Wednesday, February 1, 2017


St. Paul’s is getting a new rector. This is always an exciting prospect, though one that can be a source of anxiety as well. In any case, a new rector has to come from somewhere, and, for a church such as St. Paul’s, that place is almost always going to be another Episcopal church. And so it is with the Rev. Noah Evans. He will be saying good-bye to Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, Massachusetts.

Our new rector has written a good-bye message on Grace’s blog, which you can read here. The Medford Transcript carried a story about Evans’ announcement to his church. The story offers some insight into the priest who is coming to Mt. Lebanon. The picture below is from the Medford Transcript story.

Although not particularly relevant to the arrival of our new rector, it is worth noting that Grace Church is actually an early, though atypical, building designed by noted architect H.H. Richardson. Richardson, of course, designed the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. Grace church, however, looks nothing like the Romanesque Revival style buildings for which Richardson is best known. Information about the Grace Church building is here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Possible Episcopal Church Ads

I have never felt very confident of my own ideas for getting people into church. I do think that The Episcopal Church has a lot to offer, however, and the public at large may not be aware of it. This, along with other considerations explained in Lionel Deimel’s Web Log, led me to create a number of possible ads for The Episcopal Church. I began with 22 of these, but have pared the list down to 16 with the help of Facebook friends.

My post, “Tooting The Episcopal Church’s Horn” discusses how I came to this project and exhibits all 16 ads.

A sample ad is below. Click on it to see a larger version.

The Episcopal Church: Building the Kingdom of God, not waiting for it

Monday, March 7, 2016


I don’t actually have strong feelings about pews in churches, but I admit that they are a “new” invention in the history of Christianity. Certainly, the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe contain magnificent spaces devoid of pews. I must say that I do deplore the pews of colonial church enclosed in little cages.

Contemporary churches benefit in an obvious way from eschewing pews—flexibility is gained, whether for worship, meetings, or other events. I’m hardly ready to recommend that St. Paul’s remove its pews, but I do want to recommend an essay I encountered that makes theological and practical arguments for doing away with pews.

The essay is “The Problem with Pews.” It is aimed at a Roman Catholic audience, but it seems as relevant to non-Catholics. You can read “The Problem with Pews” here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Enhanced Sign

I suspect that many readers have already seen our enhanced sign in front of the church. Apparently, the red insert was supposed to be part of the design from the beginning, but it has only recently been put into place. It not only makes the sign more attention-getting but it also assures that the name of the church is always visible. Until now, we had to display our name using the electronic sign. Mt. Lebanon regulations require that the sign can only change every 30 seconds, which meant that many people would either see “St. Paul’s Episcopal Church” or whatever specific message we wanted to display (such as service times), but not both.

I am pleased to see that the new insert includes both the Episcopal Church shield and “All are welcome.” “All are welcome” is neither boastful nor insulting to other churches. It is simply inviting.

Unfortunately, the sign is still very hard to see from the southbound lanes of Washington Road because of the equipment box at the corner with Mayfair Drive.

Enhanced sign

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Bulletin from May 2 service
Bulletin for May 2, 2015, service (click on image for larger view)
When I received the letter from Lou saying that St. Paul’s was willing to bless same-sex unions—see my post on Lionel Deimel’s Web Log—I didn’t give much thought to its timing. I should have considered it odd, however, that it contained this sentence:
This decision follows a period of discernment, including work that Michelle and the Vestry did on this subject last summer during my sabbatical.
Bishop McConnell left the matter of deciding whether to bless same-sex unions up to individual priests, assuming, no doubt, that any responsible rector would obtain advice and buy-in from his or her vestry. Thus, the decision was Lou’s to make.

In fact, Lou and the St. Paul’s Vestry decided to move forward with same-sex blessings last fall. For whatever reason, Lou chose not to inform the congregation about the decision until such a blessing was imminent. Lou’s letter was dated April 24, 2015. The first such service was scheduled for May 2.

I suspect that Lou delayed his letter for fear of blowback from the congregation until he could delay it no longer. Happily, there seems to have been little or no complaints about the decision announced in the April 24 letter. (I sent Lou a congratulatory e-mail message.)

Brandon Priddy and Zachary Weber have been attending St. Paul’s for some time, which is not always the case for couples getting married in the church. I hope that all parishioners will congratulate our newest married couple at St. Paul’s.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Big News Day for The Episcopal Church

There were two big news items about The Episcopal Church today.

As was scheduled, candidates for Presiding Bishop were announced. (A new Presiding Bishop will be elect at the General Convention in Salt Lake City this summer.) Details can be found here.

Also, Bishop Heather Cook, who killed a bicyclist with her car in December has resigned and been deposed. She is no longer a priest. Details are here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Odd Goings On at St. David’s

St. David’s, Peters Township, is going to be renting space to Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church. That church broke away from the Presbyterian Church (USA) over “liberal” trends in the largest Presbyterian denomination in America. Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church used to be known as Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church. If you would like to know more about this development, please read “Pittsburgh Episcopal Church to Harbor Breakaway Presbyterian Congregation” on Lionel Deimel’s Web Log.

St. David’s Episcopal Church
St. David’s Episcopal Church