Friday, June 02, 2006

Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting June 1: A. Travel and Hospitality

Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1000 Bryn Mawr Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15219Pittsburgh Presbytery met at the Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh on June 1, 2006.

I've been to a meeting at this church before, and I had trouble finding it that time. I hoped that my memory would help me this time, but I was wrong.

I printed out two sets of directions, one from the Presbytery's website, and the other from Mapquest. There were problems with each, and I believe that part of the problem was my starting point. I guess you aren't supposed to go there from Tarentum.

The Presbytery's directions told me to go "Downtown" and find Bigelow Boulevard. I never made it downtown. (And if I had gone to "Downtown", is that a small enough place that the signs telling me where to get on Bigelow Boulevard would have been obvious to find?)

Mapquest took me down 28, but told me to use the 31st Street Bridge, which has been closed for a while now. The well-marked detour via the 40th Street Bridge got me back to the place where Mapquest's directions would have taken me on the other side of the 31st Street Bridge. But Mapquest told me to look for a sharp left from Herron Avenue onto Bryn Mawr Road. I am pretty sure now the Mapquest directions could have worked for me except that Bryn Mawr Road is not marked with a street sign at that turn.

a portion of the relevant map shown on Google MapsAfter getting home I looked up the Google Maps picture of the area. Now I have a much better idea of where I was going on my many wrong turns. And the lesson I have learned is that I should supplement directions into Pittsburgh with a printout from Google Maps. Even Google Maps would have had me looking unsuccessfully for a street sign for Bryn Mawr Road on my left, but I would have known when I passed the necessary turn that I had gone too far.

Once I arrived at the church I was very impressed by the hospitalty they extended. Members of the church were helping members of the Presbytery find parking, and they directed us to a nearby sports field from which there was a van to shuttle people back to the church.

There was very warm hospitality within the church, including very welcoming refreshments in the registration area.

Founding Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet, who served Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church from 1868-1876Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church is one of the historic African-American churches in Pittsburgh.

In the church library there is a remarkable collection of stained glass windows with depictions of pastors and elders who have served the church. The founding pastor, Henry Highland Garnet, was a runaway slave who had pastored an integrated church in 1839, and came to Pittsburgh after the Civil War.

A beautiful stained glass window depicting the women at the empty tomb prominently conveys the Easter message. It must be wonderful to worship in that space every Sunday.

stained glass of women at the empty tomb (note the empty crosses on Golgotha in the distance)Early in the meeting the Rev. Carmen Cox Harwell, associate pastor of Grace Memorial welcomed the Presbytery. By the end of the meeting we had also been greeted by the Rev. Dr. Johnnie Monroe, the pastor of the church. Members of the Presbytery are encouraged to visit Grace Memorial on a Sunday morning.

My other articles about this meeting: A B C D

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