Virtual Lessons and Carols

A Virtual Service of Lessons and Carols

On Sunday, December 6, at 3:00 p.m., Shadyside Presbyterian Church will hold a virtual Service of Lessons and Carols. Based on the service begun at King’s College, Cambridge, in 1918, the Service of Lessons and Carols tells the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of a Messiah, and the birth of Jesus through a series of Scripture readings, carols, hymns, and choral anthems. Please join with the pastors and the Chancel Choir as together we celebrate in word and in song the joys of the Christmas season.

The video will premiere on YouTube and Facebook at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 6.

Sunday Worship ONLINE ONLY

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices are open on a limited basis. Click here to learn more.

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, December 6, so that you may join us remotely. You may access the video here on our website, from our YouTube channel, or from our Facebook channel. Visit the live webcast page or the worship archive to access the bulletin and the sermon text in .pdf format.

Note: This service will incorporate an online celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, which has been approved by both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. In order to participate at home, please read the invitation, along with suggestions for preparation.

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.

For the latest updates and announcements related to COVID-19, please visit this page.

Missed a service?

Visit the worship archive to explore past worship services and discover resources for enhancing your personal devotional time as we face an extended period of physical separation from our community of faith.

Virtual Vespers in Advent (ONLINE ONLY)

During the liturgical season of Advent, Shadyside Presbyterian Church invites you to join us each Wednesday for an evening of music and reflection. These online-only candlelight Communion services include a homily, the Lord’s Supper, and music offered by the Shadyside Strings, Chatham Baroque, and a chamber choir.

Virtual Advent vespers videos premiere at 7:00 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook.

Note: This service will incorporate an online celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, which has been approved by both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. In order to participate at home, please read the invitation, along with suggestions for preparation.

By God’s Side: December 2, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

December 2, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesIf you have been watching the national news and managing to wade through all of the seemingly endless reporting about the coronavirus and about the unusual political scene, you also may have seen what I consider to be just about the best news of the past several weeks.

When the giant evergreen tree from upstate New York made its 170-mile journey to where it now stands as the official New York City Christmas tree, it was not alone. Well, of course it wasn’t. In addition to the usual participants in such a trip – the rig driver and helpers – there was one more passenger that no one could have anticipated: a diminutive saw-whet owl.

You may have seen the photos of this little guy. Nothing could be cuter than those big yellow eyes and beautifully feathered face. Somehow or other, he managed to be a stowaway. As the tree was hoisted into place in front of the RCA Building, and as the workers removed the twine that bound the boughs, there he was, in all of his indisputable wonder. Maybe he had heard about the Big Apple and wanted to see it for himself. Or maybe, gently held and cared for by hands that folded round it almost like a prayer, this was a kind of Advent miracle.

Can something so small bring such a measure of joy? Can an unexpected surprise brighten a world that is feeling frankly glum? Can one living being enrich lives far beyond those who will ever see it in person, or hear its voice with their own ears?

Of course, those questions pertain to “Rockefeller the Owl.” But, even more, they can serve as a reminder to us that the Messiah, whose arrival is soon upon us, comes as a small child, yet brings immeasurable joy, brightens this world with a light that shines into even the darkest of places, and offers hopefulness. The one eternal God is coming to enliven hearts and minds.

This Advent season, look for the small things, for they are the matters of everlasting worth. May you find them in expected and unexpected places.

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes By God’s Side, a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles, to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages appear in the blog section of the church website each week. (Our weekly e-newsletter includes an excerpt to remind you to read along with us regularly; click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter if you do not already receive it.) We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.

Sunday Worship ONLINE ONLY

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church building and offices are open on a limited basis. Click here to learn more.

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, November 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 channel. 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.

For the latest updates and announcements related to COVID-19, please visit this page.

Missed a service?

Visit the worship archive to explore past worship services and discover resources for enhancing your personal devotional time as we face an extended period of physical separation from our community of faith.

An Invitation to Online Communion

Special Invitation: The Lord’s Supper During Advent

The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. This set will be used regularly as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our midweek vespers. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Rebecca D. Reeder.“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for His coming again. One of the ways in which we remember Christ’s coming into our lives is through His abiding presence in Word and Sacrament. During the season of Advent, Shadyside Presbyterian Church will offer multiple opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Communion virtually.

In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic), and, according to the Book of Order, it is the responsibility of the Session to authorize the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has so authorized the online celebration of the Sacrament on Sunday, December 6, 2020, as well as during virtual vespers in Advent on Wednesdays, December 2, 9, and 16, 2020. In this time when we are separated by space, yet united in the Spirit, we remember that Christ is always at work, gathering us in unique ways.

Preparations

In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.

Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.

During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.

Some possibilities for bread:

  • any kind of bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • chips
  • tortilla
  • pita

Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.

Some possibilities for beverage:

  • grape juice
  • any other type of juice
  • wine
  • water

Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. This set has been used regularly as we have celebrated the Lord’s Supper during our midweek vespers. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Rebecca D. Reeder.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols at Shadyside Presbyterian ChurchThis beloved traditional service is preceded by an extended choral prelude and concludes with a ceremony of lights while the congregation sings “Silent Night.” The prelude, Kirke Mechem’s cantata Seven Joys of Christmas for harp and choir, features the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir and harpist Nuiko Wadden, and begins at 7:40 p.m.

Photograph taken by Ellen L. Allston.

Christmas Eve Family Service

Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s Nativity WindowLed by the children and youth of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, this family service celebrating the Nativity of our Lord is filled with familiar carols, costumed players, and candle lighting. The service appeals to congregants of all ages and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Photograph: Detail of Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s Nativity Window, located at the center of the south transept in the Sanctuary. Manufactured by Tiffany Glass Company, the window was installed when the church was erected in 1890 and is the only original stained glass window remaining at the church. The window is based on the 1522 painting “The Holy Night” (also known as “The Adoration of the Shepherds”) by Correggio, who was a contemporary of Raphael. Depicted are the Infant Jesus and His mother Mary. Those surrounding the Child are illuminated by a radiance that emanates from Him. Photograph taken by Mary Jane Bent.

Advent Vespers

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Rev. Dr. Scott J. Hagley
Rev. Dr. Scott J. Hagley

During the season of Advent, Shadyside Presbyterian Church invites you to join us on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. for an evening of music and reflection in our Sanctuary. These 45-minute candlelight Communion services include homilies from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary staff, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and music offered by the Shadyside Strings, Chatham Baroque, and the Pittsburgh Girls Choir. Nursery care is available.

On Wednesday, December 18, we welcome the Reverend Dr. Scott J. Hagley as our guest preacher.  Rev. Dr. Hagley is the Assistant Professor of Missiology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He will deliver a homily titled, “Of Branches and Stumps, Lions and Lambs,” based on the Scripture passage of Isaiah 11:1-9.

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

Pittsburgh Camerata Concert

Christmas with the Camerata

The 27th concert season of Music in a Great Space continues with the Pittsburgh Camerata, presenting “Christmas with the Camerata,” on Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

At this most reflective time of year, when light and darkness are equal, the Pittsburgh Camerata offers the music of Christmas, sacred and secular, as a reflection of the significance this holiday inspires. Join us for the tradition, for the beauty, and for the promise of Christmas.

Tickets: www.pittsburghcamerata.org or at the door

Learn more about Music in a Great Space, the concert series at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.