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

Monthly Newsletter

August 2014


Vacation Bible School
Calvary UMC Invites You To... "Pack Up With Jesus"
August 11th, 12th, & 13th (Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday) from 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Come join in the fun while we learn about the travels of Jesus! The children will get to participate in related crafts along with physical and musical activities. They will also see plays and hear music about the stories as well. The indications of VBS are already appearing at Calvary... if you have been at Calvary within the last week you would have seen that an enormous tent has been erected in the Chapel!

The following three stories from the Book of John will be featured:
  • Woman at the Well  (John 4:4-15)
  • Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind  (John 9:1-8)
  • Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand  (John 6:1-15)

Woman at the Well  (John 4:4-15)
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind  (John 9:1-8)
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand  (John 6:1-15)
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Additional Details
  • Registration is free.
  • Children ages 3-12 are welcome to attend.
  • A free backpack will be awarded for perfect attendance.
  • Free school supplies will be awarded daily.
  • A light dinner will be served each night from 5:30-6:00pm.
  • Parents are welcome to join in an optional bible study.

What Is Still Needed to Make VBS at Calvary a Success?

In order for this year's Vacation Bible School to be a complete success, we are still in need of a few items:

Volunteers:  Yes, we need you! If you have time available and are able to help out in any way we will welcome you with open arms! A record number of children have already registered so we will need all the help we can get. There is a need for volunteers to help serve dinner, clean up, walk the children from one station to another, etc, and also to help Moira Brennen with preparation for the craft projects. I hear the "Exploding Sidewalk Chalk" is sure to be an extreme hit!!! I know the adults that helped test out these chalk bombs were wildly entertained! You do not have to be available all three nights -any amount of time that you can give is appreciated. Please just let either Susan Laczko, Christina Kautchick, Moira Brennen, or Karen Ferguson know that you can volunteer so that we can account for the times that you are available to help.

Donations of School Supplies:  We now have enough pencils and tablets that have been donated, but any other school supplies are still needed.

Financial DonationsOf course, your donations are more than welcome. This will help us to purchase any unexpected or additional items that always seem to pop up the day before VBS begins.

Promoting VBS - Manchester Community Days

Several of Calvary's members attended Manchester Community Days to promote Vacation Bible School. Here are a few of the photos. Even though it was a rainy day they still made a presence. They set up a table and had help from Abi Webb, Ellie Law, Gerry Knight, and Christina Kautchick.
Help Our Neighborhood Children

Many of the children in our local schools lack the basic supplies that are needed for their
education. As we have in the past, Calvary wants to step up and fill the void, and their
backpacks. During the month of August the Mission Committee will be collecting backpacks
and school supplies for elementary age children. We need supplies for elementary students, such as:
  • Backpacks
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Loose-leaf Paper
  • Binders
  • Notebooks
  • Crayons
  • Glue Sticks
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Book Covers
  • Pencil Boxes
FYI — Five Below, located on McKnight Road, has school supplies including $5 back packs.

Bring them to church on any Sunday, or drop them at the church during the week. Financial contributions are welcome. Dave or Lynn Sevick will gladly accept your gifts, or you can drop a check in the offering, memo: School Supplies.

Thanks for supporting this outreach to our neighbors!

Calling All Calvary Choir Members!

Choir will be starting up again within the next few weeks. Yay!! Additional details from our Music Director, Brian Burns, will be coming soon. So be on the lookout for dates and times of upcoming practices in the next newsletter in the middle of August, or on Facebook, or in the Sunday bulletin. Even if you are not currently a member of the choir, please come and see what the Calvary Choir is all about. We are always looking for new members!

Can't wait to see you all and have a good sing and lots of fun!

News & Announcements

Hospitality Opportunity - Greeters & Ushers
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 summer (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.

- Kenny

Audio/Visual Volunteers Needed
Are you interested in learning how to operate the audio/visual systems here at Calvary? Are you interested in getting involved in the music program at Calvary but feel like you don't have the time? Come and learn how to operate the sound board to make sure our church services sound great, or learn how to run the projector for videos and slides for Praise Band. You can serve as little or as often as your schedule permits. Please see Brian Burns for more details.

Feed the Sheep
Sponsors are needed for the months of August and September. 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.

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 will be sent out at the beginning of each month. The second newsletter will contain only important Church News and the Church Calendar. This second, abridged, newsletter will be sent out around the middle of each month. 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
The Holy Book Club is currently on Summer Break, but will return in the Fall.
Sunday Mornings at 9:30am

Location: Calvary UMC Parlor

Praise Band
Sunday Mornings at 9:30am
Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
The Praise Team presents two or three contemporary 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. Guitar and piano accompany this group. See Brian Burns for more details or if you are interested in joining the Worship Team.

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

Alcoholics Anonymous
Sunday Nights from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Gamblers Anonymous
Every 2nd Monday of the Month from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Renewal Choir
Renewal Choir is currently on Summer Break, but will be starting up again very soon!
Tuesday Nights at 6:45pm

Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
The Renewal Choir sings traditional anthems on Sunday mornings as well as supporting Calvary special events and observances. The choir is open to anyone age 14 and up, no auditions required. 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.

Tuesday Crew - A Young Adults Gathering
Tuesday Crew is currently on Summer Break, but will return in the Fall.
Tuesday Nights from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Location: To Be Determined
For more information contact Kenny Elliott at 724.747.7467 or


Adult Bible Study
Adult Bible Study is currently on Summer Break, but will return in the Fall.
Wednesday Nights at 6:30pm

Location: Calvary UMC Parlor

Iron City Square Dancing
Wednesday Nights from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall


Narcotics Anonymous
Thursday Nights from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Calvary UMC Fellowship Hall

Historical Tidbits

The History of Vacation Bible School

Last summer, Newsweek ran a cover story on Americans' perceptions of heaven and hell. Finishing up the piece, the author quoted a 14-year-old vacation Bible school counselor that heaven is "whatever you dream it." It may be just one more case of bad journalism, but for a venerable tradition like VBS—established to teach children the Bible and to mature them as Christians—the quote couldn't have been more embarrassing. Buried in the article as it was, though, the quote seems to have attracted little attention.

Many of our readers won't need an introduction to VBS. But for those who do, vacation Bible schools are typically offered by churches once every summer, starting usually on a Monday and finishing up that Friday. They center around a single theme, involve kids in games and crafts, and—most importantly—seek to teach biblical truths. Christian youth are encouraged to invite their neighborhood friends who otherwise would never bother with church. In many communities, the week of summer fun is anticipated with rising excitement.

But, as one of our readers recently asked Christian History, how did VBS become so popular, and who was the inspiration behind it?

Unofficially, it's possible to trace the roots of VBS as far back as the 1870s, when the Methodist Episcopal Church offered summer Sunday school institutes to the general public near Lake Chautauqua, New York. In 1873, Bishop John H. Vincent proposed the movement should include educational and cultural programs, and soon other Christian groups across the country followed suit with their own summer retreats, many of them offering services for children.

Vacation Bible school as we know it today got its start more than 20 years later on New York City's East Side. Mrs. Walker Aylette Hawes of the Epiphany Baptist Church noted a rapid increase in the number of immigrant children in the slums. In July 1898 she rented the only place available—a saloon—to run a Bible school for six weeks during the summer. Hawes structured her program around worship music, Bible stories and Scripture memorization, games, crafts, drawing, cooking, etc. The school caught on: Hawes was presiding over seven separate schools by the time she retired from her work in 1901.

Dr. Robert Boville, who worked for the Baptist Mission Society, picked up where Hawes left off, and the movement grew to include 17 schools by 1903. Fours years later, schools opened in Philadelphia and Chicago, and in 1911, Boville established the Daily Vacation Bible School Association as a national organization. In 1923, he left to promote VBS internationally and founded the World Association of Vacation Bible Schools.

If Boville is responsible for establishing VBS as a movement, Standard Publishing in Cincinnati takes the credit for popularizing it. The publisher created a full-scale VBS program in 1923, divided it by grade level in 1948, introduced a single-theme concept in 1952, and by 1987, offered more than 120 tools for churches wanting to run a VBS. In 1998, the publisher reported that more than 5 million children attended VBS programs every year.

It's interesting to note that VBS is not only an American phenomenon. One of many worldwide examples is the VBS pioneered by the South India Bible Seminary. In 1952, the seminary's staff and students introduced VBS to 75 children in Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu. Four years later, seminary students designed their own course, and in 1961, over 33,000 students enrolled in 100 VBS centers across the country of India. Explosive growth continued through the 1970s, totaling 1,420,000 students by 1980. The Mar Thoma church became so enthusiastic it sponsored a missionary VBS venture into Kuwait in 1984, beginning with 750 students and 60 teachers.

In the 1970s, critics suggested the movement had exhausted its potential. History, it seems, is on the side of VBS.

This article first appeared in the June 1, 2003 issue of Christianity Today. Used by permission of Christianity Today, Carol Stream, IL 60188. Steven Gertz is editorial coordinator of Christian History.

The following pictures are from past Vacation Bible Schools from across the United States.

2014 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.


Calvary Vacation Bible School
"Pack Up With Jesus"
August 11th, 12th, and 13th (Monday thru Wednesday) from 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC
More information is located in the "Highlights" section above.

Church Council Meeting
Thursday, August 28th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Pittsburgh Parish Family Picnic
Sunday, September 14th

Location: Riverview Park Chapel Pavilion
This year's family picnic will be held at the Riverview Park Chapel Pavilion where it has been held in years past. Hotdogs, hamburgers, and drinks will be provided; so, start thinking about your favorite side dish or dessert to make, bring, and share. Lots of fun for everyone!! More details will be provided closer to the date of the picnic.

Committee Meeting
Thursday, September 25th at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


Church Council Meeting
Thursday, October 23rd at 6:00pm

Location: Calvary UMC Chapel


No Events Scheduled At This Time


Handel's Messiah Sing-Along Concert
Location: Calvary UMC Sanctuary
Details to be announced at a later date.

Candlelight Christmas Eve
Wednesday, December 24th

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

January 2015

Upcoming Mission Opportunity
WPA VIM Team For Bahamas

Week of January 4th thru 10th, 2015

Location: Bahamas
Team Leader: Stephanie Gottschalk
Host: Bahamas Methodist Habitat
Estimated Cost: $1400.00 ($100.00 deposit due by October 1st, 2014)
The team is open to all young adults, ages 18-36, in Western PA. The WPA VIM Team Application along with a $100.00 deposit are due by October 1st, 2014. Please contact the Calvary church office via email for an application if you are interested in attending.
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