Giving Thanks for the Interim Ministry of the Reverend Dr. John Dalles

John and Judith Dalles

An Update from Session

Dear friends in Christ:

The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) convened early in January to act on a joint recommendation of the Human Resources Committee and the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) that the annual contract for the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles as Interim Senior Pastor and Head of Staff not be renewed in mid-February.

This decision in no way reflects a lack of confidence in or appreciation for the excellent leadership Dr. Dalles has demonstrated among us over the past two years. His ministry at Shadyside has been a tremendous blessing to us, and we are deeply grateful. Your elders simply find that the timing has aligned in such a way that Dr. Dalles will be completing the second year of his contract as the PNC enters the final stages of our pastoral search.

Elder Percy Jackson, PNC Chair, reported to the congregation on Sunday, January 3, that the PNC anticipates submitting the names of a group of finalists to the Pittsburgh Presbytery at the end of this month. While it is unlikely that our congregation will have completed all the steps necessary to call our next senior pastor before the end of Dr. Dalles’s contract, the PNC foresees bringing a new senior pastor to the church within the first part of 2021. The associate ministers will share the responsibilities of preaching, leading worship, and coordinating pastoral care until the arrival of our next senior pastor.

The departure of an interim pastor is a bittersweet but necessary step in clearing the way for our congregation’s next senior pastor. Dr. Dalles has been preparing us well to be ready to welcome our twelfth senior pastor, and so this final step of his tenure is in harmony with all of the good work he has accomplished at Shadyside thus far.

The partnership in ministry formed by the pairing of our congregation with Dr. Dalles is one of those joyful happenings that can only be explained by divine orchestration. Dr. Dalles has been a longtime friend of Shadyside Presbyterian Church; indeed, at times, it has seemed as if he knows us better than we know ourselves. We give thanks that God in His wisdom found a way to bring our congregation and Dr. Dalles together so that we might serve Him alongside each other. We could not have been blessed with a finer interim minister. Through his excellent preaching and warm-natured care, Dr. Dalles has extended the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to us, even amidst the most challenging of circumstances. His steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has provided both the calm, reassuring dependability and the innovative flexibility necessary to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the public health crisis.

Dr. Dalles’s last Sunday in the pulpit will be Sunday, February 14. Final messages from Dr. Dalles will be published in the February issue of the Church Mouse newsletter and in his blog, By God’s Side, which may be found on the church website at Disappointingly, the pandemic is depriving us of an opportunity to gather in fellowship to thank the Dalles family and say our farewells at a festive celebration; however, we will have an opportunity following worship on Sunday, February 14, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. for a drive-by farewell in the church’s semi-circular driveway. Parishioners are invited to wave from their vehicles and send their well wishes as the Dalles family maintains a safe social distance in the entrance to the Parish Hall.

In addition, we also intend to give Dr. Dalles a monetary gift as an expression of our appreciation. Contributions may be made by sending a check to the attention of the church finance office, designated as “Dalles Farewell Gift” in the memo line, before Thursday, February 11. Finally, we also encourage you to reach out directly to Dr. Dalles with personal messages of appreciation via email ( or notes sent to his attention at the church’s postal address.

From the moment of their arrival, John, his wife Judy, and his mother Pat Coleman became our dear friends and beloved members of our church family. Please join us in giving thanks to God for the time we have been able to enjoy together and in expressing our thanks to the Dalles family as best we can under the current conditions.

With grace and peace,

Elder Timothy E. Nye
Clerk of Session

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