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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

Invitation to Attend Service of Installation

You and your church members are cordially invited to attend the Installation Service of the Rev. Vincent Kolb as Pastor of the Sixth Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 21, at 4:00 PM.  The service will be held at Sixth Presbyterian Church.  This is an act of the presbytery as we welcome into ministry a colleague in Christ. We urge pastors and church members, especially of neighboring churches, to attend as a way of helping a pastor and his congregation experience the partnership we have as members of Pittsburgh Presbytery. We also invite you to lift up Vince in prayer during your morning worship on September 21 as he officially begins his ministry.

A Letter from the Senior Associate to Pittsburgh Presbytery

In this week's pastoral letter, The Transformative Power of Collaboration, the Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, introduces a series in which he offers a new “Three C’s” statement that gets closer to the heart of our identity and discloses what we aspire to be as a church so it is more prescriptive rather than descriptive: Presbyterians are a Collaborative Covenant Community. Today he writes about the first C, Collaboration, and outlines the potential in the power of church networks to discern and carry out the mission of Christ in the world.

Pittsburgh Presbytery Seeking Stated Clerk

Stated Clerk Jeff Tindall has announced his resignation from that office effective September 30, as he takes a new call as full-time pastor of the John McMillan Presbyterian Church in the South Hills. Our presbytery is deeply indebted to Jeff for his faithful, wise service to us over the past nearly two years. He has also contributed much to the work of presbytery’s Pastoral Leadership Team, which also includes the Ministers to Presbytery and the Executive Director of Crestfield Camp & Conference Center. A search for a new half-time Stated Clerk to complete his term (through 2017) has been opened, with applications being received through Wednesday, October 15. The current Stated Clerk job description is posted on our website, and all Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders in good standing may apply. Letters of application with a list of references may be sent to Cathy Nelson at cnelson@pghpresbytery.org (preferred) or by mail to her attention at Pittsburgh Presbytery, 901 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.

Pittsburgh Presbytery Welcomes Elizabeth Little

Elizabeth Little, Church Support Associate for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will join us at Crestfield Camp & Conference Center for the Presbytery meeting next Thursday, September 25, to share information about new opportunities to partner in mission.  During her visit to Pittsburgh, Elizabeth will be visiting with Presbyterian churches and ministry teams and would welcome the opportunity to speak with your group.  If you are interested in scheduling time with her, please contact Elizabeth (Elizabeth.Little@pcusa.org / 980-224-8000) or Rev. Ayana Teter (ateter@pghpresbytery.org / 412.323.1400x316).

Visit with Rev. Dr. Silas Ncozana from Malawi Africa

Following his service as ambassador of Malawi to the countries of Western Europe, Dr. Silas Ncozana spent a year (2002-2003) in Pittsburgh speaking at presbytery churches and guest teaching at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  Sponsored by the International Partnership (formerly Malawi Partnership) of Pittsburgh Presbytery and as the co-founder of the partnership, his visit only added to the ongoing relationship between the churches here and there. A dynamic and charismatic spokesperson for the Christian faith, Silas will be the guest speaker at a potluck dessert reception in the Patrick Room of the presbytery offices at 7:00 PM on Monday, October 13, where he will talk about the joys and blessings of international partnership.  Pittsburgh Presbyterians and their guests are cordially invited to attend. You are welcome to come, bring your favorite dessert to share, and meet and greet friends old and new. This will be a great opportunity for individuals and congregations who are not currently involved in one of our international partnerships, to get information on how to become connected. This event is being hosted by the International Partnership Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery. A flyer for the event is available online.

Presbytery Pastoral Care Network Conference Focuses on Pastors Overcoming Isolation

Join with the Synod of the Sun on October 27-30 at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, for the 15th Annual Presbytery Pastoral Care Network national gathering to explore how we can nurture health in our beloved church.

Attend this conference if you... 

And you want to...

Download the brochure or register for the event online.

Announcing the 2014 Coleman/Patrick Scholarship Recipients

The Robert Coleman/Dr. Leroy Patrick scholarship is annually awarded to racial-ethnic undergraduate students who are recommended by their church pastor or the director of a validated mission agency of Pittsburgh Presbytery. The awards are distributed through the National Black Presbyterian Caucus (NBPC), Pittsburgh Chapter, and funded by members of Pittsburgh Presbytery.  This year, students were awarded a sum of more than $11,000.  The recipients are Kineen Dillard, Alan Hord, Earl Hord, Meta Hord, Maya McCray, Shakinah Perry, Jordan Pollard, Shamon Walker, and Brian Withrow.  Members of the Pittsburgh NBPC express thanksgiving to all who contributed to the scholarship in support of this ministry that emphasizes the importance of post-secondary education and encourages the youth in our communities. Please pray for our students as they work toward scholastic achievement this year!

Lazarus Fund Update

The Lazarus Fund of Pittsburgh Presbytery is not yet in operation, but is approaching the level of funds that will enable the team to resume accepting applications. If your congregation intends on making a donation this year, sooner is better! Individuals may make donations by sending a check made payable to "Pittsburgh Presbytery," and mail to 901 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15233, with "Lazarus Fund" noted on the memo line. Another opportunity to make a contribution is at the September Presbytery meeting. The offering collected during worship will be shared between the Lazarus Fund and the Hunger Fund.

Pennsylvania Disaster Spiritual Care Network Providing Training

Pennsylvania Disaster Spiritual Care Network (PDSCN) is a state wide committee devoted to providing spiritual care to persons affected by natural disasters or terrorist activity within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  If you are interested in providing disaster spiritual care in your area, you are welcome to attend a two-day, free training that will be held at the Dutilh United Methodist Church in Cranberry Township on October 21-22. More information and registration available online at the PDSCN website. Please email Lucille Underwood or call her at 412-350-3348 with any questions.

Coming Training Events & Ministry Opportunities:

Continuing Education Opportunities at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

NOTE: More information about Continuing Education is available online; all events offer CEs.

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. Dinner will be included. The meeting will be hosted by Hampton United Presbyterian Church and Bidwell Street United Presbyterian Church.


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.

Mission Trip Opportunity
The Presbyterian Project has an exciting mission trip opportunity planned for you and your congregation on October 11-18 to the Alabama/Arkansas area. Click here for details!


The fall gathering of the South Branch will be on Wednesday, October 15, from 6:30-8:15 PM at the Homestead United Presbyterian Church. Click here for details!

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).


Book Study
Please join the South Branch pastors and elders for the next installment of our book study.  We will meet from 11:45 AM-1:15 PM on Thursdays, September 4, 11, and 18, and October 2, 9, and 16 at Panera Bread (623 Clairton Boulevard, Pleasant Hills, PA 15236) to read Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal.  Books are available at the presbytery office for a nominal donation.

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


Blessing of the Animals
Do you or members of your congregation and neighborhood want to have your pets blessed?  Please join with other churches of the East Branch for a Blessing of the Animals scheduled for 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 19, in the park next to the East Branch Regional Office located at the Second United Presbyterian Church in Wilkinsburg, (300 Hay Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15221). There is plenty of room for your buffalo to roam! (Not really expecting buffalo….) But all other creatures, great and small, are welcome to receive a personal blessing as part of brief worship. Water and snacks for all provided, including humans! RSVP NOT REQUIRED.  Come as you are...fur, feathers, fins….

Are We Keeping the Fourth Commandment?
You are invited to make Walter Brueggemann's recent book, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, a part of your summer reading. Ten new copies are available for purchase from Beverly James for $10 per book. As we read together this summer, we will be framing questions for discussion with our congregations and/or colleagues. If you are interested in purchasing a book or being part of the discussion, please email Beverly James or call 412-323-1400 X 303.

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 September 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


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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