September 23, 2022 | ISSUE #128

Love. Share. Grow. Serve.

Dear Bellefield Family,

If you grew up in the church, especially a church affiliated with a protestant denomination, one of the things that you tend to accept without thinking about it much is the concept of church membership. And because church membership is an often unexamined idea, there are those who ask the question: is church membership biblical (meaning: is it in the Bible)? 

The answer, we find, is no: church membership was not practiced in the form that we have today in the early church. The early church used what we know as a parish model. Paul doesn’t address church membership in Philippi, because if you are a Christian in Philippi, you’re a member of the Philippian church. This parish model of church membership continued as the early church grew, eventually moving to neighborhood delineations: are you a Christian in Squirrel Hill? Then you go to church X. Shaydside Christians go to church Y.

Though church membership is not practiced in the New Testament, it’s also not true to say it is unbiblical (meaning: the Bible is opposed to it). In fact, the concept of church membership flows from passages like Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

When the writer of Hebrews wrote that verse, it would have been clear to his listeners who their leaders are and who is part of the church in their city. So a command like “submit to your leaders” and the implied command to the leaders of “keep watch over the church” would be easy to understand. But let’s now imagine “Christian”, a believer in 2022 who moves to Pittsburgh without any church affiliation. How would that person obey this command in Hebrews? Who are the leaders Christian ought to submit to, and which leaders will be asked to give an account for Christian’s soul?

These days, we address these questions through church membership. This involves a commitment from both the church and the individual to say that, while all of us are part of the global body of Christ, we are united to a specific expression of that global body here, at Bellefield. The commitment allows for the sort of spiritual growth the writer of Hebrews has in mind: a community that is joyfully pointing one another towards Christ in all the seasons of life.

Pastor Josh is going to be leading a new members class on October 9th, 23rd, and 30th. If you are not a member, then we invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to join this local expression of the body of Christ. If you are already a member or leader, then I encourage you to  use these reflections as a reminder of what we are called to, and lean into that calling once again.

In Christ,

Greg Burdette

In need of help? Looking for ways to get connected?

If you are looking for ways to connect with our community, please reach out to us using this connect form. One of our staff or leaders would be happy to talk with you. 

Small Groups
If you would like to grow in your faith through joining a small group, there are a number of groups to choose from! Email Julie for more information.

Our Prayer Team will offer prayer after our morning service. Contact Greg if you need to talk or would like prayer during the week.

If you or your family have been experiencing spiritual, financial, or physical hardship during this time, please reach out to our Deacons who are here to help care for you.

Bellefield Family Updates

Congratulations Conard Family

Elijah Conard was born to Julianne and Alex Conard on September 18th. Elijah is grandson to Gary and Barb Liberati. We're praying for their whole family as big sister Adelyn and the rest of the family are very excited!

This Week at Bellefield

Sunday, September 25th

  • Classic Worship Service @ 8:30am, Sanctuary
  • Sunday School @ 9:45am, Fellowship Hall
  • Modern Worship Service @ 11am, Sanctuary
  • Modern Worship Online, Livestream @ 11am
  • Relaxed Worship Service @ 5pm, Fellowship Hall

Monday, September 26th

  • Women's Bible Study @ 9:30am, Conference Room & Online
  • Youth Group, email Matthew for details
  • University Ministry Bible Study @ 6:00pm, Room B6
  • Chatham Healthcare Bible Study @ 6:30pm, Carriage House

Tuesday, September 27th

  • Rooted Young Adult Fellowship @ 6:30pm, Fellowship Hall
  • University Ministry Bible Study @ 7:30pm, Conference Room

Wednesday, September 28th

  • Wednesday Hangouts, email Matthew for details
  • Young Adult Small Group @ 7pm, Room B5
  • University Ministry Large Group @ 8:40pm, Fellowship Hall

Thursday, September 29th

  • University 1st & 2nd Year Bible Study @ 7pm, Room B5
  • Young Adult Small Group @ 7:00pm, Room B6
  • Chatham Christian Fellowship @ 7:00pm, Campbell Memorial Chapel

Saturday, October 1st

  • Young Families Small Group @ 9:30am, email Greg for details
  • Women's Small Group @ 10:30am, Conference Room

Sunday, October 2nd - Communion Sunday

  • Classic Worship Service @ 8:30am, Sanctuary
  • Sunday School @ 9:45am, Fellowship Hall
  • Modern Worship Service @ 11am, Sanctuary
  • Modern Worship Online, Livestream @ 11am
  • Relaxed Worship Service @ 5pm, Fellowship Hall

To watch our worship service online after Sunday morning, head over to our YouTube page, click Videos and then Past Live Videos. On Monday mornings you can find the recorded live stream on the front page of our YouTube channel.

Upcoming Events

Quilting Event

Saturday October 8th 10am-2pm

We are resuming our baby quilting ministry! Bring your own lunch and stay as long or short of time as suits your schedule. All sewing skills are welcome. If you don't sew, you can iron, cut fabric, coordinate colors for a quilt or just come and meet new friends. All materials are provided. This ministry provides quilts for new babies in the Bellefield community as well as for those in Guatemala.

No need to RSVP. 

New Members Class.png

New Members Class

October 9th, 23rd, 30th 9:45am

Join Pastors Josh and Greg in learning more about what it means to become a member of our community. Learn what it means to be Presbyterian and ways of joining in the ministry that God is doing at Bellefield.

Email to RSVP

Church Picnic

Volunteers Needed

October 9, 12:30pm

Our annual church picnic on Sci-Tech's lawn will be the second weekend in October! This catered picnic is a great chance to catch up with friends and meet new Bellefielders. 

Connections Team is looking for volunteers to help make the Church Picnic comfortable, welcoming and fun. Check out our sign up and find a way that you would like to serve!


Meals for Wagoner Family

Please consider providing a meal for a family in need. The Wagoner family are long time members who are dealing with many health challenges at this time.

You can sign up here.


If you'd like to volunteer with our youth group or Wednesday Hang Out outreach, we'd love your help!

Email Matthew Jones, our Youth Leader, for more information about how to serve.

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About Realm
COVID-19 Guidelines

Over the past two years, our elders and leadership have made it our practice to promote the local CDC guidelines for mitigation strategies. Here are the current recommendations:

  • The CDC COVID-19 Community Level for Allegheny County is currently LOW.
  • Those who are sick or may have recent exposure are encouraged to remain at home and participate in our online options when available. 
  • Please be mindful of your interactions with vulnerable populations.
  • We will maintain a fully masked section in the sanctuary for any who choose to sit there.
  • If after attending an onsite event you test positive for COVID, we encourage you to let the group leader know so they can inform those who may be impacted.

Thank you for helping us to care for one another!

You can read our COVID-19 facilities guidelines here

Bellefield Presbyterian Church | 4001 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 | 412-687-3222
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