Please explore and learn more about our many Ministries at Faith!
Kathy Christensen, Team Leader
The purpose of the outreach ministry is to inform the congregation of the work and needs of the Western Pennsylvania Evangelical Lutheran Synod and its outreach ministries including; Lutheran World Hunger, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Glade Run, and missionary support in Madagascar. In addition, the Outreach committee informs the congregation of the interdenominational needs in the Pittsburgh area, such as Camp Agape in Hickory, PA, Meals on Wheels in Bethel Park, the Foster Success Foundation, and the South Hills Inter Faith Ministries (SHIM) program. Periodically throughout the year the committee organizes and collects from the congregation boxes of canned food stuffs for the various soup kitchens and after school Kitchens; towels, wash cloths, soap and personnel care products for the homeless shelters; coats, backpacks and Christmas gifts for the after school programs and box tops for education. How you can help: Please clip out the UPC code on Campbell Soup labels and their related products including: Campbell, Campbell Chunky Soup, Campbell Healthy Request, Franco American, Pepperidge Farm, Spaghettios, Swanson, V8 Beverages, Fusion, Prego Italian Sauces, Campbell’s Foodservice. If necessary, instructions are located on the side of the box located in the narthex indicating the location of the UPC code.Bring non-perishable food donations for the food bank and place them in the box in the narthex for the South Hills Interfaith Ministry’s food pantry, which distributes to people in our own neighborhoods. This food will also be available to anyone in our congregation that has a need. Just talk with Pastor and your needs will be met confidentially. There are magnets available in the narthex to place on your refrigerator to use as a reminder. We thank you for your help and ask God’s blessing as we follow what Jesus tells us to “Go and feed the poor.”
Having a robust education program at Faith Lutheran is necessary for our children to grow in understanding and faith, but is also an indispensable part of engaging our adult congregation, as well as attracting new members and expanding our role in the community at large.
The Sunday School curriculum at Faith is built upon the fundamentals of Christianity, Lutheran theology and the application of core biblical principles. We serve to educate children beginning in preschool and continue their spiritual growth through high school. Our confirmation program guides the transition to adult membership, and our Vacation Bible School, hosted every summer, offers an opportunity for all children in the community to discover God’s word through song, games, crafts and Bible stories.
In addition, our Adult Sunday School Program gives our adult membership the opportunity for life-long learning.
Both the adult and children’s Sunday School take place September through May in the education wing of the church.
Adult Sunday School
There are two Adult classes that begin at 9:15 am each Sunday morning.
Pastor Ron Weryha leads a book review in the room (Bridal Room) off of the Narthex at the back of church.
Dave Baker leads this class that meets in the large classroom on the left side of hallway in the Sunday School wing. At present we are studying a book called “Forgotten God”, written by Francis Chan. This is a DVD driven course which explores the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
In addition to the education hour there are small groups and Bible studies.
Come join us in a journey of faith!
Long Range Planning
Laura Toney, Team Leader
The Long Range Planning team is responsible for looking to the future and projecting the needs and opportunities for the church. As a committee they discuss what is needed to meet the physical needs of the church including renovations and additions. Additionally, they assess the non-physical aspects of the church and develop ways to reach out to existing members and potential new members. In some cases the committee manages an entire project and in other cases a recommended structure is designed to pass on to other ministry teams. Long Range Planning is an integral part of Faith and important for managing our growing congregation.
Stephen Ritchey, Team Leader
The finance ministry consists of members of Faith interested in giving their gift of time and knowledge to oversee the financial obligations of the Church. The finance committee collaborates with the stewardship and long range planning teams to develop and monitor the Church’s annual fiscal budget. We ensure the Church employs good financial practices through routine audits, as prescribed by ELCA, and recommendation of best practices.
Dave Cavanaugh, Team Leader
The mission of the Evangelism Team is to reach out to the community in Christian witness. We work to introduce Faith Lutheran Church to non-members in the community. Our team is responsible for all public relations of the church. We keep the local cable, web, and print media current with church announcements and social activities.
Evangelism warmly receives guests of the church and works with the congregation to do the same. We welcome our new members with hand-made pins and social gatherings after worship to get acquainted. We keep current members active by innovating and organizing fun activities. Last year, we held the first Christmas caroling event, which had a good turnout and was well received by our nursing home community. This year we continued with our Christmas tradition and reached out again to our senior community. We also organized and hosted a “Game Night” for Haiti and raised $345.00 for disaster relief.
Our team participates in Upper Saint Clair Community Day to help advertise our church and our summer Vacation Bible School. We also design, develop, and maintain our website. We meet every 3rd Tuesday of the month alternating between the Church and Panera Bread – check out the events calendar to see where to join us! We are always looking to add to our growing team.
Donna Kohler, Team Leader
Ever thankful for God’s love and His gifts – the created world, life, time, and abilities – we are moved to our enduring mission to faithfully manage, conserve, develop, and distribute God’s gifts.
Our goals as the Stewardship Ministry Team include:
- Evoke and promote the expression of Christian faith in daily living.
- Teach the Christian use of money.
- Diffuse knowledge of the congregation’s local, national, and world-wide ministries.
- Lead all its members to higher levels of proportionate giving for the Lord’s work.
Worship & Music
Ed Ferris, Team Leader
Ed Ferriss is our new representative for the Music and Worship committee for church council in 2013. Please see Ed if you want to volunteer for any roles within Music and Worship or if you have any questions.
To the Youth of Faith: Please consider being an usher or a musician or possibly a reader by talking with Pastor Ron or Ed Ferriss.
In addition, anyone wanting to help decorate our church for the holidays throughout the year, please see Ed.
Join the Choir!
Jay McDowell, Director of Choirs and Music Ministry
The Faith Lutheran Handbell Choir rehearses each Thursday from 6:30pm until 7:30pm and performs approximately once a month from September through May. The choir is comprised of approximately 10-15 members with a variety of musical backgrounds and experience levels.
The Faith Lutheran Chancel Choir rehearses each Thursday from 7:30pm until approximately 8:30pm and performs a weekly Offertory piece from September through May. The chancel choir is comprised of members that are high school age and older with a wide variety of musical backgrounds and experience levels.
The Choirs are open to any/all volunteers interested in contributing to the Music Ministry at Faith Lutheran Church. Anyone interested in joining or seeking more information should contact Jay McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church office at (412) 835.4590. If you are not sure that you are able to commit to the entire season, please speak with Jay and consider joining us anyway.
Interview with Jay McDowell email@example.com
Jay grew up in Western Pennsylvania and attended Mercyhurst College, now Mercyhurst University, in Erie, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (voice) and later received a Master of Music in Music Technology (digital music pedagogy) from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In addition to directing the choirs at Faith Lutheran, Jay currently teaches middle school music in the Bethel Park School District and works as an Independent Distributor for AdvoCare, a premier health and wellness company.
Jay began working at Faith Lutheran in November of 2008. He finds the work to be both challenging and highly rewarding and is thankful for the wonderful musicians in the choirs and the amazing members of the congregation who all work to enhance the music ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Upper St. Clair.
Q: When did you start with Faith Lutheran?
A: My first rehearsal at Faith Lutheran was November 6th, 2008 and first service was that Sunday, November 9th. It was the spring of 2009 that I began to assume the responsibility of organist in addition to director of choirs.
Q: What was it that brought you into looking for a job as choir director in your spare time?
A: There were many factors in this decision. I had been singing with a church choir as part of the professional core for just over a year and, while I thoroughly enjoyed singing with them, I found that I still longed for an opportunity to lead a group and actually, Faith Lutheran found me through a colleague of mine at school who was a member here at the church and approached me about the open position.
Q: Have you noticed a change in the size of the choir since you became director?
A: Not having any firsthand knowledge of the choir prior to my arrival in 2008, I can only speak to the changes I have witnessed over the past five years. The overall membership in the choir has grown while we have lost a few members due to changes in their schedules that do not allow for them to participate at this time, moving away for various reasons, and also to deteriorating health. We have also gained members that have come to us for special services when we are performing a particular piece, ie. – Handel’s “Hallelujah” Chorus, or featuring a specific section of the choir, ie. – a men’s or women’s only piece. Throughout the choir season, the attendance can fluctuate greatly with members traveling and working around other commitments. It is difficult to ask members of the church to commit so much time when there are so many other personal, family, and work obligations to which they must tend. That being said, I am grateful for the members.
Q: Do you feel you have been able to accomplish everything you had hoped for with the choir/bells? Have the resources been available, or do you feel that will take time?
A: I am constantly amazed by the dedication of the choir members and the quality of their work. It is clear that each person not only loves to sing or play the bells, but yearns for a chance to learn about how they can improve even just a little bit.
I am very pleased with what we have accomplished over the past five years. However, I am always attempting to improve the experience for my choir members and for those worshiping in the congregation. One development for the fall of 2013 is that we open each chancel choir rehearsal by singing hymn #885, “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” and closing rehearsal with a piece called “Go Ye Now In Peace” by Joyce Eilers. The hymn at the opening of rehearsal is a great way to warm up our voices and focus on the work at hand while remembering exactly why we are there in the first place. The closing piece is one that I remember the choir singing in church as I was growing up. The words and harmonies are meaningful and beautiful and a make for an incredibly moving way to close the evening and send members home with a sense of peace.
I would love to add a professional core group of singers to help support the choir. This is not because I feel our choir is incapable by any means, but rather, I know the comfort that having someone with a little more confidence can add to a section when rehearsing and performing. This is particularly true for more challenging pieces and tight timeframes.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: The feeling that washes over me when the bell choir plays their hearts out or the chancel choir sings an amazing passage with love and musicality. These moments are frequent and often times occur during rehearsal. There are many times where I cannot help but smile and think to myself that this is absolutely where I am meant to be.
Robin Pleta, Team Leader
The Fellowship team is about the task of planning and hosting events. We plan coffee fellowships to honor graduates, communicantes, and confirmation children. We plan the church picnic, progressive dinners and wine tasting events. This gives us the chance to get to know each other better. These events are well attended which indicates what a friendly place Faith Lutheran is.
John Forster, Team Leader
I see my mission as Property chairman to keep the church “physical plant” safe, secure, and attractive. The men and women on the committee are very proud of the work they do. It takes a lot of effort to do whatever needs to be done while trying to do it at the lowest possible cost. A lot time is spent on trying to get the “best price” on something.
If you or your group are interested in using Faith Lutheran Church, please read our Building Use Policy and complete the Request form. If you have any questions, you can contact the Property Chair with any questions and/or comments. Once the form is completed it can be submitted to the church office through any council member, or provided to the Property Chair for review.
Our theme is “This is God’s house”, let’s keep it worthy.