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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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July 2016




As my wife Sharon and I were driving back to Pittsburgh from D.C., we were listening to the Broadway cast recording of “Les Misérables”, based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel.  This story is set in the struggle of the poor and powerless of Paris, who believed in the French Revolution but they had not realized the results that the Revolution had promised:  Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité.  I began to think of PLUM and our members.  We have had promises made to us – not through revolution – but promises made to us by our parents and grandparents who built our churches and taught us the Christian Faith based in the Lutheran Reformation.  The cry was not Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, but ‘Scripture alone, Grace alone, and Faith alone.’  We were taught that, if we kept these words before us and worked hard to preserve the traditions of our particular congregation, we would continue to thrive.


As well meaning as these promises were, they were subject to population shifts, changes in the economy, and the shifting sands of cultural allegiances and new perspectives on life and Scripture, faith and grace.  Now we find ourselves sharing our buildings with a Napoli congregation, a non-denominational congregation and an orthodox Presbyterian assembly.   Some of our congregations are struggling to re-capture or re-cast our mission.  We have a diaper bank, a pre-school and a women’s retreat that features massage and facial treatments.

We are seeing changes in our worship space and style, including freestanding altars emphasizing our family dinner that we call Holy Communion, the use of projection screens and new music.


Amidst these shifts and changes, we remember the greatest promise of all:  God so loved the world (us) that God sent the Son to die and to rise again for us.  Yes, the Son constantly shines on PLUM – on each and every congregation and on every member.  The results of this promise are manifold but, most importantly, God’s love and grace for us resulted in our salvation – now and eternally.


Unlike the poor, rebellious, angry people of the early years of 19th Century Paris, the promise that God has given us will not fail and neither will we!  As you move through this summer, you will enjoy the sun shining its light and warmth on you and your family.  Likewise, the Son will continually shine the light of God’s grace and love on each of us as we struggle to live out the Gospel to and for our neighbor.


Recently, Sharon and I had the privilege of visiting Reykjoevik, Iceland.  In the middle of city stands the Lutheran Church.  It is large and beautiful, with a magnificent organ.  You can see the church from all over the city.  Unfortunately, the major use of this building is for concerts, because very few people attend worship or participate in church activities.  In some cases, PLUM may be few in number (especially in light of the past), but we are still gathering and we are still ‘Standing on the Promises of God our Savior’.  Let’s always keep that in mind and let the Son shine on us.


+Pastor Paul Koch

  On behalf of the PLUM Pastoral Staff



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