Archival Recording of a Sermon Preached by Shadyside’s Fifth Pastor
Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr served as fifth pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church from 1913 to 1945. This recording is a sermon delivered on June 20, 1948, at the Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church by Dr. Kerr, who was then retired. The transcription was made on twelve 78 RPM lacquer disks, which were carefully preserved by the late Reverend George Fulton and his widow, Mrs. Kathleen Fulton. Mrs. Fulton recently arranged for Steve Zelenko, the church’s sound engineer, to transfer this audio treasure to a digital copy. A generous bequest from Rev. Fulton’s estate supported Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s long-time radio ministry, broadcasting Sunday at Shadyside on multiple stations, including KDKA-AM and KQV-AM. Presently, the Fulton bequest makes possible the church’s streaming webcast available during worship on Sunday mornings at www.shadysidepres.org/live. We are grateful for the faithfulness and stewardship of the Fulton family, and we hope you will enjoy hearing this only-known recording of Dr. Kerr’s voice.
“God of our life, through all the circling years … Our heart’s true home when all our years have sped.” — The Reverend Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr
As we observe All Saints’ Sunday, we remember and give thanks for the lives of our deceased loved ones in light of the Resurrection — the ultimate source of solace and comfort afforded by our faith. Furthermore, we reverently recall those faithful departed whose families have chosen inurnment in the Columbarium at Shadyside Presbyterian Church for their loved ones. This year, All Saints’ Sunday marks the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of Shadyside’s Columbarium.
The Columbarium is a sacred and beautiful space for mortal remains in the peace and permanence of our beloved church home. Located in the Chapel Narthex, it contains over 300 bronze memorial niches available for those who prefer this form of memorialization.
The design of the Columbarium by the late John L. Haughwout, church member and architect, made use of several existing elements — including a screen wall with stained glass panels and a Virgil Cantini bronze bas-relief — in order to achieve a well-integrated final space. Authorized by the Session in 1994, the project was completed three years later, after much careful planning and construction. The Columbarium was then dedicated on All Saints’ Sunday, November 2, 1997.
The peaceful ambiance of this space provides a setting which invites quiet meditation, reflection, and prayer, while offering the comfort of familiar, well-loved church surroundings. Burial within or on church property has been practiced for many centuries, while the practice of cremation has become an increasingly popular option in the past several decades. Both methods of final disposition are supported by the Christian Church. Members interested in considering this memorial option may contact a member of the Columbarium Committee through the church office.
Contributed by Elder Robert G. Mayer Jr.
The first Sunday in October is designated as World Communion Sunday, which celebrates our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world.
Paul tells us that we are to “discern the body” when we partake of Holy Communion, mindful that we note our relationship to all our brothers and sisters in Christ in the celebration (1 Corinthians 11:29).
World Communion Sunday (originally called World Wide Communion Sunday) is a gift of the Presbyterian Church to the larger ecumenical Church. The first celebration occurred here at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in 1933, when the Reverend Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr served as pastor.
John A. Dalles, a Pittsburgh native, a friend of Shadyside, and a PC(USA) pastor who has researched the history of World Communion Sunday, reported in the October 7, 2002, issue of Presbyterian Outlook:
“Davitt S. Bell (the late Clerk of Session and church historian at Shadyside) recalled that Dr. Kerr first conceived the notion of World Communion Sunday during his year as moderator of the General Assembly (1930). Dr. Kerr’s younger son, the Rev. Dr. Donald Craig Kerr, who is pastor emeritus of the Roland Park Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, was sixteen in 1933. He has related that World Communion Sunday grew out of the Division of Stewardship at Shadyside. It was their attempt to bring churches together in a service of Christian unity—in which everyone might receive both inspiration and information, and above all, to know how important the Church of Jesus Christ is, and how each congregation is interconnected one with another.”
Celebration of World Wide Communion Sunday was adopted as a denominational practice in the Presbyterian Church (US) in 1936. Churches in other denominations were invited to celebrate with us from the beginning, but it was not until 1940, when the Department of Evangelism of the Federal Council of Churches (a predecessor body of the National Council of Churches) promoted extending the celebration to a number of churches around the world, that the practice became widespread. Today, World Communion Sunday is celebrated around the world, transcending boundaries of denomination, geography, and language.
Text partially adapted from resources available at www.pcusa.org/worship.
About the Artwork: This six-foot banner at the denominational offices in Louisville was created to illustrate the Peacemaking Offering for World Communion Sunday on October 5, 1997. This design was originally drawn in oil pastels by Dorothea B. Kennedy and was translated into fabric by Gloiela Yau Dolak. As the mountains and hills rejoice, the thirsty of all nations are invited to come to the water; the hungry are invited to come to the table. Everyone is welcome.