News From Pittsburgh Presbytery
A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery
The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, continues his series that focuses on the historical and theological gifts, responsibilities, and challenges of being followers of Jesus who are Presbyterian that give particular shape to our identity, things deeper and more abiding than the shifting political convictions or cultural preferences over which we often differ.
In this week's pastoral letter, Presbyterian Distinctives, Part VII: Always Being Reformed, he talks about how, by having the Bible in one hand and having the newspaper in the other, we allow worship to vary from place to place and we make room for the nonconformists among us.
Youth from Local Congregations Invited to Participate in Choir at GA Opening Worship
The Committee on Local Arrangements for the General Assembly of the PC(USA) this summer in Detroit, Michigan (June 14-21) invite students from your congregation to participate in the first ever mass youth choir for Opening Worship on Saturday, June 14, at 11:00 AM. Your entire youth choir is welcome! The policy for student volunteers, which includes the youth choir, states participants be at least 12 years old, and have one adult chaperone for every five youth. The music packet, refreshments, a couple meals, and a special shirt for opening worship will be provided. More details online.
Advocacy Training Weekend March 21-24
Join hundreds of Christian advocates at the 12th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace, on March 21-24 in Washington D.C. to address causes of and develop hopeful solutions for the many types of violence which afflict our world today. As people of hope, we are consoled by the promise that "justice and peace shall embrace" (Psalm 85:10), and are reminded that justice requires peace-making and that peace requires justice-making.
We will confront and imagine how to transform the violence in our world, and together will seek a vision of peace in the community, peace among the peoples, peace in the marketplace, and peace with the earth. Through prayer, worship, speakers, and advocacy training we will discover a faith-based vision for national policies that "guide our feet into the path of peace" (Luke 1:79), all culminating with Monday's Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Advocacy Days will kick off on March 21 with Compassion, Peace & Justice Training Day for Presbyterians. Learning will continue with our ecumenical sisters and brothers during the remainder of the weekend. Download the printed brochure or visit the website for more information and to register.
Do You Know How to Talk About Christ with Muslim Immigrants?
You are invited to gather with area mission leaders at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary April 4-5 as we worship, learn, and connect strategically for the sending of the church into the world for the World Mission Initiative (WMI) conference, “Beyond the Stained Glass: The Church Sent into the World!”
In addition to the above outstanding keynote speakers, workshop leaders include Bill Young (Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship), who explores how Christians can reach out to Muslim immigrants in ways faithful to the gospel; Marilyn Borst (The Outreach Foundation), who shows why short-term mission trips matter to the global Church; and Haemin Lee (PCUSA Catalyst for International Evangelism), who explains why training pastors for community transformation is key for witnessing to God’s love in our world. And that is just a sampling of the resources offered at the conference! Learn more online and register today! For more information, email WMI or call 412-924-1440.
Miller Summer Youth Institute Accepting Applications
Do you have an outstanding youth who is an elder or deacon at your church? Is there one youth who is at church every Sunday? If they are graduating from high school in 2014 or 2015, they qualify to attend the Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. From July 12-26, PTS will host 24 high school students on campus to learn from faculty, engage in worship, work in mission, and have a lot of fun! The goal of the two-week program is for every student to will leave SYI with a better understanding of who God is calling them to be and what God is calling them to do. The goal is not that all of our students attend seminary. Our desire is no matter what their career, their vocation is always to serve Jesus Christ and His church. The early application deadline (application fee of $30 is waived) is March 3; scholarships are available. Applications are due by May 1.
Tis the Season for the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering!
Since 1949 Presbyterians have joined with millions of other Christians through One Great Hour of Sharing (OHGS) to share God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world. Your generous gifts to this special offering help provide relief those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and assist in helping to empower the poor and oppressed through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People (SDOP) respectively. Most congregations receive the offering on Easter Sunday, Passion/Palm Sunday or both, while many receive it throughout Lent. However, you may help sustain the important PC(USA) ministries and programs that are supported by the OGHS by making an online gift at any time throughout the year. Please note Presbyterians across our country will be celebrating the ministry of SDOP on Sunday, March 16. Resource materials are available for this special occasion online.
Are You Challenged in Your Ministry?
Being sustained in your ministry can be a challenge. Sometimes the hardest part is remembering that it’s not about you – it’s about what God is doing through you and through the people you serve. What you do matters! Whether you teach, preach, or pastor, plan to attend the annual Journey Inward/Journey Outward day-long event at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Let God breathe new life into you and the ministry you do. The Revs. Andrew and Catherine Purves are the keynoters for a morning presentation and there are three afternoon workshops from which to choose. The program is scheduled from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM on Tuesday, March 18. More information and registration available online.
Nomadic Peace Meals: Working for Peace & Reconciliation Through Table Fellowship in Our Neighborhoods
Come and join us for a conversation about what it may look like to start a “nomadic” peace community committed to regularly eating, praying, and walking through our neighborhoods seeking peace, justice, and reconciliation. The Pittsburgh Presbytery Peacemaking Ministry Team is facilitating this conversation. Read more online.
Will You Open Your Door to Visitors from Malawi & South Sudan?
You are invited to attend an informational meeting of the International Partnership Ministry Team (formerly Malawi Partnership) scheduled for 7:00-8:30 PM on Monday, March 3, in the Patrick Room at the presbytery center. You will learn about the partnership visit with the Malawian and South Sudanese missionaries this summer (July 17-29) and about the opportunity for congregations to take a step forward in partnership and friendship as they consider hosting these brothers and sisters from abroad. Read more details in a letter from the Executive Committee online.
Tuesday, April 1, from 5:45-7:30 PM at Glenshaw Presbyterian Church
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE COMING SOUTH BRANCH MEETING!
The South Branch will be meeting on Wednesday, April 2, from 12:00-2:00 PM. The Rev. Johannes Swart, Associate Professor of Mission & Evangelism at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, will be the guest speaker. Location TBD.
Read the winter edition of the quarterly newsletter for the South Branch of Pittsburgh Presbytery.
The Unglued Church Experiment
In 2014, Pittsburgh Presbytery is hoping to partner with the PC(USA) Office of Church Growth to launch a 12-month pilot program that will develop and test transformational practices to serve the mission of Jesus Christ in our communities. The 8-10 congregations that participate in the year-long program will receive close coaching and support throughout the process, including an in-depth assessment of their current ministries, discernment of potential for future ministries, and incubation of new ministries. For more information, please contact the Rev. Ayana Teter.
Racism, whether we realize it or not, influences everyone in some manner each and every day. Sometimes the effects of racism are 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.
Discussion on Gun Violence
What can I do about gun violence? We experience, hear, and read about violence on a near-daily basis. So often we have a sense of hopelessness, asking ourselves, "What can I do?" This session will focus on how gun violence impacts all of us, especially the victims and their loved ones, and how to address this problem. Please join us on Tuesday, March 18, at 7:00 PM at Sixth Presbyterian Church for a video presentation by Diane Dahm, Center for Victims, discussion, and refreshments. For more information, call the church at 412-421-2752.
Christian Education Workshop
Scheduled for Thursday, March 27, from 11:30 AM-1:30 PM in the Patrick Room at the presbytery center. Enjoy lunch and the learn about the latest hot topics in education. Open to pastors, Christian educators, and members. RSVP by March 17 to the Rev. Dr. Beverly James. All are welcome!
Devotional Prayer Calendar for Lent
Click here for the first installment of the Lenten Devotional of Prayer: Declaring the Mystery of Christ. This week seven churches of the East Branch are described including their prayer requests at this time. Please feel free to share with your congregations online or in print. Lift up these prayer requests in worship or whenever you pray during this Lenten journey. If your church has not yet submitted its description and prayer requests, there is still time! Please email to the Rev. Dr. Beverly James.
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!
2014 Meeting Schedule (6:30-8:30 PM):
Torrance Book Study with Dr. Andrew Purves
Dr. Andrew Purves, long-standing faculty member at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS), is offering a seminar introducing the theology of Thomas F. Torrance. The study group will meet from noon-1:30 PM over lunch once a month at PTS on a day yet to be determined. This seminar is intended for teaching elders in the West Branch who want to grapple seriously with this trajectory in Reformed theology and who will commit to this six month study with a possibility of continuing into a second year, if there is interest. Click here for more details.
More details available online!
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