There is a very old saying that says "Pennsylvania is heaven for farmers and artisans and hell for preachers and officials" and there is still some truth to that. Although Pennsylvania is seen as the Quaker colony it had one of the most diverse religious population of all the colonies.
Many early ministers could not keep total control of their congregations, there were no such things as church courts and ministers salaries were paid by the congregations so their job depended on the goodwill of those who came to that church. At any time church members could leave the congregation, join another congregation or even found a new that met their needs. Many early Philadelphia residents did not belong to any church and even traveling ministers discovered that even in the backwoods many did not belong to a specific church.
While Penn's Woods, named after William Penn's father, started out as a Quaker colony, called the Society of Friends, many other European people persecuted in their own country soon came to enjoy the total religious freedom offered by this colony. Mennonites, French Huguenots, Amish, Anabaptists, German Protestants, Moravians, Lutherans, Reformed Calvinists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Jews, Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists and smaller sects like the Brethren came here to peacefully follow their religion without any bother from the state or church hierarchy.
Even ethnic churches were in fact mixed congregations. A Swedish Lutheran church took a census of the ethnic makeup of its congregation in the 1780's and found less that half were Swedish, while one quarter were English, German and Irish. The rest of the congregation were Scottish, Dutch, African, French, Negro or Welsh. Many of the families included were not even Lutherans, eight were Quakers, six Methodists, two Roman Catholic, one Presbyterian, one Huguenot and one Anabaptist.
Diversity and toleration of both ethnicity and religion were practiced all over the colony in many churches. This diversity modified many religious practices, the sacraments and even religious holidays. Some Pennsylvanians even stopped having their children baptised, arguing that Quaker children did well enough without the practice. Also many quit naming godparents and many stopped engaging in the church reading the banns and instead favored a much more intimate ceremony and a private marriage license.
The Christmas holiday changed here because of the religious diversity here. Many Quakers refused to acknowledge the day as special and so many other Protestant groups also followed that practice. Many of the special practices of Christmas celebration were dropped and only the Roman Catholics in Philadelphia decorated their homes with laurel branches and candles and music while the Anglicans rang church bells on Christmas Eve and shot off guns in the air the next day but did nothing more to celebrate this holiday. In one rural township a Lutheran minister even complained that many in his church were celebrating Christmas with drinking, fiddling, dancing and other "abominations" much like their Scots Irish neighbors did.
In the 19th though one German Christmas holiday custom did become widespread, the practice of decorating a tree lit with candles and surrounded with gifts soon could be found in every Pennsylvania home and this custom soon spread all across our nation. This borrowed religious practice was a result of the freedom of religion as it was practiced here in Pennsylvania.
I have never in my entire life been asked which church I was a member of or even which religion I was. here in Pennsylvania it does not matter at all because we understand the freedom for all to live as they choose, religious or not.
Today in many small towns and villages there are at least three or four different denominations and in the bigger cities every type of religion can be found there.
This Commonwealth is a place for freedom for all.
Come visit and see what I mean.