PNews – 9/3/2020

News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

Over recent months we have been shaken to the core – by the pandemic, by police shootings, and by resultant protests and counter-protests. There’s a whole lot of shaking going on in the Bible. The ungodly shake with terror, shake their heads in scorn or disbelief, or shake their fists in anger. And the God of heaven shakes the nations in judgment. So what remains unshakable, when so much is being shaken around us and among us? In this week’s meditation, Unshakable, Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge explores this question and more.

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic which has prevented in-person minutes readings and the disparity in access to technology to permit electronic minutes readings, the Ecclesiastical Committee has granted congregations within Pittsburgh Presbytery a waiver of the minutes reading obligation for 2019 minutes. The Ecclesiastical Committee will schedule the reading of congregational minutes for 2020 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so, likely during the fall of 2021.

Many Pittsburgh Presbyterians were deeply interested in the national Presbyterian Week of Action, August 24-30, focusing on racial justice. Some of us were able to participate in the week’s events, but many were not. The week’s presentations were recorded and may be viewed and downloaded.

In 1992 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a document on how to engage each other across lines of difference while maintaining our commitment to love one another as Christ has loved us. This arose amidst swirling controversies over “hot button” issues such as abortion, sexuality, ecology, and energy. Entitled “Seeking to Be Faithful Together: Guidelines for Presbyterians in Times of Disagreement,” this document has endured in its value, and to this day our presbytery includes its first page as part of each meeting’s docket. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has recently updated the document, and commends it for prayerful study by sessions and congregations across the church. Rooted deeply in Scripture and our confessional heritage, it provides superb guidance on how to find our way forward together peaceably when we see things from differing perspectives.

Join the World Mission Initiative and Continuing Education of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for a free online conversation on “Race and God’s Mission”. This four-part series is co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Presbytery and will be held on Wednesday evenings October 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) with nationally recognized speakers Brenda Salter McNeil, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and David Campt leading the conversation. Registration is required.

Section G-3.0105 of the Book of Order specifies that meetings of councils “shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised except when it is in contradiction to this Constitution.” As of August 28, 2020, the new 12th Edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is our governing parliamentary authority. The 12th Edition is available on, including in an eBook format, and the popular Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief is available in a new edition as well. Spiral-bound and other versions may be purchased from the National Association of Parliamentarians via their on-line store.

In a conversation that has been long in coming, Ralph and Brian tackle difficult topics including the biblical concept of social justice as it relates to the Black Lives Matter movement, educating our children, and investing in our communities. This conversation may stretch the limits of your emotional stamina (because it sure stretched theirs!). Episode Five’s conversation is a glimpse into how being a disciple of Jesus Christ can push us headfirst into the most challenging subjects of today.

In 2020, the Coleman-Patrick Scholarship was awarded to four students. The awards were funded by the congregations of Pittsburgh Presbytery through the Christmas Joy Offering in addition to the fundraising programs of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus, Pittsburgh Chapter (NBPC). The students were awarded a sum totaling more than $4,900.

Due to the travel restrictions and impacts of Covid-19 the 2020 conference will now be a virtual event. It will run for three consecutive Tuesdays: September 22, September 29, and October 6 at 11:30 a.m. Each week they will discuss theological, practical, and actionable perspectives. Be sure check their site for the list of speakers, schedule, to register, and more.

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