive waves of immigrants from Europe, who worked in the mines, are the foundation of much of the population of the area today. There are no longer any mines, but that history left the area with a rich ethnic heritage. Anchored by the metropolitan cites of Scranton (county seat of Lackawanna County) and Wilkes-Barre (county seat of Luzerne County), the region is now an urban area of many varied industries and businesses.
For more information and history click HERE.
For information about Wilkes Barre click HERE.
For information about Scranton click HERE.

The Endless Mountains

Endless Mountains As part of the Appalachians, The Endless Mountains, form a chain of mountains that include Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. The serene, rural atmosphere of the region is alive with rich history and an abundance of natural and cultural resources. The region is dominated by nearly indescribable landscapes, river gateways, charming rural villages and agricultural communities.
More on The Endless Mountains can be found HERE.

The Lebanon Valley

Lebanon Valley The southernmost area of the diocese is comprised of the area generally known as The Lebanon Valley, which lies almost entirely within Lebanon and Berks counties. The area is generally known for its fertile agricultural land and has been strongly influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch culture which is evident in its pastoral landscapes, attractive farms and outstanding dairy and pork products. Lebanon County possesses an abundance of open space and conservation lands that provide numerous recreational activities. The area blends its heritage with residential, commercial, and industrial development largely influenced by its proximity to the more heavily industrial regions centered on Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. Reading, the county seat of Berks County, lies less than 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Interestingly, the Reading area simultaneously reflects the influence of the Delaware River Valley (one of the leading industrial and trade complexes in the nation) and the more agricultural foundations of its Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.
More on the Lebanon Valley can be found HERE.

Coal Country

Coal Country Dating from 1811, Schuylkill County forms the geographical heart of the region. Along with Carbon County, it is located in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. This largely rural area once hosted over 1000 miles of railroad track and the largest railyard and roundhouse in the world. This extensive system served to export coal mined in the region to large industrial complexes to the east and south and to provide fuel for the nation’s coal powered rail system. Changing energy economies of recent decades significantly reduced production of coal. Like nearby regions, eastern Schuylkill County has also experienced an influx of people from New York City and northern New Jersey who commute to "the city" each day. While the commute can take up to two hours because of distance and traffic, the idyllic setting proves irresistible to many. The far western portions of Schuylkill County are located near the greater Harrisburg area and are influenced by the economic and culture patterns of South Central Pennsylvania.
For more on this important region, click HERE.

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