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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

A Letter from the Senior Associate to Pittsburgh Presbytery

The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, continues his series that focuses on the core gifts God has given us to keep us strong for the long haul, no matter the severity of the storms that assail us, and to keep us encouraged to trust that God has great things yet in store for us!

After defining last week the four domains of openness that are foundational to vital church life and witness, in this week's pastoral letter, Bible & Newspaper, he demonstrates how the church understands the claims of Scripture on us evolving as historical circumstances change.

Enhancement Grant Applications Due Tomorrow!

The Administrative Commission for Transformation (ACT) hopes to promote ministry partnerships with the 2015 Enhancement Grants. The awards will be based on a 3-to-1 ratio: ACT will offer $3 for every $1 you raise with a maximum grant of $3,000. You are also encouraged to consider sharing in ministry with one or more congregations in your area and applying for a joint grant. Applications are due by August 29. Grants are awarded on a one-year basis. Churches are eligible to receive grants for two consecutive years but must reapply annually. After two consecutive years of receiving a grant, a church should wait one year before applying again. Applications and guidelines are available online.

Great Ends of the Church Fund Applications Due September 2

The 2015 Great Ends of the Church Fund (GECF) application and time line  are available. For this funding cycle, the GECF subcommittee has streamlined the process and is eager to distribute nearly $200,000 in grants. Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 2. The subcommittee will meet with candidates to discover more about their hopes for ministry. Additionally, applicants may request an interview with the subcommittee as another avenue for communicating the ministry vision of the group or organization.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Offers Grant Program

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) is offering a Historic Religious Properties (HRP) Matching Grant Program and technical assistance workshop from 9:00 AM-2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 30, at Calvary United Methodist Church, located across the street from the presbytery center on the North Side, for congregation leaders, members, staff, and all guardians of historic religious structures. You will be able to complete 75% of the 2015 HRP application at the workshop. Panel discussions include:

Advance reservations are required and are on a first-come, first-served basis. A fee of $20 per person will include lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Please RSVP by September 20. More details available online.

PCUSA Transforms Peacemaking Offering

The Peacemaking Offering of PC(USA) has been a source of relief and encouragement to those seeking peace around the world. Now, your 2014 General Assembly is transforming it into the Peace & Global Witness Offering. The new offering will have a greater global reach, make a more significant impact, and empower participating congregations to use 25% of the money they raise on local and worldwide ministries of their choice. Please share this exciting new Offering with your congregation! Need more info? Email or call 800-728-7228 X 5047.

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 planning team is in the final stage of recruiting for the fall class series starting 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.

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).

This season, we will host the Revs. Johannes Swart and Keith Kaufold as our guest speakers.


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


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 August 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


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

THURSDAY, September 4, at Westminster Presbyterian Church

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.

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