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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

In this week's pastoral letter, Pastor Appreciation, the Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, writes about the great markers of authentic pastoral ministry – faithfulness, fruitfulness, and fulfillment.

BOP Webinar on the Impact of Highmark/UPMC Agreement Now Online

An informational webinar on the impact of the Highmark/ UPMC "Patient's First" agreement for members of the Board of Pensions (BOP) Medical Plan was offered on Monday, October 13. If you were unable to attend, BOP Benefits Analyst, Michele Wentworth, provided a replay link for the webinar as well as a full list of questions asked by the participants and answers given by the facilitators.

NOTE: The "Patient's First" agreement impacts members under the age of 65 who are accessing care in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties only. All active and retired plan members age 65 and above are not impacted by the Highmark/UPMC network issues.

Christmas Joy Offering: Supporting Past, Present, & Future Leaders

A gift to the Christmas Joy Offering helps provide financial assistance to current and former church workers and their families and also enables deserving students to attend Presbyterian-related racial ethnic colleges and schools. This offering is traditionally received during the Advent Season, however, you may help sustain these important PC(USA) ministries and programs by making an online gift at any time throughout the year. More information, the online or downloadable giving catalog, and a number of promotional resources are available online.

Mission Trip Opportunities Through Presbyterian Project

The Presbyterian Project has two exciting mission trip opportunities planned and invite you and your congregation to participate:

A bulletin insert with details is available online.

Coming Training Events & Ministry Opportunities:

Continuing Education Opportunities & Events at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

NOTE: More information about Continuing Education (CE) is available online; all events offer CE Units.

Branch Info


The fall meeting of the North Branch will be on Tuesday, October 28, from 5:45-7:30 PM at Hampton United Presbyterian Church. The meeting will be hosted by Hampton United Presbyterian Church and Bidwell Street United Presbyterian Church. After the dinner is served at 5:45 PM, a very special presentation by Senator Dr. Freddy Elbaiady will be made regarding the work of the church in Egypt and his medical mission located just outside of Cairo. Dr. Elbaiady has served as a senator in the Egyptian parliament; he is founder and director of the Salam Medical Center since 1996; he is an elected member of the Council of Egyptian Churches; he serves the "family house" which strives to forge common ground between Muslims and Christians. Dr. Elbaiady has deeply engaged himself in the work of creating a stable government for Egypt. He is regularly featured on the local TV news channels. It is our joy to welcome him to our North Branch meeting of the Presbytery. This occasion is one you will not want to miss!


North Branch Congregations in Partnership with PTS
The Perspectives class series started on Monday, September 8, at Elfinwild Presbyterian Church. It has been exciting to see leaders from five congregations in the North Branch work together on this project. Members from Elfinwild, Hampton United, Wexford Community, Northmont United, and Parkwood United  Presbyterian Churches have bonded as they gathered monthly to pray and to plan, forming a strong sense of community, and hope many others from the North Branch (and other) churches will participate in the Perspectives class to get a taste of the unity they have in mission.  More information available online.  In Western Pennsylvania, Perspectives is co-sponsored by World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.


The winter gathering of the South Branch will be on Wednesday, November 19, from 12:00-1:30 PM at the Baldwin United Presbyterian Church (201 Knoedler Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236 / 412-653-1400).

  • During this gathering, we will uncover another dimension in the ‘missional renaissance’ of the church: new financial realities.  Elder Paul Grier and the Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelly from the Presbyterian Foundation have been invited to share new ideas for church partnerships.  Both Ellie and Paul are passionate about building on relationships, resourcing churches, creating cultures of generosity, and growing stewardship. Come to hear unique approaches to church partnerships, find local partners, and share your stories! Small churches, part-time pastors, large church pastors, and seminarians are highly encouraged to attend.

  • We will also welcome into the South Branch new ministry leaders serving in our community!

  • And we will discover how to connect with a new pastor group or join in a Sabbath Retreat!

Lunch will be provided. This is a nice time to connect with others in our branch!


Announcing the Opening to Grace Healing Retreat
If you sense you are being invited by the Holy Spirit to pay attention to a nudging for spiritual growth, inner or physical healing, or would just like to participate in the healing ministry of Christ today…this retreat might be for you.  Please click here for details or contact the retreat leader, the Rev. Betty Voigt (724-852-4233), or the Rev. Judi Slater (judislater@gmail.com) for more information.

Open Table Mission Opportunity
The First Presbyterian Church of Duquesne is participating in the Open Table Mission that helps individuals move from poverty to wholeness by providing a group of people (or a Table) who work with the candidates to set and achieve life goals.  They are currently helping two young adults who are working hard at reaching their goals.  It is amazing to see how God is changing the lives of these young adults through this process and we invite you to be a part of His work. Please click here for specific ways you can partner with the Open Table Mission and help!

The Journey Continues
In connection with a grant from the PC(USA) Office of Church Growth, Pittsburgh Presbytery has launched a two year program, The Church Unglued, with a focus on the development of adaptive change leadership skills. Eight congregations representing three branches have completed the New Beginnings assessment process and now consultants from PneuMatrix will guide these congregations through the discernment and implementation process based on the assessment results. If you are interested in partnering as an apprentice assigned to one of the congregations for an on-the-job year of training in adaptive change leadership and positive deviance skills with the unglued project, please contact the Rev. Ayana Teter for more information or click here for a full description of the position.

Anti-Racism Seminar
Racism, whether we realize it or not, influences everyone in some manner each and every day. The effects of racism are sometimes subtle, other times the effects are profoundly significant and often life-changing.  When racism exists, all of society suffers. If you desire to learn more about the issue of racism and are interested in scheduling a seminar for your worshipping community, please contact Rev. Judi Slater and/or Rev. Ayana Teter as they desire to share in this important work with you. For a sample of the last seminar, click here.


Read the summer edition of the quarterly newsletter for the South Branch of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Previous Editions:
Winter 2014


Lectionary Bible Study
The Lectionary Bible Study group meets every Monday from 10:00 AM-11:30 AM at the East Branch Regional Office located at Second United Presbyterian Church (300 Hay Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15221) in Wilkinsburg. Pastors, seminarians, CREs, church members and friends are welcome. We will read and discuss the lectionary readings for the coming Sunday following the Monday we meet. Pastors, this is a great way to get a jump on your sermon!


Read the October edition of East Branch News & Views, a newsletter about and for those in the East Branch of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Previous Editions:
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014


2014 Meeting Schedule (6:30-8:30 PM):

Wednesday, October 29, at Sewickley Presbyterian Church


To be a part of a pastor group, please contact the Rev. Dennis Molnar, Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, or the Rev. Dr. Doug Portz, Pittsburgh Presbytery.

More details available online!

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For questions or comments regarding this newsletter, send an email to communications@pghpresbytery.org.

Click here to download the criteria for publication in the newsletter.

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