An Invitation to Online Communion

Special Invitation: The Lord’s Supper on All Saints’ Sunday

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.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.” As we remember our unity with all Christians of every time and place, it is a most fitting occasion to observe the Sacrament of Communion.

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 November 1, 2020 – All Saints’ Sunday. 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 Sunday morning, 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 on World Communion Sunday, 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.

By God’s Side: October 21, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

October 21, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesMy kids will tell you that I have been taking a particular kind of photograph, one year to the next, of the two of them.

The first one happened when they were about five and six years old. We were at the beach, and I had my camera at the ready. We were taking a sunset stroll. The light was just right. The kids were standing side-by-side, looking at the ocean. I was a few feet from the back of them. That is when inspiration struck.

I asked them to hold each other’s hands. So picture, if you can, two cute kids, looking straight out on the ocean, while they were holding hands. Great picture! Snap, snap, snap, went my camera. Then, I said, “Okay, try this: look at each other.” Well, they got the giggles, of course, looking at each other, standing there holding each other’s hands. I snapped my camera a few more times. The pictures were not bad.

Then the best moment of all came. I said, “While you’re standing there, keep turning your heads, until you’re looking at me. And keep smiling.” Today, if you come to my office, you will see that picture, because it is a classic. There are the waves. There are Anne and John, in shades of light blue, so it looks like it was all planned, even though it was all happenstance. They are smiling back at me.

Each year after that, I tried to take an updated version of that photo. Many years, I did. Some years it did not happen. But I remember saying to them, “When you are fifty, and forty-eight and one-half, whether I’m around or not, I hope that you manage to get to the beach and take a picture just like this.”

It speaks volumes about love and family and togetherness and joy and support. I think, in many ways, it is a picture of how we relate to one another in the church. We find ourselves in a setting unlike any other, one that we can savor and enjoy. That savoring and enjoying is always best when we do it together in Christian love.

Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
~ John Fawcett

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

By God’s Side: October 14, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

October 14, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
(Psalm 119:105)

Years ago, my great aunt mailed me the family Bible. All the way from San Jose, California, to Pennsylvania, it came. I was excited because I felt certain that when I opened the front cover, I would find the records of births and deaths and marriages of the family going back longer than I had any record. So I opened that big old Bible carefully. Guess what? Not one inscription was to be found, except the notation that it was a gift from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother on the occasion of their first wedding anniversary, in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania.

For years, that big Bible stayed with me – because it was a treasure. It was not the Bible from which I read, so it ended up carefully stored in a box, unseen. It moved with me from Lancaster to South Bend, and from South Bend to Pittsburgh – still in the box.

Fast forward to when we were unpacking our house after we moved from Pittsburgh to Florida. In one big box, as it was opened, there was the big old family Bible. Judy was seeing it for the first time. She said, “Oh, this is really beautiful; we should have it out somewhere. How about on the desk in the living room?” I thought, “What a great idea!” So we put it in the middle of the desk, and then, because it was going to be displayed open rather than closed, I opened it. And, of course, what did I open it to, but the very middle, at Psalm 23.

Right in the middle of the Bible were twenty or thirty clippings from newspapers or bulletins from churches – all of which had something to do with our family history.

That experience is a great reminder to me that you never know what is in your Bible until you open it and pay close attention. Sometimes we will find what we expect to find there: comfort, strength, guidance, support, information. And sometimes we discover things about ourselves we did not even know were there. It is God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

By God’s Side: October 7, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

October 7, 2020

If you but trust in God to guide you
And place your confidence in Him,
You’ll find Him always there beside you
To give you hope and strength within;
For those who trust God’s changeless love
Build on the rock that will not move.
~ Georg Neumark

It was a cold, blustery day in northern Indiana. I was driving from South Bend to LaPorte, in order to attend a subcommittee meeting of a Presbytery committee. Presbytery gets a bad rap sometimes; you mention Presbytery and people roll their eyes, because they think that it is going to be a lot of stuffy minutiae. It can be. But sometimes, even in the most unexpected places, something different happens.

This particular committee was in charge of all of the worship services at the Presbytery meetings. I had not been in South Bend at my first church for long, when, out of the blue, Carol McDonald called from the Presbytery office, and invited me to serve on this subcommittee. And I said yes. While serving on it, I found that I enjoyed the people and the process of planning worship – because the goal was to design worship that was meaningful but not trendy, that pastors and elders could adapt for use in their own churches.

At this particular meeting we were planning a worship service having to do with Pentecost. And one of the members of the subcommittee looked at me and said, “John, there are no good hymns for Pentecost. You like to work with words. Why don’t you write one?” And kind of like the bumblebee that didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to fly, I said, “Sure, I’ll do that.”

Now, I did not know when I got up that morning and got dressed and got behind the wheel and drove the 45 minutes over to LaPorte, that it was going to be a life-changing moment. It never once occurred to me before to write a hymn text. But I enjoyed doing it. And when it was sung, Presbytery people seemed to appreciate it. And when the editorial committee was planning the blue hymn book that we have in our pews, they seemed like it, too. It ended up in there. Wonder of wonders. And down through the years ever since, I have been writing hymn texts when people request, for special events at their church, or to address particular concerns before the church.

God puts us in the place we need to be in order to grow. That is just one example of many that I could cite. I am grateful that God does that. I know that you are, too. Don’t be surprised if you set out to do something fairly ordinary today, and then it ends up being a life-changer. In Christ may it be so.

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

By God’s Side: September 30, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

September 30, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesI was walking around the church one morning not that long ago, just enjoying being back at the church building, rather than working remotely. I was taking in the sights and sounds. There were workmen in front of the building, from the landscaping company that is redoing the landscaping as you enter the Sanctuary. They were hard at work, with power saws, shovels, and clippers.

I went around the corner and came down the circular drive toward the doors to the Parish Hall. And as I passed by there, I looked down and saw twenty-eight acorns, which is no surprise considering the huge oak tree that sits there. I believe it is at least as old as the church building, probably older. This is the time of the year when acorns fall. Acorns were scattered here and there and everywhere, in random patterns. But the acorns on the front step of the church – those twenty-eight acorns – were not in a random pattern.

Someone had gathered them, and then arranged them in such a way that together they formed a heart, which immediately brought me a sense of surprise and joy.

I do not know who did it. I probably will never know. I assume it was a young child, but it could have been done by anyone whose outlook on life has not grown old. I took a photo so I would have it, because I assumed, before long, neighborhood squirrels might come along and scatter the acorns again. I wanted them to be remembered as a sign of love.

It is possible for us to look at ourselves like those acorns. We are beautifully made in and of ourselves, by God the Creator. And then, to think of the fellowship that we have in the church, like that heart shape, made of many different people, joined together by the grace of God. Isn’t it great that the body of Christ can convey the love and compassion of Jesus our Lord?

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

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).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices are open to members and visitors on a limited basis by appointment only. Large gatherings, including Sunday services of worship, 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.

COVID-19 Task Force

The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has 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 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.

Update on September 28, 2020:

Following the return of the church staff to the office on September 14, the building is now available to members and visitors on a limited basis by appointment only. The church also plans to open for in-person pastoral gatherings, including weddings, funerals, and memorial services. Attendance at these events will be constrained by the current county restrictions. All other activities, including Sunday services of worship, will not yet meet on site. Earlier this month, the Session approved the COVID-19 Task Force’s proposed plan for the phased re-opening of the church. A congregational letter from the Session has been mailed to members, and the adopted policy and protocols have been published on the church website.

Update on September 13, 2020:

The Shadyside Presbyterian Church COVID-19 Task Force wants to share that our plan is for the church staff to return to the offices beginning Monday, September 14. While the task force is not yet ready to welcome visitors into the building, you will be able to reach the church office more readily by phone. We are excited about this development, yet we remain attuned to the statistics surrounding COVID-19 and continue to move forward with flexibility and caution.

The COVID-19 Task Force asks for your prayers and your patience as its members prayerfully consider best practices for the health and safety of our congregation. You are welcome to contact any member of the task force through the church office.

Selected Highlights from Previous COVID-19 Updates

Congregational Letters

  • 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).

Congregational Letter

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

An Update from Session

Dear members of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC):

As our pastors shared recently, we are very grateful to all of you for your faith, patience, and fortitude. COVID-19 is challenging us, but this is not the first time Christ’s Church has been challenged. The Church has been forced home before, and we are certain to rise.

As much as we know that everyone misses seeing one another in person, we are not there yet. But, we have a plan, and we are excited to share parts of that plan with you now.

On September 14, the church building was re-opened to our pastors and staff, and, as of September 28, is available by appointment to members and visitors, on a limited basis. We emphasize the importance of appointments, because visitors will be required to comply with our in-person guidelines, which you may read on the church website: www.shadysidepres.org/covid-19.

Also as of September 28, the church plans to permit in-person pastoral gatherings, including weddings, funerals, and memorial services, to occur on the premises. Attendance at these events will be constrained by the current Allegheny County restrictions (limiting indoor gatherings to a maximum of twenty-five people as of September 24), but we know how important these events are in the life of our church family. Please understand these plans could change as the County and Commonwealth guidelines change.

Finally, the Session has approved a plan that returns in-person worship to our sanctuary. To be clear, we never stopped worshipping. This is a plan to bring us back together physically — an important and very emotional step forward. We will begin in-person worship within a few weeks after Allegheny County increases the permitted indoor gathering limit to 100 people or more.

The SPC COVID-19 Task Force includes the Reverend Dr. John Dalles; the Reverend Lynn Portz; Trustee Alex Dick; and Elders Don Coffelt, Brigetta Del Re, Rob Ferguson, Carla Gedman, Jim Gockley, Bob Luthultz, and Alex Viehman. The entire church staff has contributed tremendously to the effective work of the task force; their insights, energies, and dedication are deeply appreciated. Together, they and the task force are working hard and carefully to bring us together safely and soon.

With grace and peace,

Elder Timothy E. Nye
Clerk of Session

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

An Invitation to Online Communion

Special Invitation: The Lord’s Supper on World Communion Sunday

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.Observed on the first Sunday in October, World Communion Sunday celebrates our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world, transcending boundaries of denomination, geography, and language. Learn more about the history of World Communion Sunday, which was originated in Shadyside Presbyterian Church by Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr in 1933.

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 October 4, 2020 – World Communion Sunday. 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 Sunday morning, 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 on World Communion Sunday, 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.

By God’s Side: September 23, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

September 23, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles“Jesus said to them, ‘Come away with Me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.’ “ (Matthew 6:31)

Not long ago I had the opportunity of bringing our dog, Bendix, along with me to the office. I do not do it very often, although I thoroughly enjoy having him with me. I am not sure if he finds it terribly exciting to sit in my office while I do my work, although he loves seeing the other church staff members and making the rounds to where they are working.

On this particular day, I had a number of things that I needed to do, but I did not have any meetings scheduled, which meant that I could work at my own pace.

I soon discovered that I was not working at my pace, but rather, I was working at Bendix’s pace. He seemed eager to have me close. So rather than being behind my desk, I was seated on the sofa. And rather than having a computer screen in front of me, I worked using my smart phone – something that I had become accustomed to doing during our COVID-19 precautions and restrictions, because it allowed me to work in a variety of locations around the house. There is something about being in a different place, even in the same space, that is refreshing. It gives you a new slant on things. Maybe you do things a slightly different way than you might have, if you were in the same old spot – even if it is not very far away. I certainly felt that the day was one in which I was able to get a lot done, and be creative, even though I had to stop and go for several walks in the course of the day because Bendix wanted it that way.

But mostly, Bendix wanted me to stay close, which, for me, was a joy, not a burden, and brought a sense of calm even in the midst of focused work. Give it a try. Sometimes shifting your chair, moving a few feet away from where you have been, allowing yourself to accomplish things in a slightly different way, will benefit you, and will benefit others.

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

By God’s Side: September 16, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

September 16, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles“Are you strangers?”

We had just finished a picnic dinner in the park and were on our way back to our car. As we walked along, we passed one of those large playground equipment castles. There was one little boy having a great time playing on it. His father was sitting nearby on a bench watching him. As we walked by, he said, “Hi,” and so did we.

And then he asked, “Are you strangers?”

He was obviously processing something that his parents had taught him. He was putting it to use, correctly. From the bench, his dad smiled. And we smiled. Then, Judy responded, “Yes, you’re right. I guess we are. But we don’t have to be.” At which, the little boy smiled and went back to his playing.

That is a model for all who follow Jesus Christ. One of the real joys that comes to us nearly each day is this opportunity to go from being strangers to not having to be.

Take a moment today to think about the people that you consider your very best friends. Think about how you met them. Think about that God-given transition from being strangers to being friends. You deeply cherish that friendship.

There is probably an opportunity to befriend someone new, an opportunity that is waiting for you. Someone that God is bringing into your life. Right now. The joyful truth of the Christian life is that we are no longer strangers. May God help you live into this truth today.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”  (Ephesians 2:19)

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

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

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

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes 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.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.