Introducing Pastoral Candidate

Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley
Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley

An Update from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Note: This letter was mailed to all members on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Its publication on the website was intentionally delayed in order to respect confidentiality concerns.

Dear Shadyside Presbyterian Church Family,

It is with great joy that we, your Pastor Nominating Committee, announce the Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley as our candidate for Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. It has been an honor to be entrusted with this important, sacred work, and we have felt the weight of your collective hopes and prayers. That is why we could not be any more certain that Rev. Shelley is the person God has in mind to lead Shadyside Presbyterian Church into its next chapter.

We were looking, first and foremost, for someone who loves preaching and teaching. We were looking for someone who is a leader and who can help us discern the future God has planned for us. We were looking for someone who can inspire us to love each other and our neighbors well. Ultimately, we were looking for someone who can help us fulfill our potential for good in the world. We have found that someone in Rev. Shelley.

We were enamored by Rev. Shelley’s ability to preach, crafting sermons that are engaging, that challenge us to think, and that show us how Scripture is relevant to our lives. We were inspired by the examples she gave of her collaborative, visionary style of leadership. We were impressed with stories shared by her references that illustrate she is a pastor at heart, with an endless capacity to love the people within the church and those outside it. And when we had the opportunity to meet her in person, we were convinced that we had found someone who each of us felt was the perfect fit.

The majesty of our worship service is one of the signature features of our life together. When we learned that
Rev. Shelley not only appreciates a beautiful, traditional worship experience, but is as nourished by it as we are, we knew without a doubt that she was the person we were seeking.

The Shelley Family
The Shelley Family

Currently, Rev. Shelley serves as Associate Minister at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has been for the past nine years. She is nearing completion of her Ph.D. in Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. Austin and her husband, Mark, have four children, two cats, and a border collie puppy. We hope this brochure, which includes a message to our congregation from Rev. Shelley and her statement of faith, will serve as an initial introduction while revealing profound theological insights that reflect her spiritual strength. (Click here to view the brochure as a .pdf file.)

Earlier this month, we shared with you the schedule of events for Rev. Shelley’s candidacy weekend. You are invited to attend a meet-and-greet reception for the Shelley family on Saturday, June 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Rev. Shelley will preach her candidacy sermon on Sunday, June 27, during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m. Immediately following the service, the congregation will hear the report from the Pastor Nominating Committee and will vote to approve the call of Rev. Shelley as the twelfth senior pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. (For your convenience, links to details about each of these events appear at the bottom of this announcement.)

As a gentle reminder, we also previously conveyed the need for confidentiality surrounding this announcement. We respectfully request that everyone entrusted with this information will keep this news within our church family until June 30, so that Rev. Shelley may notify her congregation appropriately. We thank you for exercising discretion.

If the way be clear, Rev. Shelley will begin her tenure at Shadyside on September 27. This schedule will give her time to move her family to Pittsburgh, take her comprehensive exams, and fulfill prior commitments.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Rev. Shelley and her family to Shadyside this weekend!

With love in Christ,
The Shadyside Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee:
Susan Balaan; Sara Brooke; Don Coffelt; Percy Jackson, Chair; Adam Loucks; Ann Pauley; and Janet Rohrer

View the Brochure

Candidacy Weekend Events at Shadyside Presbyterian Church

More from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Read previous updates from the Pastor Nominating Committee of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

An Invitation to Communion

Special Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. This set will be used regularly as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our midweek vespers. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.

Our service of worship at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 4, will incorporate a celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, both on-site and online.

  • Those who attend this service on-site may choose to bring their own elements from home; alternatively, pre-packaged elements will be available.
  • Those who are unable to attend worship in the Sanctuary may celebrate Communion virtually through our worship livestream. In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic).

In this time when we are separated by space, yet united in the Spirit, we remember that Christ is always at work, gathering us in unique ways.

Preparations for Celebrating Virtual Communion

In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.

Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.

During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.

Some possibilities for bread:

  • any kind of bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • chips
  • tortilla
  • pita

Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.

Some possibilities for beverage:

  • grape juice
  • any other type of juice
  • wine
  • water

Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.

COVID-19 Updates and Announcements

Detail of a caduceus in the 1968 bronze bas-relief by Virgil Cantini at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Dedicated to Shadyside physician W.D. Richards, the artwork depicts the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed (Luke 8:43-48).

Services of worship at Shadyside Presbyterian Church continue to be held on-site and online. All individuals are asked to wear masks while in the building. Most church-related activities will continue to occur online, and the church office is open during weekday business hours. The COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet regularly to monitor data and to prayerfully discern our path forward.

Although pre-registration is no longer required to attend worship, other safety precautions and protocols remain in effect. To better prepare you for what to expect as you return to on-site worship, please visit this page of the church website to review current worship practices.

We are committed to continuing to offer a virtual worship option so that you may join us remotely. You may access the video here on our website, from our YouTube channel, or from our Facebook page. Visit the live webcast page to access worship documents, including the bulletin and the children’s bulletin in .pdf format.

Selected Highlights from Previous COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Task Force

In June 2020, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church formed a COVID-19 Task Force to continue the prayerful discernment process regarding how and when we might begin the gradual return to our building. With direction from the government and the medical community, this task force will develop our own guidelines specific to our conditions, in addition to a timeline for resuming certain activities on the church premises.

Along with the Reverend Lynn Portz, the task force is comprised of Trustee Alex Dick and Elders Don Coffelt, Brigetta Del Re, Rob Ferguson, Carla Gedman, Jim Gockley, Bob Luthultz, and Alex Viehman. Each of these individuals has committed to meeting regularly and often in order to give these matters the careful and faithful consideration required. Other staff members and experts will serve in an advisory capacity as needed.

Please keep the task force in your prayers as they make important decisions for the well-being of our congregation. We will communicate further with you as plans emerge; meanwhile, if you have concerns or thoughts to share, you are welcome to contact any member of the task force through the church office.

Policy and Protocols

In September 2020, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church approved the COVID-19 Task Force’s proposed policy and protocols document. Access the current version of these guidelines at www.shadysidepres.org/covid-19/guidelines.

Care Team Support for Vaccination Process

The Care Team of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has the availability to aid congregation members with navigating the many websites to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments. These folks are vaccinated and can bring a laptop computer to your home to assist in this process. We also have vaccinated members that are available to transport congregants to vaccine appointments. Please let us know if you, or anyone you know, is in need of assistance. You may contact Linda Leach, Care Team leader, through the church office.

Congregational Letters

  • October: The Session has mailed a letter to all members on October 31, 2020, in order to update the congregation about the resumption of on-site Sunday worship in a limited capacity. Click here to read the letter on the church website if you did not receive your copy through the United States Postal Service.
  • September: The Session has mailed a letter to all members on September 28, 2020, in order to update the congregation on the approval of a policy and protocols for the phased re-opening of the church. Click here to read the letter on the church website if you did not receive your copy through the United States Postal Service.
  • August: The pastors have mailed a letter to all members on August 20, 2020, in order to update the congregation for the upcoming new program year. Click here to read the letter on the church website if you did not receive your copy through the United States Postal Service.
  • July: The COVID-19 Task Force sent a congregational letter to all members on July 13, 2020, in order to share with you some considerations and factors guiding their discernment process for the gradual re-opening of the church building and offices. Click here to read the letter on the church website if you did not receive your copy through the United States Postal Service.
  • June: The pastors of Shadyside Presbyterian Church sent a congregational letter to all members on June 1, 2020. In case you did not receive it via the United States Postal Service, you may read the letter online by clicking here. Also enclosed in this mailing was a notice of the annual meetings of the corporation and congregation to be held electronically on Sunday, June 14, at noon. Learn more.

eGiving Options

Shadyside Presbyterian Church is pleased to offer secure eGiving options during this especially challenging time in order to encourage faithful stewardship among our congregation. Read the full article to learn more about these options, and then visit the giving area of the church website to select the best option for you and begin a new gift.

COVID-19 Relief Fund

Shadyside Presbyterian Church has established a COVID-19 relief fund to support individuals and families experiencing economic hardships due to the coronavirus countermeasures. In this video message, the Reverend Todd E. Leach explains the purpose of the fund, outlines who may benefit from it, and invites those who are able to donate. If your situation allows you to do so, you may make a financial contribution by giving online through the church website, selecting the COVID-19 Relief Fund. You may also send a check made payable to “Shadyside Presbyterian Church” with “COVID-19 Relief Fund” in the memo line to the attention of the Finance Office at the church. Thank you for your generosity and your concern for our neighbors.

By God’s Side

On August 12, 2020, Shadyside Presbyterian Church introduced By God’s Side, a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles, to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages appear in the blog section of the church website each week. (Our weekly e-newsletter includes an excerpt to remind you to read along with us regularly; click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter if you do not already receive it.) We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith. Begin reading here.

The Quarantined Kitchen

Through this new weekly feature on the church website blog, Chef Steven Bright shares ideas and recipes to help you stay healthy by eating well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit The Quarantined Kitchen.

Local Mission Partner Updates

Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) has been in communication with our local mission partners regarding needs and responses to COVID-19. Many of our partners have already been impacted financially, with some having to lay off staff. In addition to concerns for their staff, they are greatly concerned for their clients. Their repeated and greatest request was for prayer, but that was soon followed by expressed need for funding. SPC will respond to financial needs as our budget allows, but Rev. Todd Leach has shared a summary of the ways you may be able to pray more specifically. Read the full update from our mission partners.

Choices You Can Make to Stay Emotionally Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In light of the recent stay-at-home order for Allegheny County issued by the governor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church shares with you suggestions to promote emotional health as we face an extended time of physical separation from our community of faith. Read the full list of suggestions.

Additional Resources

To read all previous COVID-19 announcements, visit the coronavirus archive by clicking here.

Architectural Photograph: Detail of a caduceus in the 1968 bronze bas-relief by Virgil Cantini at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Dedicated to Shadyside physician W.D. Richards, the artwork depicts the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed (Luke 8:43-48).

Pastoral Search Complete

An Update from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Dear Shadyside Presbyterian Church Family,

We are delighted to share an important update with you. The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) has completed its search, and we want you to know that God has led us to our next Senior Pastor. Throughout this two-year journey, we have been blessed by your prayerful support and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we are confident that Shadyside will be blessed by the leadership and ministry of our candidate.

While we can hardly contain our enthusiasm, we are not yet able to share all of the good news with you. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the timeline of events so that you will have the opportunity to meet our candidate when the time is right and participate fully in the process of electing this outstanding nominee as our twelfth Senior Pastor.

You are invited to attend a meet-and-greet reception for our candidate on Saturday, June 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. During the service of worship at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, we will hear our candidate preach. A congregational meeting will occur immediately following the service. (Links to details about each of these events appear at the bottom of this announcement.)

Although we could not be more excited about our candidate, we are mindful that, because our candidate presently serves another church, we must exercise extreme care in sharing our candidate’s name. Out of respect for the candidate and the candidate’s congregation, we have agreed to wait until the end of the month to reveal our candidate’s identity. Even then, we request that our church family will treat this disclosure sensitively, holding all information in confidence until June 30, when our announcement may be made public.

Having articulated the need for confidentiality, we know you are eager to learn more about this individual, and we also know you need to be well informed in advance of the congregational meeting. To that end, members will receive a mailing delivered via the United States Postal Service within the two days immediately preceding our candidacy weekend events. The materials enclosed in the forthcoming mailing will introduce our candidate to you in more detail just prior to meeting the candidate and hearing the candidacy sermon. Recognizing that news travels quickly in the digital age, we will not share the candidate’s profile online through the church’s website or social media channels until June 30 and thereafter, in keeping with our commitment to honor our candidate’s desire to respect both congregations and the different pastoral needs of each.

This approach may be a new experience for many in our congregation, but it has become the preferred practice for pastors and congregations as they seek to follow God’s direction in their mutual ministry. The Pittsburgh Presbytery confirms that several of our neighboring churches have followed this pattern as they have called new pastors recently, and we feel strongly that we are proceeding properly — balancing our own needs with those of our candidate and the congregation which will grieve the departure of its pastor.

We trust that you will concur, and we thank you for your patience as we allow our candidate the time needed to say farewell to our sister congregation in an appropriate way. We know that our candidate is grateful for this courtesy, which will facilitate the transition to ministry with Shadyside.

Please keep our candidate, along with our candidate’s family and church family, in your prayers during this season of change. We look forward to sharing more about our candidate later this month.

In hopeful anticipation,
The Shadyside Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee:
Susan Balaan; Sara Brooke; Don Coffelt; Percy Jackson, Chair; Adam Loucks; Ann Pauley; and Janet Rohrer

Candidacy Weekend Events at Shadyside Presbyterian Church

More from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Read previous updates from the Pastor Nominating Committee of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell to Preach June 13

Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell
Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell
Welcoming Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell

On Sunday, June 13, the Reverend Dr. Hunter Farrell will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

The Reverend Dr. Farrell is the director of the World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Dr. Farrell brings thirty years of experience to the position. He has been a professor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, coordinator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s mission work in East and West Africa, community organizer addressing issues of poverty and justice in Peru, and director of World Mission for the PC(USA) in Louisville. Dr. Farrell attended Pontificia Universidad Católica (doctor of anthropology), École Pratique des Hautes (post-graduate diploma), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and University of Texas at Austin (B.A.).

We give thanks that Rev. Dr. Farrell will proclaim God’s Word among us in June. Please join us in welcoming him as he returns to Shadyside’s pulpit. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.

A Fond Farewell to a Very Sound Man

Saluting Steve Zelenko and Celebrating Six Decades of Sound Ministry
Steve M. Zelenko
Steve M. Zelenko

A soundman from the beginning, today Steve Zelenko looks far younger than his 87 years. He credits that to a daily dose of cod liver oil and a zinc supplement to keep his joints limber, body agile, and mind intact. Though a humble and private man, some among our flock know that Steve’s storied life goes well beyond recording thousands of worship services, concerts, weddings, and funerals at Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) beginning in the late 1950s.

When growing up in Groveton (Robinson Township), and spurred by reading Popular Mechanics, Steve was a creative builder, including a homemade speedboat that outran everything on the Ohio River. There was also a practical and enterprising dimension to his early youth during the hardscrabble years of the Great Depression. In addition to tending a garden, Steve raised rabbits — lots of rabbits, and once had as many as 184 for sale. He remains an avid gardener, and today the landscaping and flora surrounding his home reflect that passion.

Preparing the Way

It seems that everything along Steve’s path prepared him for the fascinating career in radio and television broadcasting that would follow. After graduating from Robinson Township High School (now Montour), he attended Allegheny Technical Institute, specializing in radio electronics, transmission, and reception. Drafted in 1953 during the Korean War, Uncle Sam immediately recognized Steve’s talent by assigning him to the Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and afterward to The Presidio in San Francisco to maintain the single sideband and microwave transmissions of top secret communications between the continent, Honolulu, and Tokyo. Thereafter, Steve shipped-out from Fort Lewis in Seattle for Seoul to become the chief engineer of AFKN (Armed Forces Korean Network), which provided news and entertainment for the troops in the foxholes along the 38th parallel DMZ and Pacific area via shortwave radio.

The Shadyside Connection

Upon returning home in 1955, television was in its infancy. Already familiar with RCA’s newest technology from his time in the Army, over the next seven years Steve worked for WQED and WIIC (now WPXI) installing the transmitters and control rooms that put local TV broadcasting on the air. As a side business, he also started Image Recordings to do remote recording of musical programs. It was during this period (late 1950s) that Steve met Lorenzo “Larry” Malfatti (longtime SPC baritone soloist). Malfatti had been lured away from New York City by Russell Wichmann (SPC organist/choir director and chair of the music department at Chatham College) to direct the women’s choir at Chatham and sing in the church’s Chancel Choir. Malfatti engaged Steve to record the Chatham choir’s concerts and produce LPs as keepsakes. After meeting Wichmann through Malfatti, Steve also began recording the Shadyside choir’s afternoon and evening concerts in the sanctuary. Parenthetically, Malfatti served as best man in Steve’s October 1960 wedding to his late wife, Loretta. Another coincidence was that the Zelenkos lived directly across the street from the Wichmanns in Edgewood.

The Kuhlman Years

Steve’s engineering and recording ability attracted the attention of the world-renowned Pittsburgh-based evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman. She hired Steve in 1958 to build her a studio (in the Carlton House hotel) and start recording what would become her sixty-station nationally-syndicated radio broadcasts and weekly television show I Believe in Miracles. For those who are not old enough to remember Kuhlman’s ministry, she was a powerful preacher who conducted worldwide healing crusades from the 1940s through the early 1970s. An international icon, Kuhlman lived in Fox Chapel. As a teenager, I heard her speak to an SRO audience at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church in the late 1960s. For several years following her untimely death at age 69 in 1976, Steve oversaw the rebroadcast of her radio and television programs by the Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation.

The Second Calling by Shadyside

As some of you may know, Shadyside’s Sunday morning worship service had been carried live by radio stations KDKA and KQV for many years, but eventually only rebroadcast late at night — 11:00 p.m. on Sundays. When carried on KDKA’s 50,000 clear-channel watt signal, the service could be heard by nearly all of Eastern North America, but the sound quality was often inferior. Picked up by two open and unbalanced microphones (located at the pulpit and lectern), the unmixed and un-equalized transmission was sent through a phone line, but the telephone call had to be initiated from the church. The heavily-unionized radio stations insisted that one of their own engineers be on site to do nothing more than simply flip that switch to enable the connection to their studios downtown. It wasn’t long before they requested that the church begin paying that cost. SPC Trustee Ben Fisher balked at that, and instead hired Steve (in 1982) to record the service and hand deliver the edited tapes to the stations ahead of their evening rebroadcasts. Since then, Steve has rarely missed a service over those thirty-eight years, and when he did, entrusted the job to his son, Stephen.

A Big, Heartfelt Thank You

I will miss Steve’s twinkling eyes, quick wit, and abiding devotion to the church over his many decades of faithful service. Moreover, as a choir member since 1967, I have witnessed Steve’s diligent and capable service up close. With much of today’s commercially-recorded, over-produced music sounding so antiseptic, I always appreciated what Steve delivered to the listener — the excitement of a live experience that captured the passion, realism, heart, and soul of the music, flaws and all. Once the COVID-19 restrictions are fully relaxed (hopefully by fall), we plan to acknowledge Steve’s long ministry during a Sunday service and hold a reception thereafter for all to express their gratitude directly.

Contributed by Lloyd F. Stamy Jr.

An Invitation to Communion

Special Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. This set will be used regularly as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our midweek vespers. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.

Our service of worship at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 6, will incorporate a celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, both on-site and online.

  • Those who are able to register successfully to attend this service on-site may choose to bring their own elements from home; alternatively, pre-packaged elements will be available. Registered attendees will be reminded by email of the options for partaking of the Lord’s Supper on-site.
  • Those who are unable to attend worship in the Sanctuary may celebrate Communion virtually through our worship livestream. In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic).

In this time when we are separated by space, yet united in the Spirit, we remember that Christ is always at work, gathering us in unique ways.

Preparations for Celebrating Virtual Communion

In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.

Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.

During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.

Some possibilities for bread:

  • any kind of bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • chips
  • tortilla
  • pita

Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.

Some possibilities for beverage:

  • grape juice
  • any other type of juice
  • wine
  • water

Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.

Strawberry Festival Takeout Treats

Desserts that Do Good

Shadyside Presbyterian Church invites you to treat yourself to some sweet homemade desserts while supporting our neighbors! Though we cannot host our traditional Strawberry Festival again this year due to health and safety restrictions, the Board of Deacons remains committed to sponsoring a community event that remembers the needs of our mission partners.

The Board of Deacons will prepare strawberry-themed dessert takeout boxes for $12 each. Each dessert box includes a strawberry tartlet, a strawberry cupcake, and chocolate-covered strawberries — all made by our deacons. All proceeds will benefit our mission partner Sojourner House.

Treat boxes must be pre-ordered using the button below. Simply click the button, complete the form, and then follow the instructions for one of the two payment options. All pre-orders must be received by Thursday, May 27. Pick-up will be available in the church’s circular driveway on Friday, June 4, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Unfortunately, we will be unable to accommodate walk-up purchases at the event on Friday.

Place an Order

After worship on Sunday, June 6, additional boxes may be available for walk-up purchase by cash. No pre-orders are required to purchase a treat box on Sunday; boxes will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sojourner House and the Sojourner House MOMS program offer compassionate recovery services for mothers and their children. Learn more at www.sojournerhousepa.org.

In Memoriam: The Reverend Dr. John E. Mehl

June 18, 1936 – April 25, 2021

Please remember in prayer the family and friends of the Reverend Dr. John E. Mehl, who passed from this life into the Church Triumphant on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at the age of eighty-four.

A retired member of Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Reverend Dr. John E. Mehl worked with several local congregations during his ministry, including ours, and directed the Doctor of Ministry Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary from 1985 until 2001.

Rev. Dr. John Mehl and Dr. Margaret Ross Mehl
Rev. Dr. John Mehl and Dr. Margaret Ross Mehl

John and his wife, Dr. Margaret A. Ross Mehl, have had a long association with Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC). Peggy has been a member of our church family for more than fifty-three years and also has been singing with the Chancel Choir for fifty-eight years. The Reverend Dr. Mehl served on the ministerial staff of SPC on two separate occasions: once as a Parish Associate from January 2002 through June 2004, and again as Interim Associate Pastor for Parish Life in 2008. Throughout these years of faithful service, he ministered to the needs of the congregation through preaching; leading adult Christian education studies; and assisting in congregational care, including visiting homebound and hospitalized members. A wise, gentle, and compassionate pastor, he walked alongside SPC through several leadership transitions, and we are grateful to have enjoyed our fellowship with him as a friend and member of our extended church family.

In addition to his work with the seminary and with churches in the Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Reverend Dr. Mehl taught undergraduate courses at Washington and Lee University and for nine years was the editor of the Kerygma Bible Study Program and the Thesis Cassette Study Program. A graduate of Dartmouth College, John also earned degrees from Pittsburgh and Union Theological Seminaries, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Please join us in giving thanks to God for John’s life of faith, which he lived in dedicated service to Christ. Please especially remember Peggy and the Mehl family as they entrust this wonderful man to God’s eternal care. An obituary is available online; you may read it by following this link.

Arrangements

A memorial service will occur on Saturday, May 22, at 2:00 p.m. at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 799 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania 15228. Family and friends will be received on Friday, May 21, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Laughlin Cremation and Funeral Tributes, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania 15216.

An Invitation to Communion

Special Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. This set will be used regularly as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our midweek vespers. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.

Our service of worship at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 2, will incorporate a celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, both on-site and online.

  • Those who are able to register successfully to attend this service on-site may choose to bring their own elements from home; alternatively, pre-packaged elements will be available. Registered attendees will be reminded by email of the options for partaking of the Lord’s Supper on-site.
  • Those who are unable to attend worship in the Sanctuary may celebrate Communion virtually through our worship livestream. In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic).

In this time when we are separated by space, yet united in the Spirit, we remember that Christ is always at work, gathering us in unique ways.

Preparations for Celebrating Virtual Communion

In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.

Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.

During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.

Some possibilities for bread:

  • any kind of bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • chips
  • tortilla
  • pita

Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.

Some possibilities for beverage:

  • grape juice
  • any other type of juice
  • wine
  • water

Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.