Pulpit Notes: Spiritual Pleasures

Pleasures from Your hand in this life, O God, are plenty.

Pleasures from Your hand in this life, O God, are plenty: pleasures of the eye and ear, pleasures that we can taste and touch and smell, aromas that generate wonderful memories; pleasures also of the imagination, that lift our hearts and engage our minds; and pleasures of the Spirit, which nurture our souls beyond human comprehension. O God, to whom can we run, to whom can we cling, when we find ourselves in a dry and thirsty land? Only You are the bread of life; only You are the source of living water that satiates our souls. Fill us up this day, O Lord, not simply with pleasures that please the flesh and engage the mind, but with what our souls crave from Your gracious hand.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Pastoral Portrait

Lauren and Conrad Sharps at the unveiling of artist Jason Bouldin's portrait of Dr. Sharps
Lauren and Conrad Sharps attend the unveiling of the portrait.
In October 2017, Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, unveiled a portrait of Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s senior pastor, the Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps, executed by the acclaimed portrait artist Jason Bouldin. Mr. Bouldin poured not only countless hours of work into this painting, but his magnificent God-given talents and his Christian faith.

A native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Jason Bouldin obtained his bachelor’s degree in art history from Harvard University and received his studio training directly from his father, the late portraitist, Marshall Bouldin III.

Jason’s work has earned international recognition. His portraits have been selected nine times for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition in London, England; and he has been awarded the Grand Prize of the International Portrait Competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America.

Jason Bouldin
Jason Bouldin

His public commissions hang in such varied locations as the United States Department of Agriculture, the Judiciary Committee Room of the United States House of Representatives, Harvard University, and Willcox House in London, in addition to more than a dozen U.S. Federal courthouses, representing more than twenty official portraits for the U.S. Federal Judiciary.

Jason lives and paints in Oxford, Mississippi. A lifelong Presbyterian, he is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Oxford.

Watch a time-lapse video of the artist at work.

Pulpit Notes: We Would See Jesus

O God, with sincere and humble hearts we proclaim, “We would see Jesus!”

We long, we desire, we dream, and sometimes we even imagine ourselves in His divine presence. But today, O God, let it be our intent to live in such a way that others might see Jesus in us. Grant us the wisdom and courage to respond to “the least of our brothers and sisters” who lack even the most basic of human resources and opportunity; and let our response advance both the dignity and respect which every child of God deserves. Yes, God, we desire that Jesus be seen today.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Hear Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr Preach

Archival Recording of a Sermon Preached by Shadyside’s Fifth Pastor

Rev. Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr, fifth pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church from 1913-1945Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr served as fifth pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church from 1913 to 1945.  This recording is a sermon delivered on June 20, 1948, at the Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church by Dr. Kerr, who was then retired.  The transcription was made on twelve 78 RPM lacquer disks, which were carefully preserved by the late Reverend George Fulton and his widow, Mrs. Kathleen Fulton.  Mrs. Fulton recently arranged for Steve Zelenko, the church’s sound engineer, to transfer this audio treasure to a digital copy.  A generous bequest from Rev. Fulton’s estate supported Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s long-time radio ministry, broadcasting Sunday at Shadyside on multiple stations, including KDKA-AM and KQV-AM.  Presently, the Fulton bequest makes possible the church’s streaming webcast available during worship on Sunday mornings at www.shadysidepres.org/live.  We are grateful for the faithfulness and stewardship of the Fulton family, and we hope you will enjoy hearing this only-known recording of Dr. Kerr’s voice.

Pulpit Notes: Seeking Wholeness in Christ

We see and hear so much of strife and division and pain throughout the world.

Let us pray today for unity and wholeness and healing through Christ our Lord.

O God, Your desire and purpose for all of life is unity and wholeness. Mend our wounded hearts and make us channels for Your loving, redeeming, and transformative purpose. In ever increasing concentric circles, help us to grow in the Spirit, in community, and in service to those in distress: those who are alone, grieving, hurting, frightened, or angry. Heal human pain through our ministries, and mend our divisions that we might be truly one in Christ, the glorified.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Twentieth Anniversary of the Columbarium

“God of our life, through all the circling years … Our heart’s true home when all our years have sped.” ­— The Reverend Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr
Sheep May Safely Graze: Immediately outside the Columbarium hangs a pastoral scene, painted by the late John Haughwout, which references the image of God as a shepherd caring for His sheep.
Sheep May Safely Graze: Immediately outside the Columbarium hangs a pastoral scene, painted by the late John Haughwout, which references the image of God as a shepherd caring for His sheep.

As we observe All Saints’ Sunday, we remember and give thanks for the lives of our deceased loved ones in light of the Resurrection — the ultimate source of solace and comfort afforded by our faith. Furthermore, we reverently recall those faithful departed whose families have chosen inurnment in the Columbarium at Shadyside Presbyterian Church for their loved ones. This year, All Saints’ Sunday marks the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of Shadyside’s Columbarium.

The Columbarium is a sacred and beautiful space for mortal remains in the peace and permanence of our beloved church home. Located in the Chapel Narthex, it contains over 300 bronze memorial niches available for those who prefer this form of memorialization.

The design of the Columbarium by the late John L. Haughwout, church member and architect, made use of several existing elements — including a screen wall with stained glass panels and a Virgil Cantini bronze bas-relief — in order to achieve a well-integrated final space. Authorized by the Session in 1994, the project was completed three years later, after much careful planning and construction. The Columbarium was then dedicated on All Saints’ Sunday, November 2, 1997.

The peaceful ambiance of this space provides a setting which invites quiet meditation, reflection, and prayer, while offering the comfort of familiar, well-loved church surroundings. Burial within or on church property has been practiced for many centuries, while the practice of cremation has become an increasingly popular option in the past several decades. Both methods of final disposition are supported by the Christian Church. Members interested in considering this memorial option may contact a member of the Columbarium Committee through the church office.

Contributed by Elder Robert G. Mayer Jr.

Pulpit Notes: Fellowship of the Saints

Merciful Father, bring the promise of eternal life close to those who are nearing the reality of death.

Surround and sustain them with Your everlasting arms. Sustain also their loved ones who wait upon them. Grant them Your Spirit of peace and turn every moment into a measurable awareness of Your holy presence. May the fellowship of the saints become a joyous gathering of welcome and praise: a celebration not only of days gone by, but of the promise of life in Your presence, which is not bound by time nor physical limitation. We pray for Your intercession in the name of Him who was, and is, and is to come, the glorious Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Pulpit Notes: Forgiveness for Ungratefulness

Forgive me, Lord, when I fall into the sin of being ungrateful; when I become distracted and self-consumed; when I dread the day, the meetings, the schedule, the pace.

Holy God, forgive Your foolish servant. You are the One who stirs me from slumber. You grant me — and every disciple — purpose through vocation; You put me in a position of leadership in order to serve. In the face of humanity’s multitude of needs, may life not be lost to the hectic and mundane. When I am disquieted and ungrateful, grant me the opportunity of repentance. Renew me and grant me the mercy to rendezvous anew with Your Spirit and will. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Conrad

Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Senior Pastor

Perspective on Stewardship

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

My sister Barbara and I are so thankful for the solid foundation our parents, Hugh and Mamie, gave us. Although they have been deceased for over forty years, their relationship with Jesus, their support of global causes, and their work in the neighborhood still inspires us. We watched them turn in their pledges. They gave us money to put in the collection plate. You may have started your faith journey on a different path. Shadyside Presbyterian Church welcomes everyone, no matter what your background is.

When I joined our church in 1982, there were a lot of people who welcomed me. They were warm, sincere, gracious, and humble, just like my parents. Many of these people are deceased, but they will always be with me in spirit. Over the years, God has blessed me to work and worship with many wonderful new friends. Many of these friends are now like family.

I give thanks to our church for encouraging and inspiring me through the message, the music, and so many programs and activities. I give thanks for our church for helping our neighbors near and far.

Every Sunday when we sing the Doxology, the first line is “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” I give thanks for my family, my friends, my church, and for all of God’s many blessings.

Elder Beatrice P. Jones

Remembering Loved Ones: All Saints’ Sunday

All Saints’ Sunday: November 5

Christians throughout the world celebrate All Saints’ Day in honor of all the saints, both known and unknown. In most Protestant churches, it is celebrated on the first Sunday of November. Protestants regard all Christians, both past and present, as saints. As we solemnly remember all those who have died in the past year, we also focus on Christ’s victory over death. While the festival acknowledges the reality of death, we emphasize our hope in the Resurrection and our place in the “communion of saints.”

  • During the All Saints’ Sunday morning service at 11:00 a.m., we will remember those members of Shadyside Presbyterian Church who have been received into the Church Triumphant during the past calendar year.
  • On the afternoon of All Saints’ Sunday, at 3:00 p.m., the Chancel Choir will sing the beloved setting of the Requiem by composer Gabriel Fauré. We invite the congregation to submit the names of any deceased family members whom they would like to have acknowledged in the afternoon bulletin. Please submit the names to Gwen Missouri in the church office before Friday, October 27.

Additional Resources:

  • Shadyside Presbyterian Church offers a Grief Support Group designed to provide encouragement and a faith-centered perspective for those who have lost a loved one. Two meetings will occur within the next month, including one which will focus on surviving the holidays.
    -Monday, October 23, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.  (Details)
    -Monday, November 13, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.  (Details)
  • Shadyside Presbyterian Church offers one-to-one, confidential Christian care through its Stephen Ministry program. If you think you could benefit from the support and encouragement of a Stephen Minister as you grieve, please contact Rev. Lynn M. Portz, Associate Pastor for Parish Life, through the church office.
  • Please remember that Shadyside Presbyterian Church has four pastors who are available to talk and pray with you. Although each of them focuses upon certain aspects of ministry, they all are, first and foremost, pastors. They all are ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, and all of them desire to walk with you as you seek God’s strength and wisdom through both joys and challenges of life, including your seasons of grief. If you would like to speak with one of the pastors, please do not hesitate to call the church office.

“Blessed are they who die in the Lord,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”

Revelation 14:13