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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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March 2016




Many years ago, when I was serving a congregation in St. Louis, I prepared for the Easter Day children’s talk by purchasing a live baby chick and placing it in a box.  During the worship, the children came forward for the children’s time.  I showed them an egg and we talked about how the egg is good to eat but it didn’t seem like it represented anything living.  Meanwhile, the live chicken kept chirping, so the secret was out and the children watched with excitement.  I opened the box to show the new life that comes from the egg.  Of course, the chicken jumped out of the box into the midst of the children.  Pandemonium broke out.  The children’s talk for Easter got completely out of hand.  But we all enjoyed it, any way.


Perhaps the chaos of that children’s talk was, itself, a good illustration for Easter.  Look at the biblical story again:  a crowd that was so angry that they shouted for Jesus to be crucified and then continued to shout insults at him as he was dying; the disciples hiding, perhaps observing the crucifixion but out of sight; a weeping mother grieving over the hideous death of her son; and then an angelic visitation at the tomb and the surprised and fearful women who heard the news and saw the empty tomb.  They ran to tell the disciples but the disciples did not believe them.


The chaos of these events presents to us the most wonderful message that we could ever hear:  Jesus, who died on Calvary’s cross, has risen and now rules over the Dominion of God.  Our salvation was purchased with such great cost, because God loves us - even when we are disobedient and unrepentant.  This is a message that cannot be contained in the printed pages of the Gospels.   This is a message so rare and beautiful that it takes wing over the centuries and around the globe to peoples we have not met or know.


You are the recipient of the eternal grace of God.  This is the Easter proclamation, heard first at the Great Vigil of Easter (Saturday night) and then with great fanfare on Sunday morning.  PLUM is the recipient of God’s love and guidance.  We have marveled at the life that comes from the dying.  As Bethlehem (Allentown) closed its doors, a new Lutheran ministry – Abiding Presence – brought new life to Bethlehem’s building and neighborhood.  This is a contemporary Easter story.


We marvel at the 23 new members that have come to our churches through baptism and confirmation last year.  We rejoice with Trinity (Mt. Oliver), who claims that Sunday attendance has doubled.  We stand in awe and appreciation as we watch Bethany (Dormont) feed over 800 families on Thanksgiving. 


These are just several ‘Easter’ stories arising out of PLUM.  God has not forgotten our 10 congregations, nor has God forgotten each individual member.  The empty tomb stands as a symbol of the new life offered by God, through Jesus the Christ.  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


+ Pastor Paul Koch, on behalf of the PLUM Pastoral Team



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