Weekly Update
February 19, 2021
"Living Cross" by Sarah Hall from "Art in the Christian Tradition."
Used by permission: diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu
Worship
Scripture Lesson: Mark 8:27-33
Online and Call-In Services
Our weekly service is livestreamed at 8:30AM on Sunday. It can be viewed via our app, website, Facebook, or YouTube.
During the 15 minute pre-service time, log on to enjoy recordings by the Wesleyan Choir, Chapel Ringers, and Women's Ensemble.
Starting this week, our call-in devotional service will be offered at 11:30AM (or anytime after). Call 412-485-0213.
In-Person Services
Please click here to register for the following services:
 
6:00PM Saturday Worship in Wesley Hall [20 people]
Pastor Jeff preaching
 
8:30AM Sanctuary Worship [40 people, also livestreamed]
Pastor Jeff preaching
 
10:30AM Sanctuary Worship [40 people]
Pastor Karen preaching
 
11:15AM Outdoor Prayer Circle Worship
Pastor Chad will offer brief message and lead circle time, activity will be available for children

All in-person services require registration to attend. Masks/face coverings and social distancing guidelines are to be followed. Our medical advisory team is recommending the “double-masking” you have seen promoted recently in the news, in response to more infectious COVID variants. Please stay home if you are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Please do not enter the church building more than ten minutes before the service for which you are registered, and do not congregate with other attendees. Exit the building as soon as possible after your service ends. Please use either the center doors into the sanctuary, or the sanctuary door toward the main parking lot; avoid the door near the tech booth. Thank you for your efforts to keep our experiences as safe as possible!
Lent 2021: The Journey to Jerusalem
In the very middle of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” We still hear Jesus asking this question in our hearts today and in the everyday challenges we face, “Who do YOU say that I am?” We will “journey with Jesus” and his disciples on the road to Jerusalem, and on the road to discovering answers in our personal journeys, during our Lenten worship experience this year. In novel fashion, we will do so through the scriptures in Mark’s gospel.
 
All are encouraged to create Lenten prayer stations that will become table centerpieces in your homes. These focal points will not only center your hearts, but serve as tools to enhance your worship experiences while connecting us to one another as we prepare for Easter. Be creative while using the following items: an empty vase to remind us of the beauty that will come, a candle to represent the Light of Christ, a cross to serve as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, a bible to use for daily readings, a rock as a symbol of the tomb, and something that reminds you of our Lenten journey. We invite you to email us a picture of your centerpiece so that we may share with one another.

Thank you to all who braved the weather to bring dirt to the church this week! If you were unable to tune in, please click here to view our Ash Wednesday service.
Lenten Calendar

One of the ways doctors can help someone who is sick get better is by giving them the right medicine. When the first team of volunteers visited Nyadire Hospital, the pharmacy shelves were empty. The hospital was also out of exam gloves and sutures for surgeries. It was even hard to keep a doctor on staff because of the remote location. TNC hunted for ways to procure these drugs and other supplies as soon as the team returned to Pittsburgh. Fortunately, one of the early shipments of pharmaceuticals to the hospital included drugs to fight cholera, equipping the community with the desperately needed medicine and hydration kits in time save lives during a cholera outbreak in 2009. A pharmacist at Nyadire carefully tracks medicine use and reports to a volunteer in Pittsburgh who helps place medicine orders. TNC spends about $12,000 annually on medicine. Click the weekly calendar links above for more information!

As our hearts and prayers are with our friends in Zimbabwe, enjoy listening to this uplifting song, "The Blessing Zimbabwe."
This Week
It's been a great week for the Souper Bowl Challenge. More than 200 cans of soup were donated this week! Any can donated this weekend will count for 2 points toward your team's total! Let's finish strong during our final week! Click here for the current score, and for some amazing inspiration from our community.
Is Human Trafficking Happening in My Community?
When people first learn about human trafficking, they often think that it must be happening “over there” – in another country, state, or city. They don’t often think it could be happening in their community. But human trafficking is occurring everywhere, in urban cities and rural communities in every state. It is pervasive, and it is important to know what to look for, so that it can be identified, reported, and prevented from ever happening in the first place. We want to prevent it from happening to someone you love or know.

St. Paul’s Working for Justice ministry invites you to attend a special event for our congregation and our neighbors. This virtual event will feature two speakers: Ms. Sherrill Rudy of Living in Liberty and Sister Jeannette Bussen of the Beaver County Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. Event details are as follows:

  • Subject: Human Trafficking in our Community and Youth Prevention
  • Date: Thursday February 25, 7:00PM (via Zoom)
  • An Explanation of Human Trafficking: Sister Jeannette Bussen
  • Video and Youth Prevention Tips: Sherrill Rudy
  • Breakout rooms for Q&A and discussion with the speakers

Please contact the church office to register. Registrants have been emailed a Zoom link, so please let us know if you did not receive it. Please share this information; tell a parent, invite a friend, tell a grandparent, we must all be vigilant. A follow-up in person event specifically prepared for young people is being planned for when in person meetings are again possible.
February is Black History Month
Each week during the month of February, Working for Justice Anti-Racism Pledge Group will provide information about programs, podcasts, websites, and books that will help you become acquainted with one or more historical Black figures that you may not know much about.
 
Explore the "1619 Project". There are articles, podcasts, and educational materials. Click here for the link to the New York Times "1619 Project." 
  
Participate in some way in the "28 Days of Caring" initiative launched by United Methodist Church Union and Warren UMC. "The United Methodist Church Union invites individuals and congregations to join in a journey of active love and support for the Warren United Methodist Church Faith Community. This historical black church in the Hill District is a beacon of hope in an ever changing community. Their heritage is rich, their future is bright." They provide a number of ways that people can help, including work days and financial support. 
Let Your Voice Be Heard - Focus Group Meetings
For the past year, a Strategic Planning and Implementation Ministry group (SPIM) has been meeting to analyze “where St. Paul’s is” as a church, to study our ministries and programs, and to begin to formulate a strategic plan. This plan will be designed specifically to help us accomplish our Vision, while keeping in clear focus our Purpose and Mission.
We would like to enlist the help of the entire congregation to give input to this planning process. The SPIM group will be conducting a series of Focus Groups via the Zoom platform to ask participants several questions about how they view St. Paul’s, its ministries, and how we are moving towards our Vision. These group meetings are open to any member who may wish to attend. Two dates have been selected: March 3 at 7:00PM, and March 21 at 3:00PM. More sessions will be added as needed. Each session will last no more than 90 minutes. Members of Church Council will attend a focus group at their regularly scheduled March meeting.

Please contact the church office to register for the time the best suits you. Please also contact the office if you wish to participate, but neither of these dates works for you, since other dates may be arranged. Your prayerful consideration of this invitation is greatly appreciated.
March Mad Dash
The 11th annual March Mad Dash (MMD) is scheduled for Saturday, March 27, 2021! Circumstances have led us to contract with a race management company, CGXC, to handle the race details and registration this year. They will bear the risks and returns of running the event, while St. Paul's Youth Ministries will receive support from donations made through the "donate" button on the event website, and from sponsorships. Everyone can help raise funds! Simply post the MMD website link on your social media and solicit sponsorships via the prepared sponsor request letter and sponsor levels form. No donation is too small!!  
Working for Justice Making a Difference in Our Community
The clean air subgroup (CAGO+10) of Working for Justice has been working in several local communities to help them improve their zoning ordinances and reduce the risks of fracking to residents. Please see the message below.
 
The President of McCandless Town Council posted this on her township Facebook page. It is much deserved recognition for our Mary Ann Love and everyone who provided assistance. Well done!
More information: Fracking, or unconventional oil and gas drilling, is a controversial topic. Some promote it for economic reasons and others fear the risks of leaks, accidents and impacts to the community. Children are often the most vulnerable. It is important that every Pennsylvanian understand that state law allows communities to take certain measures to protect the public. This is through proper zoning and associated regulations. Too many towns, and it is a very large number - including Allegheny County, have not availed themselves of these protections. Such inactions have contributed to some of the worst consequences. Contact Working for Justice if you would like to learn more.
Update from Pastor Jeff
Thanks to all who have helped pave the way to our cautious return to in-person worship this weekend! Join us for Saturday 6:00PM worship in Wesley Hall (limit: 20 persons), or Sunday morning at 8:30AM in the Sanctuary (limit: 40 persons), 10:30AM in the Sanctuary (limit: 40 persons), or for the Outdoor Prayer Circle at 11:15AM in the lot between NHCO and St. Paul’s. All services require pre-registration, social distancing, and masks. If all goes well, we will be resuming the Modern Service in the Fellowship Hall at 9:30AM on Sunday, March 7. When restarted, this service, too, will have a limit of 40 persons.

The 8:30AM service will be livestreamed, as well, for those of you who are still not comfortable going to public gatherings. We highly recommend those of you who are in the 65+ group, have pre-existing health conditions, or a compromised immune system to watch from home. And remember, even after you have received the “full dose” of COVID vaccine, you should still wear a mask and social distance, as the medical community still does not know whether vaccinated persons may still carry the virus to others. Dr. Anthony Fauci also has recommended that unless you have at least a three-layer cloth mask, you should consider double-masking.

Even with the restrictions, we are thrilled we are able to start in-person worship again! And since we are now operating under guidance from the PA Department of Health, we are able to host up to 10% of room capacity (40 persons in the sanctuary, for example). If COVID numbers continue to decrease, we may be able to increase our limit in the near future. If, however, COVID numbers increase (possibly due to the effects of a variant, for example), we may have to revert to virtual worship only, again. Pray this doesn’t have to happen!

We are still in shutdown mode concerning classes and small groups in the church building, as the 10% guideline would only allow 2 to 5 people in most of our classrooms. The church office remains closed to all but some staff, as needed. Pastors Karen, Chad, and I are available to you by phone and email, and are doing a lot of our work from home. Church staff members are available via our emails or by calling the main church telephone number, 412-486-7006.

God has been good to St. Paul’s throughout this crisis. We are not aware of a single case of COVID that was “picked up” through any contact at the church, and this includes during the continued operation of our Weekday Ministries of Preschool, Childcare, and Kidz Korner. Our “love your neighbor” cautions have been rewarded, we believe.

As we have begun the Lenten season, it is even more significant that we are able to begin to meet together, albeit with limits. The Leadership Team will be planning what Holy Week will look like, given the recent lifting of some restrictions.

Journey with us toward Jerusalem, as we follow this vital link in the ministry of Jesus! We’ll hear the stories, talk about the multitude of meanings in Jesus’ teachings, and hear of the joys and fears of his disciples. Stay safe and well, Dear Ones. Shalom!
Children's Ministries
Sawyer Rebholz Memorial Fund Family Project - Donate Today!
In recent years, St. Paul's children, youth, and adult ministries have been greatly affected by leukemia and lymphoma diagnoses. Sawyer Rebholz and Haylee Flory were both vibrant children and youth at St. Paul's who battled leukemia. The Rebholz brothers have recently been nominated as The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2021 Students of the Year. This great honor not only raises awareness, but also provides an opportunity to raise funds for research. Click here to read the Renholz's story, and support this seven-week fundraising competition of high school students from across the nation. The campaign runs through March 26.
Children's Ministry Update
Check out new opportunities to be in ministry! 

Each week, Erin hosts a Sunday Morning Zoom Lesson for all children. The lesson is also emailed to those who cannot attend. Please contact Erin if you would like to be added to her email list.
Youth Ministries
Spenser Flowers Memorial Scholarship
The Spenser Flowers Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships for traditional and non-traditional students to assist with expenses for college (undergrad or graduate), university or trade school to any youth member or youth who participates in St. Paul’s senior high youth activities (or has participated within the past 7 years). Applications for the 2021 scholarship are being accepted through February 28, 2021. Please click here here if you'd like to donate to the fund.
Adult Ministries
Upper Room
March-April Upper Room copies are now available. Stop by the Wesley Hall drop off area at your convenience.
Covid Vaccine Information
We recognize how frustrating the quest to set up a covid vaccine appointment can be. Our Community Support Team continues to seek to provide information about how to find vaccine appointments. We hope that you find the following helpful in finding information:

  • Call PA Link for Vaccine Appointment Assistance by Phone: 1-800-753-8827
  • PA Link provides assistance to seniors and the disabled and is taking calls from those without access to a computer. Operators will assess the caller’s situation, offer guidance, and transfer to a scheduling team. For callers with transportation needs, PA Link will also be able to contact partners with their local Area Agency on Aging to assist with coordinating rides. 
  • AHN is scheduling vaccine appointments for seniors 75 and older. Call 412-687-7348 for an appointment. We’ve been advised that sometimes it is a long wait on the phone, but several in our community have obtained appointments, so hang in there!
  • Additional resources: State or call 1-877-724-3258, County, Vaccinate PA

Would you like to receive a timely text when the Community Support Team finds new information about potential vaccine appointments/clinics? Please email Carla your cell phone number, and we will send you an invitation to receive text messages using the “Remind” system. (Please note that you must accept the invitation to be added to the system.) If you find information to share, please text Pastor Karen 412-889-2355. 
Pastoral Transition Team Looking for Volunteers
As you know, Pastor Jeff will be retiring in July and we will be receiving a new lead pastor. We are forming a transition team to plan for celebrating Pastor Jeff’s ministry and welcoming our new pastor. Would you be willing to bring your creativity and organizing skills to this team? We will hold our first meeting Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00PM by Zoom. Please contact Pastor Karen for details.
Stitching Together Fundraiser
Stitching Together’s January “keep busy during Covid project” was to make dishcloths, which we had intended to store until Mission Mall. Then we thought why not sell them now along with the scrubbies! The dishcloths are cotton yarn and least 9 inches. The following are available to order: a package of two scrubbies, a package of two dishcloths, and/or a package of one scrubbie and one dishcloth. Each package is $5.00.
We still have a supply of Pittsburgh sports team masks, and if you’re ☘️ Irish ☘️ in the month of March, we have St. Patrick’s Day masks for your “wearing of the green”. Masks are $5.00 each.

Please click here to order. Deliveries will be made on Wednesday by noon. You may pick your item up at your convenience throughout the week. The Stitching Together bin is located on the table to your left as you enter the church vestibule.
Pastor Karen's Bible Study
Pastor Karen’s Bible Study takes place each Wednesday at 9:00AM. All are welcome! We are currently studying the book of Philippians. Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/96957206810
Pastor Jeff's Bible Study
Pastors Jeff and Chad will team up again for a New Testament/Hebrew Bible comparative Bible Study on the Wednesday of Lent, beginning February 24 at 9:00AM and 7:30PM, both on the Zoom platform. We will join the rest of St. Paul’s on a “Journey to Jerusalem,” but will be looking at some of the stories of Jesus on this journey that come from the gospels of Mathew, Luke, and John, as well as what parallels may exist to them in the Hebrew Bible (which we call the Old Testament). Here are the reading assignments:

2/24    Luke 7:11-17 and I Kings 17:17-24
           Jesus raises a widow’s son/Elijah raises a widow’s son

3/3      Matthew 14:13-21 and II Kings 4:1-7, 42-44
           Feeding the 5,000/Elisha and widow’s oil; Elisha feeds 100 men

3/10    Luke 17:11-19 and II Kings 5:1-18
           Healing 10 lepers/Healing of Naaman

3/17    Luke 19:28-40, Matthew 21:1-11 and Zechariah 9:9-10
           Triumphal Entry/Referenced prophecy

3/24    Matthew 21:12-13, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17 and Isaiah 56:6-8, Jeremiah 7:8-15
           Cleansing the Temple/Referenced prophecy

3/31    Luke 11:29-30, Luke 23:50-56 and Jonah 1:17
           Sign of Jonah, Burial of Jesus/Jonah in the fish for 3 days

9:00AM

7:30PM
NHCO Block Party To Go
Participate in a virtual fundraiser benefiting North Hills Community Outreach!

The annual Neighborhood Block Party will look a little different this year. Have fun at home with a Block Party To Go Party Bag and join NHCO for a great time while helping your neighbors in need.

Each bag includes at least one DIY pizza kit, wine, dessert, a game, and more! The Children’s bag includes a craft kit from Dots and Doodles, snacks, and more! You could be the lucky recipient of one of our bonus bags, which will include a gift card to a local restaurant or business!

North Hills Community Outreach will be hosting two days of Block Party To-Go pickups. Want something more lowkey? Pick up your bag on Friday, March 19. Want to party from the comfort of your car? Join us on Saturday, March 20, for a festive and fun drive through experience!

BONUS - The first 300 boxes will include a link to play Buzz Worthy Pub Trivia.

Purchase your Block Party To Go bag at NHCO.org/Block-Party

Thank you T-Mobile for presenting this event. Please contact Erica Cochran with questions.
Neighborhood Resilience Project
St. Paul’s continues to collect items in partnership with the Neighborhood Resilience Project

Coat Collection:
We are collecting winter coats, gently used are welcome, of all sizes, to meet the immediate need for warmth.

Trauma Teddies:
We are collecting new, small stuffed animals to be given to comfort children who have witnessed violence.

Please place donations in receptacles in the Wesley Hall vestibule, and we will quickly get them to our neighbors.
We appreciate your continued financial support during this time of challenge and hardship. Giving may still be done online. For those of you who typically place your gifts in the offering plate, please consider mailing them to the church office (1965 Ferguson Road, Allison Park 15101), as our financial staff are making sure these get deposited.

Have you found yourself shopping online more often? Please register for Amazon Smile in the name of St. Paul's and use the UMC Market (Allison Park) as a portal for all your online shopping. St. Paul's receives a small percentage from your purchases at no extra cost to you!