Friday, May 22, 2009

Steel City Pizza has moved to Tarentum

sign for Steel City Pizza & Grille, 724-224-PIZZATonight I was in Tarentum for a wedding rehearsal, and in addition to the pleasure of working with a wonderful couple and their delightful friends, I discovered that a great pizza spot from Lower Burrell has reopened across the river.

Back in April I had noticed that the lights were out in the building on Leechburg Road where Steel City used to be located. Then the sign in front of the building was changed to say "Building for lease." I wasn't the only one to be discouraged by the apparent closure.

But tonight I learned that Steel City Pizza has moved -- into a restaurant location very familiar to me in Tarentum -- the former location of Lee's Chinese Restaurant, 415 E. 4th Ave.

When I started telling friends that I had discovered where Steel City had moved, I realized what a popular spot it had been for a lot of people. I called the restaurant to get answers to the questions people were asking.

Do they still have those wonderful bread sticks for those who eat in the dining room? Yes.

Do they still deliver to Lower Burrell? Yes, they will deliver to Lower Burrell, New Kensington, and Tarentum. The new phone number for the location in Tarentum is (724) 224-7499.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Summer preaching schedule starting to fill in

My preaching schedule for the summer is starting to fill in. The dates booked so far are:
I can hear you saying it now; those churches have taken all the good dates. But if you act now, you might still be able to book me for a Sunday this summer at a church near you.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Some events for Presbyterians (and others) in the Valley (and elsewhere)

There are a number of opportunities to participate in some worthwhile events over the next couple of weeks.

logo for 2009 Walk Run Ride event Carol Harris Staffing Walk/Run/Ride for Habitat

This year the fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity will take place at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, with the staging area in the parking lot between J.C.Penney and Sears. Events for people of all ages will begin at various times on Saturday, May 9, 2009 starting at 8:00 AM with the 5k run. The bike ride starts at 9:00 AM.

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Pin Me Up

This art show at Artform Tattoo in Lower Burrell on May 9, 2009 benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The show starts at 2:00 PM. There is a $10 cover charge.

Support local artists and finding a cure for breast cancer.

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God Complex Radio: Is your pastor smart?

This will be the second show of God Complex Radio, an internet radio show featuring Rev. Carol Howard Merritt and Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow. The topic for this program appears to deal with issues of clergy education. You can listen to the show live at on May 11, 2009 at 12:00 noon EDT.The show will also be archived for later listening.

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rFOG-sm.JPGRevised Form of Government Presentation & Discussion

There will be a presentation and discussion of the Revised Form of Government for Pittsburgh Presbytery. Elder Carol Hunley, a member of Southminster Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Dan Williams, Co-Moderator of the General Assembly's Task Force on the Revised Form of Government will give the presentation and assist the discussion. There will be two sessions at the Presbytery Center on May 20, 2009. The first session will be from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and the second from 7:00 PM to 9:00.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Poverty housing and Habitat for Humanity in the Allegheny Valley

112.jpgIn many older communities in the Allegheny Valley there is an ongoing problem of substandard housing, which is often the only option available for families living in poverty.

Habitat for Humanity of Allegheny Valley offers one faithful response to the problem of poverty housing. Organized in 1996, it has been building decent homes with partner homeowners since 1997.

Support for Habitat is so broad that it is easy for people to forget that Habitat is a Christian ministry. Countless local church groups volunteer their time in our building projects. Church groups come from out of state as well. Although we don't require volunteers or homeowner families to make to make a formal profession of faith, we do invite them to join us in something that Jesus is doing in the world.

Beyond faith groups, our local affiliate has had help from American Eagle Outfitters, State Farm, and Comcast, to name just a few of the corporations who have lent a hand and provided resources. We've had an amazing partnership with the new mall in the area - the Pittsburgh Mills.

Habitat's work involves a careful balance of enlisting and deploying volunteers, soliciting donations of funds and materials, identifying and supporting partner homeowners and their families, and developing projects in which all of the above can come together. A couple years ago I visited one of our local affiliate's work-sites on a day when an unexpectedly large group of volunteers showed up. I was amazed by the flexibility of our Executive Director Diane Belitskus in adapting to the greatly increased number of volunteers that day, and her ability to identify tasks that were suitable for the unexpected group.

Our local affiliate is working on increasing its building capacity. We have benefited from a special partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans called Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity. Under this larger partnership Thrivent Financial is providing $125 million over five years to help Habitat for Humanity significantly increase the number of homes it builds. Habitat for Humanity of Allegheny Valley is one of the many local affiliates that has received grants and extra commitments of volunteer hours from Lutherans to build more homes.

As I have seen the wonderful things that Thrivent Builds has been able to accomplish in partnership with affiliates around the world, I have been asking myself one question: Is there an entity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that is in a position to make a similar partnership with Habitat for Humanity?

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