By God’s Side: August 12, 2020

With this inaugural post, Shadyside Presbyterian Church introduces a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages will be published in the blog section of the church website each week. We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.

August 12, 2020

If there is an overarching theme for living the Christian faith, it is that we seek to be by God’s side. Certainly, that is what we seek to do when we pray. Likewise, that is what our worship life does, bringing us into the presence of God, to present to God all of our best. Our prayer time and worship time are the most obvious aspects of living a Christian life; yet, they are just the beginning. There is so much more.

Let’s say we take time to have devotions in the morning. We reflect upon Scripture and pray, placing ourselves in God’s presence, with the goal that, throughout the day, we will remain by God’s side. In many ways, it is like what those first disciples did, when they traveled all around the various towns and even out to wilderness places. They were by Jesus’ side. Their days were like our days. They made plans for the day, as we do. They even knew some of Jesus’ plans for the day, as we may. But as each day unfolded, things came their way that they had not anticipated. So it was for all of the time that they spent with Jesus. So it is for all of us, all our days.

You will recall that Abraham Lincoln made an observation in the midst of the Civil War, that he was not so much concerned whether God was on our side, but rather whether we were on God’s side. In times of peace or in times of stress, when we are by God’s side, we will care for others; we will listen to new information, making it our own; we will be open to a change of heart and mind; and we will take risks. God’s side is where we can find rest; it is also where we will find purpose for action. Nowadays, we may find ourselves in places we did not plan, dealing with situations we did not anticipate. The goal is still the same. Today, and every day, live by God’s side.

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesThe Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church

Get to Know Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.

The Quarantined Kitchen

Your Weekly Culinary Source

The Quarantined Kitchen shares ideas and recipes from Chef Steven Bright, Hospitality Coordinator at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, to help you stay healthy by eating well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 12, 2020: Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail

Maryland blue crab season has ended, but now is the time to purchase jumbo lump crab meat by the pound!

Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail

Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients

1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
½ c each: cucumber, plum* tomato, avocado, asparagus tips, diced small
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced, carefully
4 scallions, minced
Zest and juice of 3 fresh limes, about ¾ c
3-4 T good olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste
Cocktail sauce (optional)

Procedure

  1. Toss all (*any fresh tomatoes will do) ingredients gently together with 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Divide into 8 chilled cocktail glasses. (You can opt to place a tablespoon or two of cocktail sauce in the bottom of the glass before adding the crab mixture.)

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

August 5, 2020: Jumbo Lump Crab Beignet

Maryland blue crab season has ended, but now is the time to purchase jumbo lump crab meat by the pound!

Jumbo Lump Crab Beignet

Makes about 60 pieces

Ingredients

1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
½ c clam juice
¼ c evaporated milk
¼ t sugar
½ t instant yeast
1 ¼ c cake flour
1 egg
1 T butter, melted
1 ½ t black pepper
2 t salt
1/8 t celery seed
½ t red pepper flakes
3 scallions, minced
Zest of 2 lemons

Procedure

  1. Warm clam juice and milk to 105 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over clam juice milk mixture. Wait 8 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, egg, butter, seasonings, scallions, and zest.
  4. Add yeast mixture and gently fold in crab.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Form 1-oz portions with a 1-oz scoop, fry in 315-degree oil until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with chive yogurt.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

July 29, 2020: Pecan Pralines

Because of the molten sugar, this recipe can be dangerous! Be careful and enjoy!

Pecan Pralines

Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a 3 – 4 quart saucepan, mix together sugar and baking soda. Add cream and place over medium-high heat. Cook, carefully whisking occasionally, until golden brown and mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully add butter, vanilla, and pecans, and mix together until butter has melted and mixture is well combined, about 1 minute. Using a tablespoon, drop mixture onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

July 22, 2020: Lemon Herb Hummus

Try this simple and light recipe as an appetizer or TV snack!

Lemon Herb Hummus

Makes about 1 ½ cups

Ingredients

1 15.5-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 large clove garlic
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
2 t tahini
½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 t ground cumin
Warm water and extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Procedure

  1.  In processor, add beans, tahini, garlic, zest, cilantro, and cumin. Pulse a few times.
  2.  With processor running, add lemon juice, then alternate warm water and olive oil.
  3.  Open processor and scrape down sides, season with salt, and continue processing, adding oil, water, and additional lemon juice to your desired taste and until very smooth. About 2 minutes.
  4.  Enjoy with fresh vegetables, fresh pita bread, or toasted pita chips.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

July 15, 2020: Honey-Lemongrass Ice Cream

This smooth, refreshing custard takes two days, but is well worth every minute!

Honey-Lemongrass Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients

2 stalks lemongrass
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 each egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 to ½ cup honey (more for sweeter, less for more refreshing)
Pinch of salt

Procedure

  1. Snip the lemongrass stalk to remove any leaves, leaving only the thick bottom portion of the stalk. Crush it with a meat hammer on a cutting board, and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Combine this with the milk, cream, vanilla, and half of the honey.
  3. Combine the yolks, sugar, and salt, and beat well with a whisk.
  4. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and beat half of this mixture into the yolks (to temper the mixture). Put the rest of the milk mixture back on the heat, turn it down to medium, and beat in the tempered yolk mixture.
  5. Cook while constantly scraping the bottom and sides of the pan until the mixture thickens slightly. DO NOT BOIL.
  6. Remove from heat and add the remaining honey. Pour into a stainless-steel bowl set in another bowl of ice, and stir until cool.
  7. Refrigerate this overnight to allow the flavor to ripen – this is important! Note: If your maker has a bowl that needs to be frozen – now’s the time to make sure it freezes for at least 24 hours.
  8. Once ripened, strain the mixture and churn in your ice cream freezer until the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Freeze until firm.
  9. Enjoy!

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

July 8, 2020: Pork Chop Marinade

Great on beef too!

Pork Chop Marinade

For 4 to 6 chops

Ingredients

¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup 0live oil
¼ cup vinegar (white)
¼ cup ketchup
1/8 cup brown mustard
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly minced parsley
1 teaspoon freshly rough-chopped oregano
1 teaspoon pepper

Procedure

  • Combine all ingredients in large plastic zip bag – then add pork chops.
  • Seal to remove air and massage bag to coat chops evenly.
  • Marinate in refrigerator overnight.
  • Remove to room temperature 1 hour before grilling to an internal temperature of 155.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

July 1, 2020: Lemon Posset

Another light and refreshing winner for your recipe books!

Lemon Posset

Makes 6 (six) 4-oz. portions

Ingredients

2-2/3 c cream
2/3 c sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Procedure

  • Simmer cream with sugar 3 minutes while stirring.
  • Remove from heat, stir in juice
  • Pour into serving cups and chill overnight
  • Serve plain or with berries and whipped cream

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

June 24, 2020: Pavlova

Looking for something to do with egg whites? This dessert is cool, refreshing, and perfectly light for summer!

Pavlova

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 large egg whites (about 4 oz.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F*. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar in 2 additions, beating for 30 seconds between, then continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes. The peaks should be stiff enough that you can hold the whisk upright and the peaks won’t move. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute. The peaks should still be very stiff. If not, keep mixing on high speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cream of tartar and cornstarch.
  3. Spread the pavlova mixture into an 8-9-inch circle. You can create a shallow bowl shape with the back of a large spoon. Make sure the edges are relatively tall and there is a nice dip in the center.
  4. Place pavlova in the oven. *As soon as you close the oven door, reduce heat to 200°F. The pavlova will stay in the oven as it cools down to 200°F. Bake until the pavlova is firm and dry, about 90 minutes total. Rotate the baking sheet if you notice some spots browning. Try to limit how many times you open the oven as the cool air will interrupt the baking.
  5. Turn the oven off and let the pavlova cool inside the oven. Once the pavlova is cool, you can store it covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days, or serve right away.
  6. Once cool, top the pavlova with whipped cream and fresh berries. Slice and serve.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

June 17, 2020: Chocolate Pots de Crème

Cool, refreshing, and satisfying – it’s French chocolate pudding!

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 cups light cream
* ½ cup whipping cream (garnish)
4 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped or frozen/grated
9 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate – coarsely chopped

Directions

Position your oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Combine the 3 cups of light cream along with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer while you whisk. Stir in the ginger and add the chocolate and stir until it is melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the saucepan and let stand for 30 minutes.

Select a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt until it is well blended. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Strain the mixture into a large 4-cup measuring cup.

Place 6 pots de crème cups or small (6-8 oz.) ramekins in a large roasting pan. Divide mixture evenly between cups. Pour enough hot water in the pan to cover the sides of the dishes by half. Cover the pan with aluminum foil (or use pot lids if you have them). Place in oven and bake until the custard is just set around the edges, approximately 20 minutes. Custards will jiggle slightly in center third.

Remove the pan from the oven. Remove dishes from the pan and allow them to cool uncovered. Then, cover and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours and as long as overnight.

* Garnish: With the ½ cup whipping cream, whisk with ½ teaspoon sugar to semi-stiff peaks.

Enjoy!

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

June 10, 2020: Bacon Dijon Glaze for Scallops

Like scallops on the grill? You’ll love them glazed with the following recipe!

Bacon Dijon Glaze for Scallops

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

¼ # thick-cut bacon/small dice/fried until crisp/onto paper towel
¼ c honey
2T Dijon mustard
1t black pepper
2T butter/melted/browned
½ lemon’s juice and zest

Procedure

  • Brown butter/Strain solids
  • While still hot, whisk in honey, Dijon, pepper, and lemon juice and zest
  • Fold in bacon
  • Baste scallops during grilling. Drizzle with extra glaze before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

June 3, 2020: Four Helpful Hints and Hacks

  1. When picking onions at the grocery store choose a variety of onion sizes. Never buy the bag; instead, get just what you might need for a two-week period. At the store, remove any extra excess skins. Brush with hands to remove any fruit fly larva and never store your onions in the refrigerator.
  2. When grinding fresh pepper corns, add a half a bay leaf. Perfect for meats, fish, and vegetables!
  3. When choosing fresh limes, pick the ones with the smooth skins; they are the juiciest!
  4. When buying fresh ginger root, store in the freezer until ready for use. Grate ginger directly into your dish. Frozen ginger will melt right into your product. For even more ginger flavor, squeeze thawed ginger root to juice.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

May 27, 2020: Citrus Vinaigrette

Use this recipe to baste poultry and vegetables on the grill!

Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1 small shallot, cut in half
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 lemon’s juice and zest (about 1/8 c)
3 T orange juice (zest if you have it)
1 T honey
3 T sherry vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t kosher salt
2 t black pepper
1 ½ c quality olive oil or mixture of olive and grapeseed oils

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except oils to a blender. Cover and pulse a few times, then blend on low speed. Slowly begin to add oil until incorporated and emulsified.
  2. Use on green, pasta, and potato salads, and also as a finishing sauce for grilled meats, fish, and vegetables.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

May 20, 2020: Thai Vinaigrette

I recently used this recipe as a fish vinaigrette for a crispy Barramundi filet, but it surely can be used on a Thai flank steak salad or any other sweet and sour dish.

Thai Vinaigrette

Ingredients

¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 T white vinegar
2 T fresh lime juice
2 t sriracha chili sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T each, fresh cilantro and Thai basil, minced

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Store in glass container in refrigerator, up to one month.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

May 13, 2020: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and crispy, yet chewy. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is a keeper!

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Chef Steven Bright

Makes 3 dozen

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden brown 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

May 6, 2020: Pasta Salad

As the weather is sure to warm up – this cool pasta salad recipe is sure to please!

Tuscan Pasta Salad alla Margherita

Makes 12 portions

Boil 1# Cavatappi (or other ridged pasta) just a bit past al dente; drain-remove to large bowl; cool slightly, then add:
¾ c. Balsamic Vinegar
1 ½ T. Honey
Zest of 2 Lemons – Juice of 1 – Toss together and set aside.

For Pesto, in processor or blender add:
8 oz. Fresh Basil Leaves
½ c. Quality Parmesan Cheese
½ t. Kosher Salt
½ t. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
¼ c. Toasted Pine Nuts
1 clove Garlic
1 ½ c. EV Olive oil

Vegetable Mixture:
6 Scallions – cleaned well/sliced longwise then crosscut thin
½ c. Red Onion – Julienne
1 ½ c. (oil-packed) Sundried Tomatoes – Julienne
2 c. Artichoke Quarters

Assembly:
Combine pesto with pasta mixture and vegetable mixture, then adjust with additional balsamic, honey, and parmesan to balance flavors.

Note: Prepare one day before serving for best result.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

April 29, 2020: Smoked Wing Dings

Should you find yourself with some downtime, and want to work on your food-smoking skills, here’s a great starter recipe!

Smoked Wing Dings

Makes 2 dozen

1 dozen whole chicken wings (or 24 wing dings)
1 t Garlic – minced
4 Scallions – white parts now – *save green parts for garnish
Zest of 2 Lemons
1 t Smoked Paprika
1 t Chili Powder
1 T Black pepper
1.5 T Fish Sauce or 2 t Salt
3 t Soy Sauce
2 T Honey
2 t Sriracha Sauce
4 t Dijon

  • Place all* in a large Ziploc bag. Seal and massage until evenly coated. Let marinate for 2 hours.
  • Slow smoke at 200 degrees for 2 hours (or 165 internal temp) or smoke 1 hour and finish in 400-degree oven. Or, fully roast in 400-degree oven 40 minutes.
  • *Garnish with green scallions.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

April 22, 2020: Chef Steven’s 12 Essential Freezer/Pantry Items

  1. Salt (kosher; sea; iodized; or fermented salt sources, like soy or fish sauce)
  2. Honey [agave, beet, or molasses (for a diabetic diet) raw or white granulated]
  3. Flour (or gluten-free rice or chickpea flour)
  4. Yeast (or frozen bread dough)
  5. Vegetables (frozen or canned)
  6. Fruits and berries (dried, frozen, or canned)
  7. Beans and lentils (dried, canned, or frozen)
  8. Grains (barley, farro, quinoa, bulgar, wild rice) and rice (long-grain, like brown or white; short-grain, like arborio or sushi; scented, like jasmine or basmati)
  9. Meats, poultry, seafoods, or plant-based protein (fresh or canned)
  10. Vinegar (white; red; cider; rice; or long-aged, like balsamic)
  11. Oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, nut, coconut, butter, or ghee)
  12. Chicken or vegetable Stock

With these staples in your pantry/freezer, recipe possibilities are infinite!

Each item listed has a shelf life; please take notice of expiration dates and treat items accordingly by using in a recipe or re-packaging and freezing.

Should you have any questions, or need helpful tips, please feel free to contact Chef Steven via email at: sbright@shadysidepres.org

Be well – eat well!

Chef Steven M. Bright

Update from Back-to-Church Task Force

A Message from the Back-to-Church Task Force

Artwork: Detail of Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s “Digital Mosaic,” illustrated by Mark Bender. All rights reserved by Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Dear Shadyside Presbyterian Church Family:

As the Back-to-Church Task Force begins to make recommendations regarding the re-opening of the church building and offices, we wanted to share with you some considerations and factors that we are using to guide us as we make these challenging decisions. We have been prayerfully meeting on a weekly basis since the Session commissioned this task force on June 17.

Our first mission has been to focus on how to bring back those staff members who would like to work safely in the church for greater amounts of time. As such, we are developing guidelines for their return. Additionally, we have established a Pandemic Officer to help in coordinating these new protocols.

As we consider opening for worship, we have been holding fast to a few principles:

  • The pastors and the task force grieve the loss of our traditional worship and fellowship experience. Each of us feels the loss differently, but we know that the sense of our loss is palpable communally within the congregation, even at a physical distance.
  • The most vulnerable among us are our highest priority. In the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are the most vulnerable to infection and death from the virus. We would err on the side of caution in all our decision-making, especially in thinking of those for whom the risk is highest.
  • Our congregation is regional, and we must use regional data in determining when it is safe to move forward. We are reviewing data from Allegheny County and benchmarking multiple indicators that will help us to determine when the risk decreases, enabling us to gather together. Our goal is to identify a date to re-open for worship once the data indicates a decline in COVID-19 cases for at least two weeks.
  • When we return to our sanctuary, worship will not look like it did prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. We anticipate that there will be changes in seating, entering and exiting the building, how music and responsive readings are handled, and how Communion is or is not celebrated. In addition, there may be limits on the number of people who can attend in person. With this in mind, and understanding that some may not feel comfortable returning immediately when we are able to open our doors, services will be made available online for those who are unable to worship on-site.

We ask for your prayers and your patience as we continue to work through the many details of re-opening amidst the changing data, both locally and globally, in this pandemic. We also express our sincere appreciation to the staff who have come alongside us in this work.

Sincerely,

The Back-to-Church Task Force of the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church
Elder Donald P. Coffelt Jr.; Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles; Elder Brigetta P. Del Re; Elder Robert J. Ferguson; Elder Carla M. Gedman; Elder James M. Gockley; Elder Robert B. Luthultz, chair; Reverend Lynn M. Portz; and Elder J. Alexander Viehman

Coronavirus Precautions and Suggestions

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).

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices remain closed. The church staff members are working remotely from their homes. All services of worship, activities, and events will not meet in-person until further notice.

While we cannot be together on-site for any activities, we are glad to share with you worship videos which will be made available at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, 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, the sermon text, and the children’s bulletin in .pdf format.

The Shadyside Presbyterian Church online worship archive also contains audio recordings of worship from previous years, which we encourage you to explore. We hope these archived resources will enhance your personal devotional time as we face an extended period of physical separation from our community of faith.

We regret that we cannot gather in person for worship, but we hope you will gather with us in spirit.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we follow this challenging course of action, but one we know to be responsible and safer for our congregation and our community.

Update: Returning to Church

The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has formed a Back-to-Church 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 Dr. John Dalles and 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 begin to 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.

Selected Highlights from Previous COVID-19 Updates

Pastoral Letter

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.

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 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 Statement

Artwork: Detail of Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s “Digital Mosaic,” illustrated by Mark Bender. All rights reserved by Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Hope and Healing in the Love and Grace of Christ

The pastors of Shadyside Presbyterian Church are profoundly dismayed by the tragic murder of George Floyd. We stand with our Lord Jesus Christ and in unity with all who honor all persons and seek their well-being. We stand opposed to any form of hatred, prejudice, or racial injustice. We pray for the world, for our society, and for all who live in fear because of the cruelty of others. We pray that all will hear with compassion, and that our wounded nation might be changed in ways that are in accord with the love and grace to be found in Christ. Grant us healing. Grant us hope – in these days and in all our days.

Rev. Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor and Head of Staff

Rev. Lynn M. Portz
Associate Pastor for Parish Life

Rev. Todd E. Leach
Associate Pastor for Missions

Rev. Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith
Temporary Associate Pastor

Pastoral Letter

A COVID-19 Congregational Update

Artwork: Detail of Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s “Digital Mosaic,” illustrated by Mark Bender. All rights reserved by Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As our world and our nation have navigated the past three months, we, your pastors, have had unique opportunities to share and pray with you through days of uncertainty, fear, sadness, and frustration. We also have been privileged to rejoice with you in moments of unexpected joy and beauty, times when God’s presence was clearly evident. We are writing, first of all, to remind you that Shadyside Presbyterian Church is here to walk with you and with our community through all that has happened, and is yet to come. With you, we grieve what has been lost: the handshakes and hugs, the spontaneous conversations and meals shared, the celebrations and milestones that have been put on hold. We long for the days when we will be together again in person, sharing in worship, fellowship, education, and mission as we always have. Indeed, we treasure those times, as we know you do.

Balanced with that longing comes a strong desire to do all that is possible to honor each of you by maintaining your health and safety. We want you to know that your Session is reviewing government and medical guidelines, and prayerfully discerning what it might look like — and when — to begin gradually coming back into our building. Please be assured that this will be carefully and faithfully considered, and we will communicate with you as plans emerge.

In the meantime, please know that although our offices are currently not open to the public, the Church of Jesus Christ is never “closed.” Indeed, the church staff and we, your pastors, continue to work remotely, and to be available to you. We are here for you, if you want to talk or pray or simply connect to share what is going on in your life. You can reach any of us by emailing us or calling the church and leaving a message.

Our life together continues to be vibrant and connected. It is exciting to see the ways that God is at work, bringing people together in creative ways. Bible studies, adult Christian Education classes, prayer groups, grief support group, and virtual coffee fellowships are meeting throughout the week, and you are welcome to join any and all of these. Along with our ongoing Children’s Ministry on Sundays, a virtual Vacation Bible School will bring God’s love to our children in a new and interactive way. Our youth are connecting virtually as never before. We continue in conversation and support with our mission partners in our community and around the world. Our summer music mini-series will begin in an online format soon. More information about any of these can be found on our website: www.shadysidepres.org.

If you have not yet visited Facebook or YouTube on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. to worship with us, please be sure to do so. You will be joining with God’s people near and far to hear God’s Word, to pray together, and to sing praises to our Lord who reigns in highest heaven.

The details of our life together are still happening, as well. The financial office is able to receive your offerings, either by mail or online. Our annual congregational meeting will occur remotely on Sunday, June 14. (Details)

We, your pastors, dearly miss being with you all. We pray for you and for our church each day, looking forward to the time that we will see you again in person. But we know that this is God’s Church, and, even in these times, the Holy Spirit is breathing the wind of God’s grace and enthusiasm into God’s people, bringing new understandings of what it means to be the Body of Christ in this world. We are excited to see what God is doing in and with His Church, and to walk forward with you into God’s future.

To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.

Blessings and Peace,

Rev. Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor and Head of Staff
jdalles@shadysidepres.org

Rev. Lynn M. Portz
Associate Pastor for Parish Life
lportz@shadysidepres.org

Rev. Todd E. Leach
Associate Pastor for Missions
tleach@shadysidepres.org

Rev. Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith
Temporary Associate Pastor
ksmith@shadysidepres.org

New Hymn by Dr. Dalles Selected as Winner

“In Christ the Church Is Ever One” Chosen as Fiftieth Anniversary Hymn by Christian Associates

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesChristian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania has announced the winner in their search for a fiftieth anniversary hymn. We are delighted to share the news that the selected hymn, “In Christ the Church Is Ever One,” is one written by our very own Interim Senior Pastor, the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles.

Christian Associates is comprised of twenty-eight church bodies representing 2,000 local congregations in Southwest Pennsylvania, and began fifty years ago at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

The hymn selection committee judged about thirty entries from all over the United States, anonymously. The author’s identity was not disclosed to the committee until after the judging was completed.

The new hymn is scheduled to debut at the fiftieth anniversary celebration gala, which had to be postponed from its original May 2020 date. On a future date to be announced, the event will be held at – where else? – the church where it all began fifty years ago: Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Congratulations, Dr. Dalles!

About Dr. Dalles’s Hymnwriting

Dr. Dalles is the author of numerous hymn texts, including “Come, O Spirit” and “God, Bless Your Church with Strength,” which are included in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal. His commissioned hymns include those for Presbyterian Heritage Sunday; Augsburg, Goshen, Maryville, Tusculum, Wilson and Knox (Toronto) Colleges; American University; Pittsburgh and Lancaster Seminaries; Peachtree Presbyterian Church; and the Lutheran World Federation. His works are catalogued at Oberlin College Library and represented by GIA Publications, Oxford University Press, and others. A life-member of the Hymn Society, Dr. Dalles has published three collections of hymns: Swift Currents and Still Waters (2000), We Turn To God (2010), and God Is the Singer’s Friend (2013). His hymns have twice received first place in the highly-regarded Macalester Plymouth Annual Hymn Competition, in 2012 and in 2013.

Introducing New eGiving Options

Shadyside Presbyterian Church is pleased to introduce new eGiving options during this especially challenging time in order to encourage faithful stewardship among our community of faith.
Detail of Jesus Multiplies the Loaves and Fishes, art glass window in the north rear corner of the nave of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

We know many of you have been eager for the church to explore these alternative methods of giving, and we thank you for your patience as the church’s staff and leaders determined the solution that meets our needs and merits your trust and confidence.

The church is now able to offer the following eGiving options:

  • Through the church website
  • Via text message
  • With an app on your mobile device

Each of these options supports transactions with credit/debit cards, or with your bank account using your routing and account numbers. You can select to make a one-time gift, or you can establish parameters for a recurring gift. (Note: Those of you who have arranged previously for fund transfers from your financial institutions may wish to consider setting up recurring contributions through one of these new alternatives instead.)

Before completing your gift, you will have the option to increase the total amount of your gift in order to help offset the processing fees the church incurs on each transaction. The suggested amount is calculated based on a percentage of your gift; the percentage varies depending upon the payment method you have selected.

During the introductory phase of this initiative, we will provide a limited number of funds to which you may direct your gift. Presently, you will find in the drop-down menu only two choices: one for general gifts (“Pledges”), and one for the COVID-19 Relief Fund. In the future, the Finance Office will identify other funds to be made available for contributions. The giving form includes a memo line, which you may complete if needed.

To learn more about which eGiving option is best for you, simply click here.

Thank you for faithfully supporting the mission and ministry of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

To Get Started

Visit the home page of the church website and click the orange “Ways to Give” button in the upper right corner; or, if you are browsing the site on your mobile device, use the menu button in the upper right corner to find the orange “Ways to Give” button. Click the blue “Give Now” button to begin making a new gift online, or follow the instructions for the mobile giving options.

Names to Know

Our secure giving platform is called Abundant. Payments are processed by our merchant partner, Vanco. As a certified Level 1 Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant service provider, Vanco follows the PCI Data Security Standard, a mandated set of security requirements for protecting cardholder data. Trusted by more than 22,000 faith-based organizations, Vanco safeguards your privacy by adhering to the most stringent and comprehensive security guidelines.

 

Photograph: Detail of “Jesus Multiplies the Loaves and Fishes,” art glass window in the north rear corner of the nave of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Len Levasseur.

An Invitation to Online Communion

Special Invitation: Communion on Maundy Thursday

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 Rebecca D. Reeder.Maundy Thursday (from mandatum, Latin for “mandate” or “commandment”) proclaims Jesus’ new commandment to love one another as He has loved us. It celebrates Christ’s example of humble service and self-offering, represented by the washing of feet and the sharing of Communion. We remember that on the night before He was handed over to death, Jesus gathered to share the Passover meal with His disciples. In so doing, Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic), and, according to the Book of Order, it is the responsibility of the Session to authorize the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has so authorized the online celebration of the Sacrament on April 9, 2020 – Maundy Thursday. 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

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 on Thursday evening, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online here) 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 on Maundy Thursday evening, 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. This set has been used regularly as we have celebrated 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 Rebecca D. Reeder.

Local Mission Partner Updates

Rev. Todd E. Leach
Rev. Todd E. Leach
Needs and Responses to COVID-19

Dear members and friends of Shadyside Presbyterian Church,

We have been in communication with our local partners regarding need and response 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. Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) will respond to financial needs as our budget allows, but below are ways you may be able to pray more specifically.

Grace & Peace,
Rev. Todd E. Leach, Associate Pastor for Missions

East End Cooperative Ministry

“Thank you for your prayers. We appreciate you thinking of us during this difficult time for all of us. Non-perishable food donations and monetary donations are always needed and welcome. We are seeing an increase in need for our pantry service due to clear shelves in the stores, and those who are experiencing poverty cannot go to the store and stock up. In addition, we feel as people are either out of work, or had reduction in their work hours, we also will see increased need for some time to come. I think we will get through this together, but it is not going to be easy for many.”

Foundation of Hope

“Currently, our biggest needs are prayer, donations, and financial support. The jail is still in need of paperback books and the Aftercare office can use toiletries and gift cards to Giant Eagle, etc. We expect the needs of our Aftercare offices to grow this year due to this crisis, and we may have to cancel our fundraiser, so the support of individuals and organizations during this time is crucial.”

Garfield Community Farm

“We’re currently experiencing weekly losses from our restaurant sales, and significant loss in the month of July from cancelled Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS) Summer Youth Institute (SYI) summer programming. But, we’re really excited to be able to donate food, starting this week, to families in Garfield who have been hit the hardest. Donations are our priority now, we’ll find ways to cover the finances as the year progresses.”

Hosanna House

“Your timing is perfect and quite overwhelming that you guys are thinking and reaching out. You are the first! Because of the extended length of time with our children off, we need to address that immediately regarding what tools and resources children and parents need for another few weeks. As of today [March 23], we are still open for essential services: health; dental; and women, infants, and children.”

Off the Floor Pittsburgh

“We initially thought we would close for about two weeks, but it is clear that will be much longer. After conferring with our board chair, Wes [Rohrer], over the weekend, it is expected at minimum we will not be able to return during April. So far, referrals have dropped off as partner agencies are also closed, and donors understand the limitations and they have backed off, as well.

“At this point, the best thing you can do is pray for us that we can survive this crisis and quickly return to a greater level of service. Pray for the wisdom to discern how we best make a comeback and that we can find the right people to be a part of our team moving forward.”

Open Hand Ministries

SPC has been in communication with Open Hand Ministries (OHM). OHM is concerned for its Circles teams, who are unable to gather during this time. They are attempting to forecast how their budget will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food security is a concern, and donations through their website can help to provide food for their clients.

Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER)

“Thanks so much for reaching out. I can’t tell you how much it means to know you and Shadyside Presbyterian Church members are keeping us in your prayers. We need them. The whole world needs them. I’m going to share your message for two reasons – one, we’ll talk and see if there’s anything we can think of that you might be able to help with. I will let you know. The second and most important reason I want to share it with all the staff is because I know it will mean so much to them. In times like this, hope and inspiration come in many forms, and I’m so grateful you and your congregation are offering to be that hope and inspiration for POWER and all of those we serve.

“Thank you too for recognizing that connection and relationships are key to recovery. Some believe that substance use problems are a symptom of isolation and disconnection. We’re being as creative as we can in trying to stay in touch with those who need us most.”

The Neighborhood Academy

“Today [March 23], we began our distance learning plan with our students. We also dropped off thirty-one meals to our students. We anticipate that number growing as the students and families speak with each other, and we are certainly happy to provide our families with the meals that they need during this difficult time.”