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PLUM Churches:

Bethany (Dormont)

Christ (Duquesne)

East Liberty

Hope (Forest Hills)

Luth. Church of Our Saviour

Messiah (Munhall)

Resurrection (Oakdale)

St. Andrew (East Carnegie)

St. Paul's (Canonsburg)

Trinity (Mt. Oliver)

Zion (Coraopolis)


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November 2013

Dear Partners in Ministry,


Our church year is drawing to a close!  Once the red paraments come out and we celebrate Reformation Sunday the beginning of the end has arrived. The first Sunday of November is All Saints Sunday.  This is followed by the last Sundays after Pentecost with their scripture lessons focusing the celebration of Godís harvest: that day when Jesus will come and gather those who have remained faithful into Godís Kingdom. Then the year closes with a bang as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday.


Thatís where we are as the people of God in this month of November.  We are in the time of harvest.  It is a time of thanksgiving as we acknowledge the bounty that we have received by Godís hand.  It is a time of recollection as we recall our life together as Godís people over the past year: reflecting on the work accomplished, the work left undone, and the work that lies ahead in the new year.  It is a time of remembrance of both those who accompany us on our journey and those whose faith journeys have ended and who are now at rest. It is a time of urgency as we recognize how quickly the harvest can come and how important it is to be prepared so that no one is lost.


It is a time of great urgency!  When our pastoral team attended the Pastorsí Convocation in October we experienced in a dramatic way the crises that so many of the congregations of our Synod are facing.  We were approached time and time again by pastors asking us questions about our cooperative ministry. The struggle we saw coming and anticipated when we formed PLUM is happening at an alarming rate among our sister congregations. The Convocation speaker was charged with the task of addressing the challenges of doing ministry in this high tech / global era of our history. We have been called to do Christís work in an age that is being rapidly transformed by the internet much as the printing press radically transformed the world in Martin Lutherís time (16th century!). Weíre talking about major cultural shifts that the church must learn to address effectively.


We can approach this time of crisis in one of two ways:  either we work together with the Spiritís help and tackle the challenges of our ministry head on with a sense of purpose and adventure that will help us cope with the struggles it will require; or we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and rendered helpless/hopeless by our desire to cling to what is familiar. We members of PLUM have already accepted the challenge and stepped out to meet the future by banding together. We are stronger together than apart!  But with each question raised, with each problem begging to be addressed, we have to fight the urge to put the blinders back on, hoping against hope that all will be well if we just hang on to what weíve always done.  Believe it or not, PLUM (thatís us!) is a beacon of hope to the congregations of our synod and, like it or not, we need to keep forging ahead and wrestling with the issues that confront Christís church today as manifested in our congregationsí ministries. To that end we are exploring all manner of resources that can help us on this Kingdom adventure. In November we are calling all the members of our congregations to seriously consider attending the ďFront PorchíinĒ workshop on Saturday, November 16 from 9:30 am Ė 2:30 pm at Berkeley Hills Lutheran Church.  It will provide us all with training on how to become more comfortable sharing our faith stories with others (otherwise known as Evangelism).  We Lutherans are good at a lot of faithful things, but talking about our personal relationship with God in Christ isnít one of them. Come and learn with us. I promise it wonít be painful and it wonít be a waste of your time. In fact it might just be an enjoyable experience that will equip you to better represent Jesus in your daily life and empower you as a laborer for Godís plentiful harvest.


In the midst of these challenging times we know that two things will not change: our Lord will accompany us wherever we go, providing us with what we need to be His faithful people and the harvest will continue to be great, as will the challenge of working the harvest with the usual handful of laborers. That has been the experience of our ministry, lo these many years, and look at what we have been able to accomplish!  Do you think the future will be any different? Do you doubt that our future is secure in Godís safe keeping?


Thanks be to our God who does not abandon us to this work, that who blesses us daily with many graces and provides us with one another as companions and helpmates in the work of His Kingdom.


Pastor Beth




Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773