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A place for the spirit, a place for community, a place for the arts,
a place to begin your life's journey, a place where all of God's
children are welcome, a place for you.

Monthly Newsletter
January 2015
There will only be one newsletter distributed for January. There will not be a mini-newsletter following this one later in the month.

Epiphany Sunday Service

On Sunday, January 6th, Calvary celebrated Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. Our very own three kings gave the children and congregation gifts of gold... well... chocolate in gold wrappers :)

Photos - Yvonne Hudson

Children's Christmas Party

Photos - Jaime Hartz
2015 Church Directory

The 2015 Calvary UMC Church Directory will be available at the end of January. We only ask that a $5.00 donation be given for each book. An announcement will be made once the directories are available for pickup. Please contact Karen Ferguson for further details or with any questions. She can be reached on her cell at 724.448.1429 or by email at

News & Announcements

Used T-Shirts Needed at Martin Luther King School
Our neighbors at Martin Luther King School have asked us to collect used t-shirts that can be used when students come wearing inappropriate clothing. Having a supply of t-shirts will mean that the students will not be sent home, but will be able to continue with their classes.

Ugly Quilt Project (Sleeping Bags) - A Message from the Missions Committee
The sleeping bag project will continue sometime this Winter, and will meet at Calvary instead of New Hope UMC. We haven't decided when we will be meeting; we will let you know!

Hospitality Opportunity - Greeters & Ushers
A Message from Kenny Elliott

Being an usher is one of the most important ministries at Calvary. You are the first friendly face that greets visitors and members Sunday mornings. If you are an usher or interested in becoming an usher, please let me know your schedule for the rest of the year (724.747.7467). If you have work or travel schedules that keep you away on many Sundays or don't know your schedule until a week or two ahead of time, you can still usher. I will be glad to fit you in as your schedule permits or call on you if we need a substitute. And, if we have a number of ushers willing to serve, you may not have to serve more than once every month or two months. I am hoping to put together a schedule with alternating usher teams, and I’ll send that out for each quarter.

Current Usher Schedule
January 18th:  Dave & Lynn Sevick
January 25th:  Zeke & LaDadsia Thomas

Contact Kenny Elliott at 724-747-7467 or to sign up.

Visitor Welcome Table
If you would like to help out at a welcome table, call Kenny Elliott at 724.747.7467.

Feed the Sheep
Sponsors are needed for the months of February and March. If you would like to host a fellowship luncheon please see Doug Lucas or Mike Schnitgen. Two sponsors are needed per Sunday, $35.00 per sponsor.

The Daily Bread
Calvary Sponsors The Daily Bread at New Hope every 2nd Thursday of each and every month. If you are interested in helping physically or financially please let us know. It can be a group project or an individual donation of time; we are always looking for help. If you are interested in helping please call Audrey Jennings at 412.335.3559 or email her at

Calvary UMC Newsletter
The Calvary UMC Newsletter is distributed twice a month. The first, more detailed, newsletter is sent out at the beginning of each month. The second newsletter will contain only important Church News, the Church Calendar, and Prayer Requests. This second, abridged newsletter is sent out around the middle of each month. Print copies of the monthly newsletters are also available in the Chapel on the table near Rev. Larry’s office. If you have something that you would like to be highlighted or printed in an upcoming newsletter please see Karen Ferguson or email her at

Small Groups


Holy Book Club
Sunday Mornings at 9:30am
Location: Calvary UMC Parlor
This Fall, two of the included books will be (1) "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow, and (2) "The Seed" by Jon Gordon.

Worship Team - Praise Band
Sunday Mornings at 9:30am
Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
The Praise Band presents two songs to open each worship service. All songs are chosen to encourage congregational singing and participation. Some tunes are based on well-known hymns with a contemporary twist, while others are original tunes by contemporary Christian artists. See Brian Burns or Karen Ferguson for more details or if you are interested in joining the Worship Team.

Prayer Circle
Sunday Mornings from 10:15-10:45am
Location: Church Union Office (Next to Rev. Larry's Office)
See Ellie Laws for more details.

Alcoholics Anonymous
Sunday Nights from 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Gamblers Anonymous
Every 2nd Monday of the Month from 7:00-9:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Renewal Choir
Tuesday Nights from 6:15-7:15pm

Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
The Renewal Choir sings traditional anthems on Sunday mornings as well as supporting Calvary special events and observances. The group presents a wide variety of musical styles from September through May. Choir members actively participate in worship and may be found assisting during such times as Communion, Advent and special services. See Brian Burns for more details or if you are interested in joining.


Women's Bible Study
Wednesday Mornings at 10:00am

Location: Calvary UMC Parlor
Calvary Women Come Together! Please join us as we share the stories of twelve special women as we study "Extraordinary Women of the Bible".

Adult Bible Study
Wednesday Nights at 6:15pm

Location: Calvary UMC Parlor

Iron City Square Dancing
Wednesday Nights from 7:00-9:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Women's Bible Study
Thursday Evenings at 7:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Parlor
Calvary Women Come Together! Please join us as we share the stories of twelve special women as we study "Extraordinary Women of the Bible".

Narcotics Anonymous
Thursday Nights from 7:00-9:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall

Prayer Requests

A Warm Welcome to New Members
  • Ramona Beasley
  • John Headley
  • Thomas McDermott
  • Denene Florence
  • Michael Schellhaus
  • Glenn and Kelly Rieger
  • Naomi George

  • Mike & Sarah on the birth of their son, Montgomery Davis Nemer, born December 31, 2014. Grandparents, Rev. Larry and Ellen Homitsky.

Prayers for This Week
  • Emilie, 14 year old girl suffering from depression and emotional problems
  • Martha Helmreich in the loss of her sister
  • Nancy Davey was in the hospital this week
  • Moira and Andrew Brennen, their baby is due at the end of January, and continued prayers for Moira's father, Bruce Ernst

Continued Prayers
  • Mildred Blackburn and her family in the loss of her daughter, Joyce Baskin, on Thanksgiving Day
  • Joan Sturtz's granddaughter, Emma
  • Christine Thomas and family for health concerns, and her daughter, Nan, and her niece, Lynn, who were in a car accident
  • Shirley Mehring's sister, Barbara, continues to improve after brain surgery
  • Adam Balogh, age 27years - Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • A word of thanks from the Clark Family - Renny’s nephew, Greg, is recovering at home
  • Linda’s sister, Patty - cancer
  • Robert Brown Baldwin, Rehab Room 112
  • Melvin Branch - not doing well, health
  • Carmen and family in the loss of brother
  • Thanks from Allentown for workers for repair
  • Jason, Beth Ann, and others suffering from some form of addictions
  • Prayers for Ida’s daughter - cancer
  • Marci Deutsch - rehab and recovery
  • Donna and son, Mark, health concerns
  • Rose B. - injury from fall
  • Michael Snell - problems with his kidneys, heart, prostate
  • Prayers for Ralph Gravante
  • Prayers for Dennis Joseph Huber
  • Jim Cox - health concerns and cancer
  • Dwayne Rife - internal bleeding
  • Truddie Burke who is in Manor Care in Oakland
  • Ron - discerning health concerns
  • Daores Skena - health concerns
  • Patty Brown - health and COPD concerns
  • Zeek Thomas's brother, Charlie - COPD health
  • Kenny Branch - health and heart
  • Missionaries Steve and Gail Quigg - aviation mission to Africa
  • Tina Whitehead - missionary in Jerusalem
  • Family and Friends of Calvary UMC
  • Remember Light of Life in your prayers
  • Military Personnel and their Families
  • Protection for Firefighters and Police Officers
  • Shooting Violence and the families that have lost loved ones

Prayers for the World Community
  • World Leaders/President/Congress
  • Places of conflict around the world
  • Families of those in service to our country
  • Homeless, hungry, and those in need of jobs

Let us know how we can pray for you. Please contact Rev. Ellie Laws by emailing the Calvary UMC church office at or by calling 412.231.2007.

History Tidbits

History of Santa Clause

Every December 24th millions of people are visited by a short, fat guy in a red suit. Where did he come from, why does he do it, and how does he accomplish this seemingly impossible task?

Santa Claus... Kris Kringle...Old Saint Nick... We see him on advertising posters, in parades, at departments stores...who is this guy and why does he have so many aliases? Well, the original St. Nicholas lived in southwestern Turkey in the 4th century. As the bishop of Myra he was credited with doing a number of miracles involving sailors and children. After his death this led him to become the patron saint of both groups as well as for unmarried girls. As a saint he was given his own "feast day" that was celebrated on December 6th.
At about the same time Nicholas lived, Pope Julius I decided to establish a date for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As the actual time of year for this event was unknown, the Pope decided to assign the holiday to December 25th. There had long been a pagan midwinter festival at this time of year and the Pope hoped to use the holiday to christianize the celebrations.

Eventually, Saint Nicholas's feast day also became associated with December 25th and his connection with Christmas was established. A tradition developed that he would supposedly visit homes on Christmas Eve and children would place nuts, apples, sweets and other items around the house to welcome him. As the reformation took a hold of much of Europe, however, the popularity of St. Nicholas dropped in most Protestant countries, with the exception of Holland where he was referred to as "Sinter Klaas." After this tradition came to the United States, "Sinter Klass" would eventually be corrupted to "Sancte Claus."
America's Santa

It's been said that Dutch settlers brought the tradition of Saint Nicholas to the North American city of New Amsterdam (which the British would later rename "New York"). However, research shows there's little evidence that Nicholas played much of a part in these early settlers' celebrations. It seems more likely that Saint Nicholas became an American tradition during a wave of interest in Dutch customs following the Revolutionary War. Washington Irving (of Sleepy Hollow fame) included him in a comic History of New York City written in 1809. John Pintard, founder of the New York Historical Society, took an especially keen interest in the legend and the Society hosted its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner in 1810. Artist Alexander Anderson was commissioned to draw an image of the Saint for the dinner. He was still shown as a religious figure, but now he was also clearly depositing gifts in children's stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry.
Saint Nicholas or "Sancte Claus," in a woodcut by Alexander Anderson done for the New York Historical Society.
Perhaps nothing has fixed the image of Santa Claus so firmly in the American mind as a poem entitled A Visit from St. Nicholas written by Clement Moore in 1822. Moore, a professor of biblical languages at New York's Episcopal Theological Seminary, drew upon Pintard's thinking about the early New Amsterdam traditions and added some elements from German and Norse legends. These stories held that a happy little elf-like man presided over midwinter pagan festivals. In the poem, Moore depicts the Saint as a tiny man with a sleigh drawn by eight miniature reindeer. They fly him from house to house and at each residence he comes down the chimney to fill stockings hung by the fireplace with gifts.

Moore had written the poem for the enjoyment of his own family, but in 1823 it was published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel. It became very popular and has been reprinted countless times under the more familiar title, The Night Before Christmas.

Where did Moore get the reindeer? The Saami people of northern Scandinavia and Finland often used reindeer to pull their sledges around and this found its way into the poem. Reindeer, which are much sturdier animals than North American deer,are well adapted to cold climates with their heavy fur coats and broad, flat hooves for walking on snow.
Norman Rockwell's 1921 cover for the magazine The Country Gentleman shows Santa with his modern red and white theme.
As time went by, more and more was added to the Santa Claus legend. Thomas Nast, a 19th century cartoonist, did a series of drawings for Harper's Weekly. Nash's vision of Santa had him living at the North Pole. Nash also gave him a workshop for building toys and a large book filled with the names of children who had been naughty or nice.

The 19th century Santa was often shown wearing outfits of different colors: purple, green and blue in addition to red. This slowly faded out so that by the beginning of the 20th century the standard image of Santa Claus was a man in a red suit trimmed with white. The Coca-Cola company has often been cited for cementing the image of Santa with the colors red and white through a series of popular advertisements in the 1940's depicting Saint Nick enjoying their product (Coca-Cola's company colors are red and white). However, Santa was already well associated with these colors by that time. American artist Norman Rockwell had done a number of paintings with Saint Nick wearing red and white including A Drum for Tommy which appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman in 1921. The truth is that by the time the Coke ads came out, Santa, in the public's mind, was already wearing only the modern version of his colors.

Church Calendar


Sunday Morning Worship
Sunday Mornings at 11:00am

Sunday School is offered for children. Fellowship with a light lunch follows worship every Sunday. Communion is held the first Sunday of each month. Everyone is welcome at Calvary's table.


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, January 22nd at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel

New Member Orientation Dinner
Tuesday, January 20th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel
Reverend Larry invites everyone interested in learning more about our congregation and its ministries to join him for a light dinner on January 20th. If you are seeking to join our family of faith please join us for this informal event. Please RSVP to the church office by calling 412.231.2007 or by emailing


Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 26th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, March 26th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, April 23rd at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, May 28th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, June 25th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, July 23rd at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Vacation Bible School
August 10th, 11th, 12th (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

Location: Calvary UMC

Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, August 27th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, September 24th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, October 22nd at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
To Be Determined

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
To Be Determined

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel
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