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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

A Letter from the Associate Minister for Discipleship

In this week's pastoral letter, Habits of the Soul, the Rev. Dr. Beverly W. James encourages us to use the summer months as a time of building up our community by being together and by inviting others to join us.

New Needs Listed on Let's Get Connected!

The Whitehall United Presbyterian Church is in need of pew cushions and the Hazelwood House of Prayer 4 Everyone, a new church development project of Pittsburgh Presbytery, is in need of an amplification system for the summer. Check out the details and get more information on how to make a connection with a gift of resources, services or opportunities, or with a need on the Let's Get Connected! webpage.

Good News!  A Successful Mission Day in the West Branch!

On June 11, the West Branch of Pittsburgh Presbytery tried an experiment. The Steering Team wanted to find out what would happen if the congregations in the West Branch were given an opportunity to participate in a common mission project and wanted the event to be a “hands-on” effort. The challenge was sent to churches in the branch to collect items for health/hygiene kits to be donated to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and to the Pleasant Valley Shelter. We noticed, as people began to arrive, God was doing something very special. Pastors and elders arrived carrying bags and boxes of towels, toothbrushes, razors, deodorant bars, soap, combs, etc. There was a sense of Holy Chaos! All of the items were placed in assembly lines. Participants then sat together in fellowship for dinner and shared summer mission plans before beginning the work of assembling the kits. EVERYONE chipped in!

At the end of the evening, the group had collected and assembled:

All were amazed at what God had done. A final count of completed kits was announced and we rejoiced! We thanked our host church and helpers from that congregation. We thanked members of the Steering Team, especially Barb Prevost, a ruling elder from the First UPC of Crafton Heights, who helped coordinate the effort. We thanked God for moving in people to help others in the name of Jesus Christ! WOW! The experiment worked. Praise be to God!

In Christ,
Doug Portz and the West Branch Steering team: Don Ewing, John Ferguson, Cinda Isler, Dennis Molnar, Barb Prevost, Cathy Purves, Linda Ruby, Larry Shoup, Robbie Ytterberg

Important Information Regarding Fee Waivers for Volunteer Clearances

As the press has widely reported, the office of the Governor recently announced that, effective July 25, 2015, the fees currently charged by the Commonwealth to process child abuse clearances and criminal background checks for volunteers working with children will be waived. Additionally, the cost for employee clearances and background checks will be reduced by $1 per clearance, for a total reduction of $2.  The cost for the FBI fingerprinting will remain unchanged for both volunteers, if necessary, and for employees.

Please note the action of the Governor waives the FEE for the clearances for volunteers, not the requirement that clearances be obtained.

A number of additional adjustments to the child abuse reporting and clearance requirements have been proposed by in the Pennsylvania legislature, but have not yet been passed or signed into law.

For more information about the fee waiver and reduction, see the article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Trip to Palestine Planned by Peacemaking Ministry Team

The Peace Making Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery is sponsoring a 10 day trip to the Holy Land this December or February of 2016, depending on interest of those going on the trip.  Click here to read the letter of invitation from the Rev. Chad Collins to all Teaching and Ruling Elders.

Resource Center to Close!

When Pittsburgh Presbytery moved the location of the offices to 901 Allegheny Avenue, we were fortunate to be able to employ a full-time staff person to operate the Resource Center. For several years, we have not had a staff person dedicated solely to maintaining the Resource Center. As a consequence, materials have become dated and difficult to locate.

Following observation and discussion over the last three years, it is apparent the Resource Center is rarely used. The Staff has concluded the time has come to disperse the resources and to reconfigure the use of that space. We are enlisting the assistance of the entire Pittsburgh Presbytery in these ways:

We are very thankful to Mae Weed, Linda Williams, Dina Blackwell, Sharon Stewart, and all others who have helped to make the Resource Center attractive and effective in the past. Unfortunately, the “on-line” world is rendering the “books-on-the-shelf” world increasingly obsolete.

But there are still many “bibliophiles” among us! If you want to graze in the Resource Center with a cardboard box, please do so by July 25, 2015. After that date, we will be making arrangements to share or dispose of what remains. The Presbytery continues to receive curricula samples and catalogues. These will be on display outside the office of Beverly James.

Coming Training Events & Ministry Opportunities:

Coming Events & Retreats at Crestfield Camp & Conference Center

Continuing Education Opportunities & Events at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

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



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