Introducing Pastoral Candidate

Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley
Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley

An Update from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Note: This letter was mailed to all members on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Its publication on the website was intentionally delayed in order to respect confidentiality concerns.

Dear Shadyside Presbyterian Church Family,

It is with great joy that we, your Pastor Nominating Committee, announce the Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley as our candidate for Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. It has been an honor to be entrusted with this important, sacred work, and we have felt the weight of your collective hopes and prayers. That is why we could not be any more certain that Rev. Shelley is the person God has in mind to lead Shadyside Presbyterian Church into its next chapter.

We were looking, first and foremost, for someone who loves preaching and teaching. We were looking for someone who is a leader and who can help us discern the future God has planned for us. We were looking for someone who can inspire us to love each other and our neighbors well. Ultimately, we were looking for someone who can help us fulfill our potential for good in the world. We have found that someone in Rev. Shelley.

We were enamored by Rev. Shelley’s ability to preach, crafting sermons that are engaging, that challenge us to think, and that show us how Scripture is relevant to our lives. We were inspired by the examples she gave of her collaborative, visionary style of leadership. We were impressed with stories shared by her references that illustrate she is a pastor at heart, with an endless capacity to love the people within the church and those outside it. And when we had the opportunity to meet her in person, we were convinced that we had found someone who each of us felt was the perfect fit.

The majesty of our worship service is one of the signature features of our life together. When we learned that
Rev. Shelley not only appreciates a beautiful, traditional worship experience, but is as nourished by it as we are, we knew without a doubt that she was the person we were seeking.

The Shelley Family
The Shelley Family

Currently, Rev. Shelley serves as Associate Minister at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has been for the past nine years. She is nearing completion of her Ph.D. in Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. Austin and her husband, Mark, have four children, two cats, and a border collie puppy. We hope this brochure, which includes a message to our congregation from Rev. Shelley and her statement of faith, will serve as an initial introduction while revealing profound theological insights that reflect her spiritual strength. (Click here to view the brochure as a .pdf file.)

Earlier this month, we shared with you the schedule of events for Rev. Shelley’s candidacy weekend. You are invited to attend a meet-and-greet reception for the Shelley family on Saturday, June 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Rev. Shelley will preach her candidacy sermon on Sunday, June 27, during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m. Immediately following the service, the congregation will hear the report from the Pastor Nominating Committee and will vote to approve the call of Rev. Shelley as the twelfth senior pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. (For your convenience, links to details about each of these events appear at the bottom of this announcement.)

As a gentle reminder, we also previously conveyed the need for confidentiality surrounding this announcement. We respectfully request that everyone entrusted with this information will keep this news within our church family until June 30, so that Rev. Shelley may notify her congregation appropriately. We thank you for exercising discretion.

If the way be clear, Rev. Shelley will begin her tenure at Shadyside on September 27. This schedule will give her time to move her family to Pittsburgh, take her comprehensive exams, and fulfill prior commitments.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Rev. Shelley and her family to Shadyside this weekend!

With love in Christ,
The Shadyside Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee:
Susan Balaan; Sara Brooke; Don Coffelt; Percy Jackson, Chair; Adam Loucks; Ann Pauley; and Janet Rohrer

View the Brochure

Candidacy Weekend Events at Shadyside Presbyterian Church

More from the Pastor Nominating Committee

Read previous updates from the Pastor Nominating Committee of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.