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).With reports about the spread of the coronavirus (or COVID-19), we want you to know your health and well-being is of utmost concern.

We are doing all we can to stay current with public health guidelines, to follow best practices for hygiene, and to exercise an abundance of caution in responding to this situation.

Update: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices remain closed. 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 a video which will be made available at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 29, 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.

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.

The following information was shared previously on March 25, 2020:

Update: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices remain closed. All services of worship, activities, and events will not meet in-person until further notice.

Lenten Vespers: While we cannot be together on-site for any activities, the pastors and church leaders are working diligently to bring you worship resources online. We are glad to share with you a video of the Lenten vespers homily which will be made available at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 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.

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.

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.

The following information was shared previously on March 22, 2020:

Update: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices are closed. 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, the pastors and church leaders have worked diligently to bring you worship resources online for Sunday, March 22. We are glad to share with you a video which will be made available at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, 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 or the worship archive to access the bulletin and the sermon text in .pdf format.

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.

The following information was shared previously on March 20, 2020:

On Friday, March 20, 2020, Shadyside Presbyterian Church published an edition of its e-newsletter, The Mini-Mouse. Click here to read this issue.

The following information was shared previously on March 18, 2020:

Update: All activities at Shadyside Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, March 18, including Lenten vespers, have been cancelled.

Following the announcement of a local state of emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has concluded that we should not conduct our Lenten vespers service on Wednesday, March 18. Out of concern for the health of our ministers, musicians, and other essential worship personnel, we unfortunately cannot offer the live audio webcast this week, either. All other on-site activities – including the Connections Dinner originally scheduled to occur before Lenten vespers – also have been cancelled for March 18.

We regret that we cannot gather in person for worship, but we hope you will gather with us in spirit. The bulletin for Lenten vespers is available to access here.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we determine together the most responsible course of action for our congregation and our community.

The following information was shared previously on March 14, 2020:

Update: All activities at Shadyside Presbyterian Church on Sunday, March 15, including the service of worship, have been cancelled.

Following the announcement of a local state of emergency to begin Monday, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has concluded that we should not conduct our service of worship on Sunday, March 15. Out of concern for the health of our ministers, musicians, and other essential worship personnel, we unfortunately cannot offer the live audio webcast this week, either. All other activities – including Christian Education classes, the pie fellowship event, and the Music in a Great Space concert – also have been cancelled for March 15.

We regret that we cannot gather in person this Sunday, but we hope you will gather with us in spirit. The bulletin for the service of worship is available here, and the text of the sermon is available to read here.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we determine together the most responsible course of action for our congregation and our community.

Read the full statement about the cancellation of worship here.

The following information was shared previously on March 12, 2020:

  • Worshipers are always encouraged to participate, or not, according to their comfort level.
  • If you wish, instead of shaking hands or embracing, consider a verbal greeting, a nod, or a smile.
  • At Vespers Communion, the ministers use hand purifier just beforehand. If you prefer to receive a blessing rather than partake of the elements, simply cross your arms over your chest.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water, for at least 20 seconds (about as long as it takes to sing one verse of “Happy Birthday to You”). The friction is as important as the soap and water, in preventing the spread of germs. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and warm water are not available.
  • To avoid placing yourself or others at greater risk, reduce unnecessary touching of your face (especially your eyes, nose, and mouth), and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Please, stay home when you are sick.
  • Remember when you are not able to be present in worship on Sunday mornings, you can worship with the church via the live worship webcast at 11:00 a.m.
  • If you stay home from worship or other events due to illness, please find ways to be in touch through social media, emails, and phone calls.

We are constantly monitoring reports with regard to the coronavirus, and will update the information on this page as deemed appropriate. Please also remember to check the church website calendar to see if an event you had anticipated attending has been cancelled, postponed, or re-scheduled. We will make every effort to update the calendar as conditions change.

Additional Resources:

 

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).

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.”

Staying Emotionally Healthy During COVID-19

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

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).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.

Pay Attention to Your Body and Your Emotions

It’s natural to experience stress and anxiety in the face of a threat we cannot control. Because every person reacts differently, notice what your body and emotions are telling you:

  • Listen to your emotions, noticing any anxiety, sadness, anger, or detachment;
  • Listen to your body, noticing any change in appetite, new aches and pains, or feeling particularly hot or cool; and,
  • When you notice troubling symptoms, pause to care for your body and mind. If you become unable to manage or function well, seek the assistance of a professional.

Embrace Best Health Practices

Though there’s much about the COVID-19 outbreak over which you have no control, you can choose to embrace the kinds of practices that will keep you and your loved ones safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Access Reliable Resources

You can choose how you will receive and consume information about the outbreak. If you rely on panicked phone calls from your anxious loved ones, you’re likely to suffer more than if you choose to rely on credible sources. Two reliable sources for health news include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. Also, if you become consumed by breaking news about the spread of COVID-19, you also can choose to step away from media reports for a time.

Share Reliable Information

Another way to care for yourself is to care for others by sharing the best information you’ve discovered. When you find a reputable resource that’s particularly helpful, share it with a loved one. When you learn about practices that keep people safe, let a relative who is vulnerable to illness know. In a culture where people are feeling anxious, you can be a gift to others.

Practice Self-Care

In the midst of a stressful season or situation, many self-care practices are the same ones that prove helpful in everyday living:

  • Maintain your normal routines.
  • Connect with family and friends.
  • Eat well.
  • Stay active.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Do enjoyable activities.
  • Employ coping skills that nurture your spirit, like mindfulness exercises or prayer.

Support Each Other

We aren’t created to go through extreme stress alone, so this is also a time as part of God’s family to care for each other. Here are two questions to keep asking yourself:

  • What opportunities do I have to help others?
  • What is overwhelming right now that I should ask someone for help with?

While it feels like there is a lot we can’t control amidst concerns over COVID-19, every one of us can make choices to stay emotionally healthy.

Source: Wheaton College

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).

Organ Repair and Refurbishment

The Reuter Organ in the Chancel of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. (Photograph taken by Len Levasseur.)
The Reuter Organ in the Chancel of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. (Photograph taken by Len Levasseur.)
In 2020, the Music Ministry of Shadyside Presbyterian Church will begin an important multi-year project that affects the worship life of us all: the repair and refurbishment of our two organs in the sanctuary.

Our chancel organ was installed in 1994 to the specifications of Dr. John Walker, our Minister of Music and Organist at the time. It is a splendid instrument which has served us well this quarter of a century. But other than routine tuning, and the occasional small repair, the organ has been at work on our behalf all this time without what now has become a great need for repairs and refurbishment.

The gallery instrument was installed in 1973 in memory of Dr. Howard Scharfe. It, too, is in need of refurbishing, cleaning, and re-voicing. The pipes of this instrument are crucial in supporting congregational singing in the back half of the sanctuary and gallery. A more detailed document outlining the condition of the organs is available through the church office upon request. In addition, Mark Anderson would be more than happy to speak to you to answer further questions.

At the December 2019 meeting of the Session, our ruling elders approved moving forward in this effort, as well as reaching out to the congregation to invite one and all to share in it.

The work is being undertaken by Charles Kegg Organbuilders, a highly respected firm, in which we have utmost confidence. The work will be accomplished in phases, in order that we will have at least one of the organs working at all times. We will address the chancel organ first, beginning after Easter and continuing throughout the summer and early fall, during which time we will worship utilizing the gallery organ and grand piano in the chancel.

The combined power and beauty of our chancel and gallery organs is like another member of the congregation who raises our spirits, supports our corporate singing, lifts our minds and hearts, and inspires our lives. With their rich resources, our organs help illuminate sacred mysteries, reveal divine grace, and stir our deepest emotions. The unleashing of the full spectrum of an organ’s power can move us to tears, console our grief, and enhance our joy. It has been said that no other form of music acts so powerfully as an instrument of both meditation and celebration, as we listen, and as we sing together.

We know that our congregation and our community have been blessed by these magnificent instruments in many of these ways, and we invite you to share in their preservation for the future. If you are interested in sharing a gift that will help underwrite this project, we would be most grateful! We hope you shall.

Please direct any financial gifts to the church finance office, earmarking your check “Organ Fund,” as this special donation is separate from the annual budget of the church. Designated cards with instructions and envelopes are located in the Narthex and Sharp Atrium for your convenience.

We thank you for prayerfully considering your support of this worthy endeavor.

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

Mark A. Anderson
Director of Music Ministry

In Memoriam: The Reverend Dr. Beverly W. James

October 25, 1950 – January 23, 2020

Please remember in prayer the family and friends of the Reverend Dr. Beverly Wallis James, who passed from this life into the Church Triumphant on Thursday, January 23, 2020. A longtime friend of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC), Dr. James was a wise and compassionate pastor who will be deeply missed.

The Reverend Dr. Beverly W. James served as Associate Minister to the Pittsburgh Presbytery, where she worked with more than sixty congregations in the East and South Branches of Pittsburgh Presbytery, including ours. A Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church for thirty-nine years, Beverly began her service as a Volunteer in Mission in Thailand teaching English as a second language five years before she entered the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS).

Beverly’s longstanding connections with SPC were established during her seminary studies, when she interned among us. For nearly four years, she worked with the Reverend Dr. Robert Cleveland Holland and the Reverend Dr. George H. McConnel (affectionately known as “Sandy”) at SPC, where she carried out a particularly effective ministry with senior high youth. Beverly also spent one summer as the Chaplain at the Presbyterian House of the Chautauqua Institution under Shadyside’s sponsorship.

Dr. James fondly recalled preaching at SPC on the morning of Sunday, May 31, 1981 – the same day on which she was ordained in an afternoon service held at Dormont Presbyterian Church. She returned to SPC’s pulpit to proclaim God’s Word to our congregation many times in later years.

Throughout her ministry, Dr. James served many churches as interim pastor and demonstrated a strong commitment to assisting churches and pastors in times of transition. Indeed, she walked alongside SPC during several leadership transitions. In addition, she taught as adjunct faculty at PTS, the University of Pittsburgh, and La Roche College.

Beverly earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts of Divinity from PTS, a Master of Arts in English from Carnegie Mellon University, and an A.B. in English from Brown University.

Her family will welcome friends on Sunday, January 26, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Schellhaas Funeral Home, Inc. (West View) 388 Center Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15229. A service of witness to the resurrection will be held on Monday, January 27, at 2:00 p.m. at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 799 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228. (Those attending the service are asked to gather at the church.)

Please join us in giving thanks to God for Beverly’s life of faith, which she lived in dedicated service to Christ. An obituary is available online; you may read it by following this link.

In Memoriam: The Reverend John D. Dennis

September 18, 1937 – September 4, 2019

Please remember in prayer the family and friends of the Reverend John Davison Dennis, who passed from this life into the Church Triumphant on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at the age of 81 years old. A ministerial son of our church family, Rev. Dennis was nurtured in his faith at Shadyside Presbyterian Church during the early years of his life, from his baptism in 1938 until his ordination in 1962, both of which occurred in our Sanctuary.

John was born September 18, 1937, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was baptized in Shadyside Presbyterian Church on May 1, 1938, and later joined the church as a member on March 26, 1950. In 1959, he graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, with a degree in economics. When a college professor encouraged him to devote his life to a pursuit other than making money, John applied to, and was accepted at, Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree (1962) and his Master of Theology degree in counseling (1965).

On June 18, 1962, John was ordained by the Presbytery of Pittsburgh in order to serve as Assistant Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Germantown, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Dr. James T. Orr, Moderator of the Presbytery of Pittsburgh at the time, presided over the service, with participation from the Reverend Dr. James H. Blackwood, Associate Pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church; the Reverend Dr. Howard C. Scharfe, Pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church; and the Reverend Dr. Harold E. Scott, Associate Professor of Homiletics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The music for the service was under the direction of Russell G. Wichmann, Shadyside’s organist and choirmaster.

In 1969, Rev. Dennis was called to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Corvallis, Oregon, in the Presbytery of Willamette, which later became part of the Presbytery of the Cascades. He served as pastor of the church for thirty-seven years, retiring in 2006 as Pastor Emeritus.

John’s service to the church and the world went beyond his work as a pastor. He served terms on many presbytery committees and also served as commissioner to the General Assembly in 1984. In 1978, he was chosen to represent the denomination in the struggle against apartheid and spent four months working at St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. His recommendation that U.S. banks apply tougher rules to loaning money in South Africa based on fair employment practices was adopted by the United Stated and played a part in the fall of apartheid. He served as West Coast Dean for the denomination’s Young Pastor Seminars in the 1980s. From 1995 to 1997, he served two terms as chair of the Board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. He also organized an effort to provide over 2,000 prosthetic arms and legs to landmine victims in Cambodia.

Rev. Dennis is predeceased by his wife of fifty-two years, Nancy, and survived by sons Michael (wife Allison) and Andrew (wife Rebecca) and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will occur at the First Presbyterian Church, 114 S.W. 8th Street, Corvallis, Oregon, on Saturday, October 12, at 1:00 p.m.

An obituary has been published online; you may read it by following this link.

As we mourn our loss and give thanks to God for a life lived in faithful service, we consider again John’s favorite benediction, words from a poem by Swiss philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel: “Life is short and we have not too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. Be swift to love. Make haste to be kind.”

Editor’s Note: Shadyside Presbyterian Church gratefully acknowledges the contributions of G. Dixon Shrum Jr., member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, and Paul Belz-Templeman, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Cascades, to this writing.

Remembering Loved Ones: All Saints’ Sunday

All Saints’ Sunday: November 3

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 Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. 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 Kaysie Strickland in the church office before Friday, October 25.

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 21, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.  (Details)
    -Monday, November 18, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.  (Details)
  • 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

Celebrating Rebecca Reeder’s Ordination

The Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) invites you to celebrate the ordination and installation of Rebecca D. Reeder as Associate Pastor of Sewickley Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 6, at 5:00 p.m. in the Sewickley Presbyterian Church sanctuary, with a dinner reception in the dining hall immediately following.

Above: Rebecca Reeder, with her husband Zachary, celebrates her commencement from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Rebecca Reeder, with her husband Zachary, celebrates her commencement from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in May 2019.

Since 2011, Rebecca has been a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC), and, earlier this year, she successfully completed the denomination’s candidacy process, which she entered under the care of the Session of SPC. In May 2019, she received her Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, along with several awards recognizing her achievements, including:

  • The William B. Watson Prize in Hebrew, awarded to that member of the senior class who, having elected Hebrew Exegesis, submitted the best grammatical and exegetical treatment of a portion of the Hebrew Old Testament;
  • The Paul T. Gerrard Prize in Homiletics and Pastoral Care, awarded to the graduating senior Master of Divinity student judged best by the faculty in homiletics and pastoral care and who shows promise for a future in pastoral ministry; and
  • The Thomas Jamison Scholarship, given every year to the member of the senior class who has the highest average at the beginning of his or her final term of study.

On June 30, 2019, the congregation of Sewickley Presbyterian Church voted to extend a call to Rebecca, and she began serving as Associate Pastor Elect on July 1. As the final step in her ordination process, Rebecca presented her statement of faith to the Pittsburgh Presbytery on September 19, and the way is now clear for her ordination and installation.

As a previous member of our church family and our church staff, Rebecca is a ministerial daughter of SPC, and we rejoice with her as she celebrates the beginning of her ministry as Minister of Word and Sacrament. We thank God for the blessing Rebecca has been to our congregation and for calling her into ministry. Please support her through your prayers and your presence at the service.

Dr. Tucker Ferda to Speak Sept. 18

Dr. Tucker S. Ferda
Dr. Tucker S. Ferda
Welcoming Dr. Tucker S. Ferda

On Wednesday, September 18, Dr. Tucker S. Ferda will speak during the Connections Dinner in the Parish Hall at 6:00 p.m. and will preach during the vespers service in the Chapel at 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Tucker S. Ferda began his position as visiting assistant professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS) in 2017 after serving as a lecturer since 2013. He earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also served as teaching fellow. In 2015, he was named one of only three Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholars, an award which “recognizes and promotes outstanding entry-level scholars.” Dr. Ferda has expertise in a wide range of areas in biblical studies, including the Gospels, the life of Jesus, the Old Testament in the New, the history of biblical interpretation, Hellenistic Jewish literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and biblical theology.

Explaining why Dr. Ferda is so appreciated as a professor, one of his recent students shared, “His profound knowledge of the subject matter makes his classes always informative, but, even more importantly, his deep faith and humility connect the subjects to our lives today in a powerful way.” His pupil continued, “Students often say that Tucker is one of the most pastoral people on campus, despite the fact he isn’t an ordained minister. His love and care for the students and seminary community is always deeply apparent.”

A member and deacon at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Tucker frequently leads studies and preaches at churches in the Pittsburgh area.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ferda to Shadyside, and read more about Dr. Ferda on the PTS website. Also, consider joining us for a weekend of spiritual growth and fellowship during a fall retreat led by Dr. Ferda from October 25 through 26, 2019, at Crestfield Camp and Conference Center. Learn more about the retreat.

Introducing New Children’s Choir Program

The Choir School at Shadyside Presbyterian Church

“Psallam Spiritu et Mente” • “I Will Sing with the Spirit and with the Understanding Also”

The Shadyside Presbyterian Church children’s choir program has a new name and some exciting additions and changes. Beginning this fall, the Shadyside Presbyterian Choir School welcomes choristers as young as kindergarten age with a new curriculum, including in-depth music learning and Christian understanding.

Children begin in the training choir and progress through the Voice for Life program from the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). Within this program, choristers are able to gain different colored ribbons and medals by working toward various assessed levels of music theory, vocal technique, and Christian understanding. You may notice choristers wearing these medals during worship. Please help us congratulate them for their accomplishments when you see them!

Shadysiders attend the Royal School of Church Music summer training course at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral and King’s College of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Shadysiders attend the Royal School of Church Music summer training course at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral and King’s College of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Once children enter third grade and have completed their initial training choir program, they can become an official “chorister” and participate fully in our Sunday worship services alongside our Chancel Choir. Now that a weekly Thursday night rehearsal has been added for the choristers, you can expect to see them leading music in worship more frequently.

Choristers will be invited to enjoy a week of music-making and fun next summer at the annual RSCM choir course held in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This past summer, chorister Dhini Leach had the opportunity to attend the course along with children’s music director Stephen Donnelly and Reverend Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith. For choristers, the week consists of activities like swimming, movies, games, variety shows, and, of course, rehearsal. Dhini gives it an enthusiastic “two thumbs up!”

There is no fee or tuition, and enrollment is open to anyone regardless of religious affiliation. For more information about the Choir School and enrolling, please contact Mr. Stephen Donnelly.