Giving Thanks for the Ministry of Rev. Lynn Portz

An Update from Session

Doug and Lynn Portz

Dear friends,

Greetings to you this Eastertide in the name of Christ our Risen Lord! Earlier this spring, the Reverend Lynn M. Portz announced her intention to retire as a Minister of Word and Sacrament at the end of May after more than forty years of ordained ministry. As we, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, prepare to bid farewell to Rev. Portz, we remember with gratitude her faithfulness and care for this congregation.

For more than thirteen years, Lynn has served as our Associate Pastor for Parish Life. In that time, we have been abundantly blessed by her wise and gentle leadership, her compassionate heart, and her thoughtful and inspiring preaching and teaching. In addition to leading us in worship and the study of God’s Word, she has comforted the bereaved and grieving; visited the sick and hospitalized; prayed continuously for our church family and for our neighbors, near and far; celebrated baptisms and weddings; nurtured our congregation’s culture of hospitality; planned fellowship events that have deepened our sense of community; welcomed guests and newcomers into our midst; maintained connections with elderly and homebound members; coordinated our ministries of care and support; and guided the Board of Deacons and the Care Team. In all of these ways and more — many unknown to us but seen by God — she has demonstrated her profound love for Christ and for our church.

As Lynn’s tenure draws to a close, there are several important dates this month to share with you. We hope you will join us in celebrating her ministry, and in thanking her for all she has meant to our church and community.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

  • Please attend worship at 11:00 a.m. on May 15. As part of the agenda during the Annual Meetings of the Corporation and Congregation, which will be held in the sanctuary immediately following worship, we will act on the request of Rev. Portz that her pastoral relationship with Shadyside Presbyterian Church be dissolved effective May 31, 2022. It is important to have a good attendance for this meeting. If you are unable to attend in person, the format of the meeting will be hybrid, so participants may attend online via Zoom videoconferencing. The link, telephone number, meeting ID, and passcode will not be shared publicly in the interest of keeping the meeting secure, but these details will be provided directly to members in a letter delivered by the United State Postal Service and in an email on the morning of Sunday, May 15. (If you have questions or concerns, please contact the church office by phone or email before Friday, May 13, and we will be happy to assist you.)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

  • Please attend worship at 11:00 a.m. on May 22, which is Lynn’s last Sunday with us as a member of our pastoral staff. During this service, she will preach her final sermon as Associate Pastor in Shadyside’s pulpit. While we know that, ideally, everyone would prefer to attend in person, the live worship webcast continues to be available at
  • Following worship, all are invited to gather outside under a tent on the McClintock Lawn for a reception in honor of Lynn to express our appreciation and offer our well wishes.

As an expression of gratitude, you are invited to contribute to a gift for Rev. Portz, which will be presented to her on May 22. Checks may be sent to the attention of the church finance office, designated as “Portz Gift” in the memo line. Contributions also may be made online by clicking here; please select “Miscellaneous Revenue” in the drop-down menu on the giving form and include “Portz Gift” in the memo line. The goal for receipt of donations is Wednesday, May 18.

We will deeply miss Lynn and her husband, Doug. Together, we lift Lynn in prayer as she enters retirement, with grateful hearts for the blessing she has been to us and with fervent hope that God will grant Lynn and Doug many long years of health and happiness ahead to enjoy with their family.

In Christ,

Elder Robert B. Luthultz
Chair, Human Resources Committee of Session

Further Reading

Farewell Message from Rev. Lynn Portz to the Congregation

Pittsburgh Marathon 2022

Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 1, 2022

Ten members and friends of Shadyside Presbyterian Church are preparing for the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 1. The entire church is invited to “run” alongside them in a number of exciting ways:

Show Your Support

This year, we are again honored to be running with our local mission partner, Open Hand Ministries (OHM). Shadyside runners are running with a purpose to support OHM’s urban-renewal work in the Garfield and East Liberty communities. To support our runners financially, visit their fundraising pages:

Please also keep the runners in your prayers.

Slice Oranges and Make Signs

Volunteers are needed the day before the race, Saturday, April 30, at 1:00 p.m. to slice oranges in the church kitchen and make signs to encourage runners. Oranges will be given to runners during the race as they ascend Fifth Avenue, one of the most challenging portions of the 26.2-mile course. To help, please contact Kaysie Strickland in the church office.

Be a Fan

Shadyside’s cheer station will once again be located near the church at the corner of Amberson and Fifth Avenues. Not only will we pass out orange slices and fruit chews, we will be the words of encouragement as the athletes run their race with perseverance and strength. Rain or shine, be prepared to cheer with enthusiasm from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 1. To help, please contact Kaysie Strickland in the church office.


Marathon weekend concludes with worship in the Sanctuary at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Due to the church’s location within the marathon route, our service of worship has been re-scheduled from the morning to the afternoon. Wesley C. Smith, Student Assistant Pastor, will preach, and we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. (Communion will be served in a manner similar to our midweek services. Please read the invitation on our website.) Nursery care will be available during the 4:00 p.m. service. As a fitting conclusion to Marathon Weekend, this will serve as a reminder that acts of running, giving, and encouraging are all done in worship. Following the service in the Sanctuary, all are invited to enjoy an outdoor time of fellowship. (Worship will not be held at 11:00 a.m., and Christian Education classes will not be held on-site at 9:45 a.m.; the adult Christian Education study will meet via Zoom only, with an archival recording available for playback afterward.)

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).

Services of worship at Shadyside Presbyterian Church continue to be held on-site and online. Masks are recommended while inside the building. The COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet regularly to monitor data and to prayerfully discern our path forward.

Although pre-registration is no longer required to attend worship, other safety precautions and protocols remain in effect. To better prepare you for what to expect as you return to on-site worship, please visit this page of the church website to review current worship practices.

We are committed to continuing to offer a virtual worship option 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 and the children’s bulletin in .pdf format.

Selected Highlights from Previous COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Task Force

In June 2020, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church 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 Austin Crenshaw Shelley, the task force is comprised of Trustee Alex Dick and Elders Don Coffelt, Brigetta Del Re, Rob Ferguson, Carla Gedman, 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 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.

Policy and Protocols

In September 2020, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church approved the COVID-19 Task Force’s proposed policy and protocols document. Access the current version of these guidelines at

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.

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).

Rev. Matthew Gaventa to Preach November 14

Rev. Matthew R. Gaventa
Rev. Matthew R. Gaventa
Welcoming Rev. Matthew Gaventa

On Sunday, November 14, the Reverend Matthew R. Gaventa will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

Rev. Gaventa is Senior Pastor at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Previously, he served as pastor to Amherst Presbyterian Church in Amherst, Virginia, and as chaplain to Sweet Briar College. An acclaimed writer and preacher, Rev. Gaventa’s work has been featured in Working Preacher and in The Christian Century, for which he co-hosts the podcast Sunday Morning Matinee. Matt sits on the Board of Directors of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and on the Advisory Boards of Day1 and of The Church Lab. He holds degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Iowa, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He also was the 2012 recipient of the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award from Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Currently, Matt lives in Austin with his wife, Sarah; their son, Charlie; and their dog, Otto.

We give thanks that Rev. Gaventa will proclaim God’s Word among us when we celebrate the installation of the Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley as Senior Pastor. Please join us in welcoming him to Shadyside’s pulpit. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.

Installation of Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley

Worship on Sunday, November 14, at 11:00 a.m., with Celebration Following

The installation of the Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley as Senior Pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church will be celebrated during the morning service of worship on Sunday, November 14.

The presbytery in which a newly-called minister serves conducts the installation. The Moderator of the Pittsburgh Presbytery, Mr. Mark Roth, Elder, East Liberty Presbyterian Church, will preside on November 14. In addition to the Moderator, Rev. Shelley has asked the following individuals to serve as the administrative commission for her installation:

The Reverend Matthew Gaventa, Senior Pastor at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, will preach the sermon. Additional guests include the Reverend Janice Smith Ammon, who serves as the Bryant M. Kirkland Minister of the Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Reverend Dr. Molly F. James, who serves as the Dean of Formation for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Music for the morning will include anthems sung by the Chancel Choir and participation from guest brass instrumentalists. The choir and congregation also will sing a new hymn, titled “The Sparrow,” with tune name Crenshaw Shelley, which has been composed especially for this day. The text, written by Dr. Mark A. Boyle and set to music by Mr. Mark A. Anderson, was inspired by Rev. Shelley’s candidacy sermon and benediction in June.

Sunday, November 14, will be an important day in the life of our congregation, and it is altogether fitting that the observance of this auspicious occasion take place during our normal celebration of the Lord’s Day. An offering for the Oldman Fund, a scholarship for inquirers and candidates for ministry under the care of the Pittsburgh Presbytery, will be collected during worship. A celebration is planned following the service.

Remembering Loved Ones: All Saints’ Sunday

All Saints’ Sunday: November 7

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, we will hold a Service of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m. In memory of those who have entered eternal rest throughout time and space, we will gather to worship God through the singing of hymns, the reading of Scripture, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. 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 29. Alternatively, you may complete this form online to submit names.

Additional Resources:

  • The Shadyside Presbyterian Church Care Team members share their gifts of compassion, care, encouragement, support, and prayer with our congregation in intentional ways. If you think you could benefit from the support and encouragement of a Care Team member as you grieve, please contact Rev. Lynn M. Portz, Associate Pastor for Parish Life, through the church office.
  • Please remember that Shadyside Presbyterian Church has three 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 contact 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

Rev. Dr. Sheldon Sorge to Preach September 26

Rev. Dr. Sheldon Sorge
Rev. Dr. Sheldon Sorge
Welcoming Rev. Dr. Sheldon Sorge

On Sunday, September 26, the Reverend Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

The Reverend Dr. Sorge is the Executive and General Minister for Pittsburgh Presbytery. Before his election to this office in 2009, he was a pastor of congregations in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and served the Theology and Worship Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Louisville, Kentucky. He is married to the Reverend Dr. Tammy Wiens, who serves as Director of Christian Education and Christian Formation for the National Council of Churches. Together they enjoy writing and performing music, rail-to-trail bicycle rides, and long walks on golf courses.

We give thanks that Rev. Dr. Sorge will proclaim God’s Word among us in September. Please join us in welcoming him as he returns to Shadyside’s pulpit. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.

Rev. Dr. Edwin van Driel to Preach September 19

The Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel
Rev. Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel
Welcoming Rev. Dr. Edwin van Driel

On Sunday, September 19, the Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

The Reverend Dr. van Driel occupies the Directors’ Bicentennial Chair in Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He teaches mainly in Christology, ecclesiology, and the interaction between Biblical studies and theology. The Reverend Dr. van Driel is deeply invested in helping the Church think about its existence and calling as it moves into an increasingly post-Christian world.

An ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. van Driel served on the Church’s committee that produced the denomination’s new hymnal, Glory to God. He was the primary writer of the committee’s “Theological Vision Statement” and “A Statement on Language,” and also served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Book of Common Worship. Dr. van Driel is also involved with the PC(USA)’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities and serves as an advisor to the seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. He is a member of the International Research Consortium, which researches missional congregations.

Dr. van Driel is the author of Incarnation Anyway: Arguments for Supralapsarian Christology (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Rethinking Paul: Protestant Theology and Pauline Exegesis (Cambridge University Press, 2021). His work has been published in academic journals and in popular magazines such as Christian Century, Call to Worship, and The Presbyterian Outlook.

Edwin earned a Bachelor of Divinity in theology, a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Philosophy from Utrecht University; as well as a Master of Arts, a Master of Philosophy, and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University.

We give thanks that Rev. Dr. van Driel will proclaim God’s Word among us in September. Please join us in welcoming him as he returns to Shadyside’s pulpit. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.

Learn more about Rev. Dr. van Driel or view a short video featuring his work at the seminary.

Rev. Dr. Angela Hancock to Preach August 29

Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock
Rev. Dr. Angela D. Hancock
Welcoming Rev. Dr. Angela Hancock

On Sunday, August 29, the Reverend Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

The Reverend Dr. Hancock serves as associate professor of homiletics and worship at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. An ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reverend Dr. Hancock has served as pastor to churches in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. She continues to preach, teach, and lead worship in a variety of settings.

Dr. Hancock earned her Ph.D. in homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she also earned her Master of Divinity, after earning a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic, 1932-33: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich, a contextual interpretation of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s lectures on preaching in the early 1930s, based on unpublished archival material. Her current research explores Karl Barth’s contribution to the ethics of deliberation in Christian communities and the relationship between political and theological rhetoric.

We give thanks that Rev. Dr. Hancock will proclaim God’s Word among us in August. Please join us in welcoming her as she returns to Shadyside’s pulpit. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.

Learn more about Rev. Dr. Hancock or view a short video featuring her work at the seminary.

Dave Bindewald to Preach August 15

Dave Bindewald
Dave Bindewald
Welcoming Dave Bindewald

On Sunday, August 15, Dave Bindewald will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m.

Dave Bindewald is a familiar friend to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. From 2007 to 2011, Dave worked as a Campus Ministry co-worker with Carnegie Mellon University students through the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) partnership at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. In 2016, he founded the Center for Play and Exploration and currently serves as director. Dave’s training in education, theology, psychology, and philosophy have led him to a fascination with the power of curiosity to unlock potential in people and organizations. His experiences with the Center have convinced him that human life and work can be an act of playful exploration. Dave resides with his wife and three daughters in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

We give thanks that Dave will proclaim God’s Word among us in August. Please join us in welcoming him as he returns to Shadyside. To connect remotely, visit the live worship webcast page of the church website.