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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
November 2014
Photo - Chris Siewers Photography

Monthly Highlights

4th Annual Handel's Messiah Sing-Along Concert

All are invited to raise their voices together in a classic holiday choral work during the 4th Annual Messiah Sing-Along at Calvary United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 6th at 4:00pm. Calvary's Music Director Brian Burns will once again be conducting this year's concert along with David Bridge on the organ.

The performance is a community "sing-along," with professional soloists, an orchestra, and an amateur chorus. The annual concert started four years ago out of a desire to provide the Northside community with a sing-along rendition of Handel's most beloved work, "Messiah". The sing-along was founded on a principle of openness - everyone is welcome in the choir, and everyone is welcome in the performance. As an audience member you are not required to sing, but you are certainly invited to sing.

This holiday tradition now brings up to 400 people to Calvary UMC to sing selected choruses including the famous "Hallelujah Chorus". No audition is required to sing, just join the rehearsals listed below. Audience members are asked to bring 1-pound non-perishable food items for the pantry at Northside Common Ministries. Cookie reception with the artists follows in the Victorian Chapel. It's a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season, and we invite everyone to join and sing for the joy of it!

Ticket Prices
Tickets $12; Seniors & Students $8; Children 12 and under admitted at no charge.
Discounts for military service members and veterans. 

Call for Singers
A Message from Lynette Asson, Messiah Communications

Tiffany meets Handel! Join us for Pittsburgh's new holiday tradition!
Sing a choral masterpiece surrounded by Tiffany masterpieces at the magnificently restored Calvary United Methodist Church in historic Allegheny West. Since 2011, this concert has been practically a sell-out!
Singers are sought for the Festival Choir. All voice parts are needed. No auditions required! Choir members join the core ensemble – the Renewal Choir of Calvary United Methodist Church. (Choir positions are unpaid.)
Festival Choir Choruses:
And the Glory of the Lord
O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
For Unto Us a Child is Born
Glory to God
Hallelujah Chorus
Email to confirm your participation and with any questions to You will then receive a complete information packet.
Anna Singer, Soprano
Mary Beth Sederburg, Alto
Christopher Quigley, Tenor
Baritone is To Be Announced
Read more about this historic venue:
Scores will be on sale at rehearsals. Scores are also on sale at:

Rehearsal Schedule
Attendance is not required weekly, but is required at the rehearsals listed as such below.
  1. Tuesday, October 14th:  7:00-8:00pm
  2. Tuesday, October 21st:  7:00-8:00pm
  3. Tuesday, October 28th:  7:00-8:00pm
  4. Tuesday, November 4th: 7:00-8:00pm
  5. Tuesday, November 11th:  7:00-8:00pm
  6. Tuesday, November 18th:  7:00-8:30pm (REQUIRED – This is a choir run-through)
  7. Tuesday, November 25th:  7:00-8:00pm
  8. Tuesday, December 2nd:  7:00-8:00pm
  9. Friday, December 5th:  7:00-9:00pm (REQUIRED - Dress rehearsal with soloists and orchestra)
  10. Saturday, December 6th:  1:30pm (Choir warm-up and run-through)
  11. Saturday, December 6th:  2:00pm (Soloists and orchestra added for warm-up and run-through)
  12. Saturday, December 6th:  4:00pm (Showtime!)
Family Fall Festival

A Family Night sponsored by the Children and Youth Committee will be held on Friday, November 14th, from 6:00-8:00pm. Children of all ages and their families are welcome to come for an evening of food, fun, and activities! Please contact Christina Kautchich with any questions by emailing the Calvary UMC church office at or by calling 724.231.2007.
Bake Sale for Calvary Children & Youth Christmas Party

Calvary’s Children and Youth Committee will be sponsoring two bake sales after our morning worship service on Sunday, November 16th and Sunday, December 7th. Hopefully, this will be a winning recipe to raise cash for our Christmas Party and for you to bring home a dessert for dinner or a snack for school lunches. 
To be successful in this effort, we need to recruit the Calvary congregation for bakers to donate their favorite bake good(s) which are not readily perishable. Suggested bake sale items are cookies, bar cookies, brownies, breads, muffins, rolls, cakes, fruit pies (please no cream-filled or custard-type pies), candies, fudge, sweet and salty snacks, jar mixes, store bought bake goods, etc. If you need a recipe idea, listed below are some websites.
Please help us in making a memorable Christmas Party for Calvary’s children and youth!

Please return the below registration form by mail or drop it off at the church (see mailing address and office hours below). If you are unable to print the registration form below (right click on the registration form picture, choose "Save picture as..." from the drop-down menu, then print the saved picture), there are also copies at Calvary in the chapel on the table next to Rev. Larry Homitsky's office. If you are unable to get this form to church by either mail or dropping it off, please email the requested information to Susan Laczko. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Laczko by email at or by calling 412.655.1320.

Mailing Address & Office Hours
Calvary United Methodist Church
971 Beech Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
Office Phone: 412.231.2007
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00am-3:00pm
Volunteers Needed for the Victorian House Tour

The Allegheny West Christmas Victorian House Tour is scheduled for the weekend of Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th. Calvary is the starting point for the tour, and we are in need of volunteers to help out in the kitchen with food preparation, in the chapel selling food at the "Calvary Cafe", and in the sanctuary handing out postcards for Christmas Eve. As always, it a great opportunity for fellowship with other members of Calvary, and also acquainting the tour visitors with Calvary. 
Friday, December 12th
First help is needed at 2:00pm for the Kitchen and 3:00pm for the Cafe. Help will be needed until approximately 8:30-9:00pm.

Saturday, December 13th
First help is needed at 8:00am for the Kitchen and 9:00am for the Cafe. Help will be needed until approximately 8:30-9:00pm.

A sign-up sheet will be passed around Calvary during fellowship time each Sunday beginning November 9th so that volunteers can sign up for blocks of time to help. You can sign up for any amount of time from one hour to as long as you would like to help. Doug Lucas will be the main contact for the Kitchen, and Brian Burns and Karen Ferguson will be the contacts for the Cafe. Please contact Karen Ferguson if you are interested in volunteering but will not have access to the sign-up sheet between now and the house tour. You can also call her at 724.448.1429 or email her at with any questions.
Mission and Vision Statements for Calvary United Methodist Church

Over the past several months, the leadership of Calvary has been undergoing the process of creating two statements to describe who we are as a church. One is a mission statement, and one is a vision statement. The difference between these is that a mission statement is very practical in its scope. It focuses on what we will accomplish and how we will do it. A vision statement is designed to be more abstract. It focuses on the personality of our church and how God sees our neighborhood church fitting into the larger context of the Methodist church.

The biggest challenge was to build a mission statement that summarized in only 2-3 sentences who we are today. This mission statement would then serve to remind us who we are. For brochures, web and electronic communications, Sunday bulletins, and anywhere else, this mission statement would help to define us to God's world.

The vision of our church is what we would strive to become. There is a sense of future and being pulled to a new place. It needs to be challenging and a bit of a stretch from the current reality. It is inspired by God and is calling for the church to help fulfill God’s dream for our congregation.

In conclusion, we ask that you review the mission and vision statements, located below, that have been written for Calvary. If you have any comments on either of these statements we encourage you to speak with any member of Church Council.

Calvary’s Mission Statement
Calvary United Methodist Church is a historic church whose diverse people are guided by God to serve the community with acceptance, care, and love for all.

Calvary’s Vision Statement
We will grow our family of faith to embrace all people. We will develop ministries that nurture and encourage disciples of Jesus Christ to discover and use their spiritual gifts on a journey of faith to serve the world.

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 in appropriate clothing. Having a supply of shirts will mean that the students will not be sent home, but will be able to continue with their classes.

Missionary, Tina Whitehead, Welcomed to Calvary on Sunday, October 12th
On Sunday, October 12th, Calvary welcomed Tina Whitehead who is one of our dedicated Western PA United Methodist Missionaries. Her present assignment is working with the people of Palestine in and around Jerusalem, residing between both the Pittsburgh and Jerusalem areas. During her extensive career Tina has served as: Operation Sunday School Staff, General and Jurisdictional Delegate, plus every known position in both the local church and district levels. Tina's late husband, Tom Whitehead, was a dedicated United Methodist Pastor whom she worked side-by-side with for over 20 years. Tina has two daughters and continues a very active role in our conference and beyond. It was a pleasure having her at Sunday Morning Worship and hearing her story.

Manchester Reading Program
This Fall we celebrate the 5th year of the Book Club at Manchester Elementary School. The Fall Session will run from October 6th to December 5th. If you are available to read with a student in grades 1 thru 4, and want to take part in this meaningful outreach, please contact Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk at 412.926.0498 or

Ugly Quilt Project (Sleeping Bags) - A Message from the Missions Committee

The sleeping bag project will continue sometime this Fall, 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
November 2nd:  Bob & Marlis Kiser
November 9th:  Dave & Lynn Sevick
November 16th:  Need Help
November 23rd:  Need Help
November 30th:  Need Help
(Weekend of Thanksgiving)

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

A Message from the Hospitality Committee - 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 November and December. If you would like to host a fellowship luncheon please see Doug Lucas, Clayton Harris, or Mike Schnitgen. Two sponsors are needed per Sunday, $35.00 per sponsor.

Steeler Sundays 
On Steeler afternoon game day Sundays, Calvary provides valet parking and directions to the lot at Brother's Brother Foundation on the 1200 block of Galveston Avenue. Look for the volunteer on Allegheny in front of Calvary for instructions.

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
Over the 4 week period from October 22nd thru November 12th, Denny Hunt will be with us to share his extensive knowledge of dreams and their meanings. Several members of the group go out for a light meal afterwards.

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

Historical Tidbits

Tiffany Studios
Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City on February 18, 1848, to Harriet Olivia Young and Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co. Rather than joining the family business, Tiffany began his career as a painter, studying at the National Academy of Design from 1866–67 and, in the following year, with the French painter LéonCharles Adrien Bailly in Paris. He traveled throughout Europe and North Africa, sketching the exotic landscapes and architecture and translating them into early oils and watercolors.

Tiffany’s next major venture was as a prominent decorator in Gilded Age New York. In 1881 he merged several interior design partnerships to create Louis C. Tiffany and Company, Associated Artists, which would decorate the Veteran’s Room of the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York that year, and the Red Room of the White House the next.
Workers in the Tiffany Lamp Department, c. 1898.
Photograph from Cosmopolitan, 1899.
Tiffany Studios

Tiffany was the president and art director, the primary figure driving all production—artistically and technically. Tiffany, of course, was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812–1902), founder of the successful and influential jewelry firm, Tiffany & Co. Louis Tiffany advanced his reputation by his own name and his father’s. Tiffany once reportedly stated: “Go after the money there is in art, but the art will be there just the same.”

These words are the sentiment of an artist who created a marketing machine, but who in the end allowed the artistic side to rule. Louis Tiffany’s financial backers, mainly his father, were called upon time and again to keep his companies solvent. His familial ties facilitated prominence at international expositions—a decided advantage for a young artist with big ambitions. His firms always exhibited aside Tiffany & Co. Louis Tiffany, therefore, was able to enhance the marketability of his own wares by capitalizing on the Tiffany name established by his father.

Louis Tiffany’s studio system was not a simple enterprise; he needed specialized workers to accomplish his goals. Under Tiffany’s watch, teams of talented designers and craftspeople translated his all-encompassing vision into the beautiful objects—blown-glass vases, leaded-glass windows and lamps, pottery, jewelry, and more—that captivated an era. He publicly credited a number of these individuals for their work.
Workers in the Tiffany Lamp Department, c. 1898.
Photograph from Cosmopolitan, 1899.
Neither Tiffany Studios nor the Tiffany companies preceding it were created to function as guilds where individual artists are equally recognized. They were designed in the historic tradition of studios that produced works under the name of an established artist. Providing a portrait of Tiffany’s career, including his companies, is complicated. Scholars rely on surviving business records and personal accounts of individual employees to glean facts and insights. The discovery in the early 2000s of a trove of letters written by Clara Driscoll, a talented designer who supervised the Women’s Glass Cutting Department for Tiffany, has provided invaluable new information about aspects of production at Tiffany Studios. Still, one employee cannot tell the whole story.

Tiffany created his studios under a specific design theory—one based on his own ideals but under which he encouraged designers to interpret creatively. In addition to his supervision, evidenced in signatures on designs and personal accounts of his visits out to the glasshouse in Corona, New York, he maintained a design file to provide inspiration for the designers. The files included photographs of works created early in his career, of historic monuments of personal interest to Tiffany, and of sights and objects from his travels. With these measures in place, Tiffany secured the unity and quality of overall production of his companies.

Source: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

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.


Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, November 2nd

Location: Calvary UMC
The Humane Society will be joining us again this year during their walk to fight canine cancer. Please bring your animal family members to be blessed as well!

Fall Festival Family Night
Friday, November 14th from 6:00-8:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC
A Family Night sponsored by the Children and Youth Committee will be held on Friday, November, 14th, from 6:00-8:00pm. More information to follow soon. For questions, please contact Christina Kautchick.

Bake Sale
Sunday, November 16th

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall
Calvary's Children and Youth Committee will be conducting two bake sales in which all proceeds will go towards the Children's Christmas Party. The bake sales will be held immediately after church in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, November 16th and Sunday, December 7th. Donations of baked goods will be appreciated. More information to follow. Please contact Susan Laczko with any questions.

Combined Church Council & Committee Meeting
November's Committee Meeting falls on Thanksgiving. This meeting has been moved up one week to November 20th. Also, October's Church Council meeting was cancelled and rescheduled to this date as well. It will be a combined meeting.
Thursday, November 20th at 6:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Handel's Messiah Sing-Along Concert
Saturday, December 6th at 4:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary

Bake Sale
Sunday, December 7th

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall
Calvary's Children and Youth Committee will be conducting two bake sales in which all proceeds will go towards the Children's Christmas Party. The bake sales will be held immediately after church in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, November 16th and Sunday, December 7th. Donations of baked goods will be appreciated. More information to follow. Please contact Susan Laczko with any questions.

Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting - Cancelled
December's meeting falls on Christmas.  This meeting is cancelled.

Candlelight Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 24th

Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
7:00pm: Music
7:30pm: Service

January 2015

Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, January 22nd at 6:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Chapel

February 2015

Bi-Monthly Church Council Meeting
Thursday, February 26th at 6:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Chapel

March 2015

Bi-Monthly Committee Meeting
Thursday, March 26th at 6:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Chapel

Prayer Requests

  • Moira Brennen in the loss of her mother.
Continued Prayers
  • Pam Geary and her family - Pam's cancer has been in remission, she is now undergoing treatment
  • Nancy Davey had hip surgery on October 17th, 2014
  • Barbara Mehring, sister of Shirley Mehring, continues to improve after brain surgery
  • Adam Balog, 27 years old, is dealing with Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • Robert Brown at Baldwin Nursing and Rehab Room 112
  • Clark Family - Linda's younger sister, Patty, is fighting a recurrence of cancer; Renny's nephew, Greg (43 years old), has suffered a significant stroke
  • Aleata's cousin, Mindy - pneumonia and recovering from surgery
  • Drucilla Milner in the loss of her brother
  • Melvin Branch - Not doing well, health
  • Prayers for Ida's daughter - Cancer
  • Marci Deutsch - In rehab and recovery
  • Cindy in the loss of her mother
  • Daores Skena - Health concerns
  • Bruce Earnst, Moira Brennen's father - Health concerns
  • Christine Thomas's cousin - Health concerns
  • Michael Snell - Kidneys, heart, and prostate
  • Prayers for Ralph Gravante
  • Mildred Blackburn's daughter, Joyce, is home and doing better
  • Dennis Joseph Huber
  • Jim Cox - Health concerns and cancer
  • Dwayne Rift - Internal bleeding
  • Jason, Beth Ann, and others suffering from some form of addiction
  • Truddie Burke who is at Manor Care in Oakland
  • Ron - Discerning health concerns
  • Julie - Health concerns
  • Ron - Health concerns
  • Richie Family - Health / Heart
  • Janet - Back pain and surgery
  • Patty Brown - Health / COPD Concerns
  • Zeek Thomas's brother
  • Kenny Branch - Health / Heart
  • Sunday, October 12th, was Laity Sunday. Pray for all Calvary UMC Leaders and our mission and ministry.
  • Mission and Ministries of Calvary UMC
  • Family and friends of Calvary UMC

Prayers for the World Community
  • United Methodist Missionaries
  • World Leaders / President / Congress
  • Places of conflict around the world
  • Families of those in service to our country
  • Shooting Violence and the families that have lost loved ones
  • Children/Families and School Personnel
  • Remember Light of Life in your prayers
  • Pray for the protection of firefighters and police officers
  • Homeless and the hungry
  • 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 724.231.2007.
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