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Upcoming Installations

Rev. Ryan Kobert: St Paul’s Lutheran Church
Sunday, January 27 at 4:00 p.m.
St Paul’s Lutheran Church: 616 Washington St, Sewickley, PA 15143
[See Invitation]

Rev. Martha McCreight: Zion Lutheran Church
Sunday, February 17 at 4:00 p.m.
Zion Lutheran Church: 11609 Frankstown Road, Penn Hills, PA 15235

Mutual Ministry Committee Training and Development

Saturday, January 12, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Harrold Zion Lutheran Church, Baltzer-Meyer Pike, Greensburg

A Mutual Ministry Committee's job is to aid the pastor and staff to make their ministry effective and to be a support system. Your congregation is encouraged to consider a Mutual Ministry Committee for the support of the pastor and his/her family for the strengthening of the ministry of your congregation.  We’ve invited the Rev. Dr. Sandra Jones, Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership Development in the NWPA Synod, to facilitate our learning and discussion.

Registration is $12 per person to cover lunch and materials. Register online or contact Sandy DeLorenze at the synod office: 412-367-8222 or by noon on Wednesday, January 9.

Congregational Council Training

Saturday, February 2, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1719 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw

Being a member of the congregation council is a significant commitment in the life of a disciple. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod is excited to offer a congregational council training for these spiritual leaders in the church. This gathering is intended to strengthen their skills and strengthen their faith.

Why should members of church councils attend?  
To learn about stewardship and evangelism, about developing the spirituality of your congregation, and better understanding the role of officers of the congregation. There will be an opportunity for council members to dialog with the Bishop, as well as a separate session for pastors and deacons to also sit with the bishop.

Register online or contact Sandy DeLorenze at the synod office: 412-367-8222 or Registration is $10/person. Street parking is available as well as at the high school.

Reading "Luke" as a Synod

The latest set of discussion questions for adults, youth, & children while reading through Luke are currently posted on our facebook page and will continue to be posted weekly. You are invited to share your thoughts in the comments section as well to share these posts within your own congregations and communities. 
Don't use Facebook? Download the Reading Schedule: Part 1 which lists the same discussion questions being shared synod-wide online.

Mission Endowment Grants for 2019

Mission Grants
  • Available to congregations, social ministry organizations, institutions, and Synodically Authorized Ministries to enable ministry that bears witness to God’s love which has been made known to us in Jesus Christ. The goal is to provide funding for ministry that might otherwise not occur due to a lack of financial resources.
  • Eligible projects and programs include such things as community outreach events, food or clothing ministries, mission trips and work camps, new ministries to meet congregational/community needs, and church camp camperships. 
  • Grants generally do not exceed $1000, though a few larger grants may be made. 
  • Applications can be found on our website. All applications must be received by January 31, 2019. Notification of grants will be made by March 15, 2019.
The Ethel L. Verney Fund
  • "For the benefit of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod to be used in its programs to provide relief and support for people living in poverty in the area it serves.” 
  • About $140,000 is available each year for grants to congregations, synodical ministries, and other ministries related to groups in the SWPA synod. Preference is shown for synod programs that demonstrate collaboration, shared investment, solid leadership, and a plan to become self-sustaining. 
  • Applications can be found on our website. Grants are made each year in February (submission deadline Feb. 10) and August (submission deadline Aug. 10).

Ecumenical Events

Interfaith Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration

Sunday, January 20, 4:00 p.m.
Rodman St. Missionary Baptist Church
6111 Rodman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Our Synod's Ecumenical Affairs Committee will be co-sponsoring an interfaith Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration. 

Save the Date
More information will be available soon, see next week's email or our facebook page for additional details as they become available.

Interfaith Clergy Gathering at EECM

Wednesday, January 23, 4-6 p.m.
East End Cooperative Ministries
6140 Station St. Pittsburgh, PA 15206

As this new year begins, Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania and Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement of the Jewish Community Center invite you to connect with the religious leaders of Southwest Pennsylvania. 150 clergy gathered in November, representing 6 world religions, 4 Jewish denominations and 22 Christian denominations. 

On January 23 we will convene a large clergy gathering to build on the work we've started so far. The agenda will be announced soon, but you can expect round table conversations, opportunities for spiritual reflection, and actionable next steps. Please RSVP here.

Educational Opportunities

LOVE+TEACH+HEAL Leadership Academy

Discerning lay worship leaders from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will meet regularly to grow together in Christian faith, practice, and leadership. Develop skills and vision for ministry in your parish or discern a sense of call to serve as lay worship leader. The Leadership Academy will discuss scripture, theology, preaching, worship leadership and the work of the larger Church. The academy is led by a Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Canon Natalie Hall, serving on the staff of Bishop Dorsey McConnell, the Episcopal Bishop.   

South Hills: St. David’s Episcopal Church
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM (beginning January 8)
North Hills: St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM (beginning January 15)
Central/East: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Truxall Classroom, 2nd Floor)
Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 AM (beginning January 9)
Far East: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Johnstown
Mondays, 9:30-11:30 AM (beginning January 7)

So far, over thirty people have registered for this groundbreaking opportunity to build up faith life and leadership. On-site registration is still available. [Learn More] / [Registration Form]

United Lutheran Seminary Lifelong Learning Opportunities

For more information and to register for events go to: For questions contact Deacon Chelle Huth, Director of Lifelong Learning at
Preaching Perspectives
January 16, Gettysburg Campus
January 17, Philadelphia Campus
Come, by yourself, bring a friend or attend as a pericope group (to enhance your work as a group), to a one-day lecture for anyone interested in thematic ideas, exegetical insights and preaching ideas for the coming liturgical season. 
Mental Health First Aid Training
February 7, Gettysburg Campus
February 26, Philadelphia Campus
One in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Even if you are not a trained mental health professional, you can be prepared and know what to do when a mental health crisis happens.

Lutheran House, Chautauqua Institution Grants

The Lutheran Chautauqua Association is offering two grant opportunities for a week at the Lutheran House, Chautauqua Institution, NY. [Application]
First-Time Chautauquin Grant
  1. Lutheran lay individual or family who might not otherwise be able to experience Chautauqua. Application due by February 15, 2019.
Chautauqua Grant
  • Persons of color and/or whose primary language is other than English; Lutheran laity from congregations receive preference, however, Full Communion partners may also apply. Application due by February 1, 2019.
The grants include gate passes, one parking permit and lodging for the individual or the family (parents/guardians and includes children under 18 living at the same residence) at the Lutheran House on the grounds of the institution, as well as participation in Kids Club for children who may be eligible.

Resources for Lent

The Resource Center would like to share SALT's most recent e-newsletter featuring a roundup of Lent resources. SALT is an Emmy Award winning production company dedicated to the craft of visual storytelling.
Customizable Short Films
When planning your visit to the center, advance appointments are strongly encouraged. This provides you a scheduled block of time for consultation or just to browse and makes certain the space is not being used for meetings, classes, etc. 
Contact Deacon Bath Caywood at or 412-367-8222.

Social Ministry Organizations

Caregiver Workshop

Sunday, January 27
12:30pm-2:30pm at Hope Lutheran
 8070 Rowan Rd, Cranberry Twp 16066

Hope Lutheran and Lutheran SeniorLife are offering a light lunch and informational workshop designed especially for people who are caring for an older loved one while also tending to kids, grandkids, or facing personal aging concerns. We will cover topics such as care options for older adults, preparing for the future, and care for the caregiver.

Please register with the church office (724) 776-3141. Contact Pastor Amy with any questions. 

Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI)

AYTI is a program for high school students to come to Augsburg University in Minneapolis and connect with other students, God, faculty, and staff. Students spend time learning, having deep conversations, praying, worshiping, and spreading their gifts throughout the Twin Cities community and with Augsburg’s neighbors. This program benefits not only the participants but also their churches and communities. Students come from all across the United States to participate and build connections. Apply at

Deaconess Community Mission Grants

The Deaconess Community's mission grants are available for any nonprofit organizations that are finding new, effective ways to walk with people on the margins of society. Since 2004, the Deaconess Community has awarded over 2 million dollars in grants. The deadline for the Mission Support Grant letters of intent  is January 15, 2019. [Learn More]

Lutheran Marriage Encounter

Your marriage relationship is one of the things in life that provides the greatest potential for happiness. Resolve to make 2019 the year you attend a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend to learn how to maximize the joy and intimacy that God intends for your marriage. In celebrating 50 years of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, the registration fee for 2019 Weekends will be reduced to $50.00 instead of $100.00. [Learn More]

Bethesda Celebrates 100 Years
Bethesda Lutheran Services will be proudly entering its Centennial Year in 2019, and would like all their church supporters to be a part of it! Bethesda will be hosting many events and publishing various pieces of media throughout 2019 to Celebrate 100 years of Promising Futures, they hope you may be able to insert this piece into paper or electronic newsletters, or church bulletins so all may become a part of the history and celebrations!

Congregation News

  • St. Mark's in Trafford has Celebrates available (25 for each week) January - March 2019. If interested, please call or text Michelle Kunkle at (724) 493-1910.
  • IRS Standard Mileage Rates for 2019: See the updated mileage rates here.
  • Pittsburgh Beer & Hymns hosted by Saint John Lutheran Church, Carnegie.
    • Thursday, January 31, 7:00-9:00 pm at Vincent’s of Greentree [Flyer]
  • Abiding Ministries is collecting donations for their Emergency Warming Center. Donations can be dropped off at Abiding Ministries or the Synod office.  They will also be happy to pick up donations if that is more convenient by calling 412-481-1161.
    • Most Needed Items:
      • Paper towels, napkins, toilet paper
      • Dish washing soap, multi-purpose cleaning products
      • Men’s or boy’s boxer briefs all sizes
      • Lady’s or girl’s underwear & bras all sizes
      • Clothing donations – particularly men/boys – belts needed
      • Socks needed (Please note we are NOT able to accept used shoes)
      • Ground coffee – regular
      • Powdered drinks – Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Iced Tea
      • Shop’n Save, Walmart or Giant Eagle gift cards
      • 3 person or larger tents, back packs