Temple Sinai: Shabbat Shalom

From Lori Melton:

Tonight Ralph, my parents, and several other parishioners from St. James attended a beautiful service at Temple Sinai. This synagogue invited the public to Friday night Sabbath (Shabbat) services in response to the terrible events in Charlottesville, VA a week ago today.

It was poignant, uplifting, and healing. I believe it followed their usual order of service, with some guest speakers and special additions. A Lutheran Bishop, a Catholic Priest, and a Baptist Pastor each spoke, and then Temple Sinai’s Rabbi read a letter to to Reform Congregations from the Rabbi of a synagogue in Charlottesville, where the Nazi demonstrators were marching. Hearing the events of last weekend as described by that Rabbi was really chilling.

The service ended with a rousing rendition of “Down by the Riverside” blended with a song in Hebrew. It was lovely, and we were all very glad to have been there.

Shabbat Shalom to all.



Thank You from Partners in Progress

Through the many generous donations of individuals and groups, Partners in Progress was was able to provide funding and building design support for the project to rebuild the Sisters of St. Antoine’s home in Fondwa, Haiti which was destroyed in October 2016 by Hurricane Matthew.

Also, the students of the 2017 graduating class from the Sisters of St. Antoine vocational school learned skills in the areas of cooking, flower arrangements, and sewing; skills that will help them find jobs and can be passed on to future generations.

Thank you for your donations through the monthly envelope: “Supporting the Mission in Fondwa.


Senior Box Distribution: Volunteers Needed

The monthly distribution of senior boxes offers those much needed basics for every day living that can take a lot out of a small income.

Volunteers should come to the Ministry Center at 723 Rebecca Avenue, 15221 on Friday, August 25 , at 9 am. 

Thank you!


Rite of Christian Initiation

Rite of Christian Initiation commonly known as RCIA is an opportunity for Catholics and non-Catholics to explore the Catholic Faith through Scripture, learning and discussion.

Are you or do you know someone who might be interested in becoming Catholic, or an adult Catholic who needs preparation for Confirmation and or Communion?

St. James will join St. Bede’s RCIA weekly sessions on Tuesday evenings starting in late August. Don’t miss this opportunity to be On Mission with the Church Alive!

For more information, contact the St. James Rectory at 412.241.1392 or click here to send an email.

All are welcome!

A Prayer for Charlottesville

A Prayer for Charlottesville 

Let us pray  for those who were injured, for their families, for those who were traumatized by the reckless behavior of one person, and for all those who oppose evil in all its forms.

We pray too for those who consider racist ideologies acceptable
that they will see through their confusion to the deeper truth of God’s love for all and our need of one another.

We ask that you would give us grace for the deep challenges facing our country. We ask that you would form us to be us peacemakers. May we be people who speak the truth in love as we work for a reconciled world. We commit our lives to you God, believing that You are working in the world in spite of destructive powers. Bring healing to those who are hurt, peace to those who are anxious, and love to those who are fearful.

We wait for Your help Dear God.      Amen

2 Events Countering Hate on Friday, August 18, 2017

There will be two events to counter hate on Friday, August 18, 2017:

  • “Prayer for Pittsburgh, Prayer for Peace” at 12 noon, the City-County Building on Grant Street. The gathering will feature community and faith leaders.
  • Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill’s Shabbat Service at 7 pm, 5505 Forbes Avenue.  Leaders of Christian and Muslim congregations are among those who have committed to participate.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article on Events

From the Archives of Fr. Metzler’s Homilies: 20th Sunday in Ordianry Time, Cycle A

“Crumby Gospel”

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7    Romans 11:11-32    Matthew 15:21-28

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

I’m thinking about the crumb of bread I will receive this morning and the morsel I will place into your cupped hands during the Eucharist today. “The body of Christ, broken for you,” He said. The body of Christ broken for me. For me! We all will receive crumbs from the Master’s table — bread and wine, body and blood. It won’t take much. There will be no three-course sit down dinner. A morsel and a tiny sip are enough, yes more than enough, at Jesus’ table.

We need this ‘crumby’ gospel, especially on days when the world seems crummy. We need this taste of Jesus to whet our appetite for more and to sustain us and remind us again and again of what really matters and that we belong. We need to come to the table and kneel, as it were, at Jesus’ feet with all our sorrow, pain, baggage, and badness. Yes, even the little whelps and aged curs get something from the master. No one is excluded. So why do Jesus’ disciples get all lathered up over the Canaanite woman?

You’d think by now they would have realized that Jesus is not out to impress the religious elite or to maintain the status quo. In fact, he’s just delivered, in the passage before, a graphic object lesson about the source of human filth and rottenness. Ouch! Oh, what dark hearts we hide beneath the clothes of respectability and righteousness. Jesus lists some of the dark and dirty things: evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. You get the idea. Not keeping nit-picky rules, abandoning hollow traditions, and refusing to get hung-up on religiosity do not render us ‘unclean’ or outside of God’s love.

I wonder how this encounter in the gospel lesson really went down. We have the words on the page, but we don’t have the tone of voice, the looks, the entire scene before us. When the woman appeals to Jesus he doesn’t answer her. What hangs in that silence? The disciples are evidently quick to fill it by urging that Jesus send this inconvenient truth of an outsider away. His next words, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” must have sounded mighty fine to the annoyed and embarrassed disciples.

Perhaps there was a lesson for them in the words that they overlooked. After all, they were quite prone to overlooking both the obvious and the obscure. Yet even in the midst of this rather crummy situation, the woman will not be deterred from holding out her hand for a crumb from Jesus. She instinctively knows she belongs at the table. That is great faith, my friends. And, this too, is great stewardship. This outsider woman gets it. She understands that you don’t hoard grace and that you aren’t stingy with love and healing. A crumb from Jesus makes all the difference in the world.

Chances are that this week you, like all sensitive followers of Jesus, are reeling and/or numb from world events. War and torture everywhere, riots in our own country, hatred toward children at our borders. Add to that the usual list of prayer needs and human brokenness and pain. So I hand out this crumby gospel, these crumbs of abundant love, grace, and salvation, and I won’t be stingy. You, too must believe that Jesus is still about the business of working miracles, changing lives, and ushering in the reconciliation of this world. Come to the table, every last rag tag and gimpy one of you. Hold out your hands for these precious crumbs and receive – and then go out to share — this very good news.  (Sharron Blezzard)

Readings: August 20, 2017, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

     Salvation Is Just Around the Corner

Thus says the Lord: “Guard my common good: do what’s right and do it in the right way.

For salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.

“And as for the outsiders who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants, all who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it, holding fast to my covenant. I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’ to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”

  • Romans 11:11-32

Brothers and sisters: it’s you, the outsiders, that I’m concerned with now. Because my personal assignment is focused on the so-called outsiders, I make as much of this as I can when I’m among my Israelite kin, the so-called insiders, hoping they’ll realize what they’re missing and want to get in on what God is doing. If their falling out initiated this worldwide coming together, their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming!

God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded. There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.

  • Matthew 15:21-28

     Healing the People

From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”

Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”

Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”

Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”

He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”

She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”

Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.


Reflection from Fr. Taylor: August 20, 2017, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7    Romans 11:11-32    Matthew 15:21-28

In today’s Gospel Jesus characterizes the Canaanite woman as one having great faith. While most of us think of faith as belief in God “Great Faith” often carries special meaning as believing in God even in situations of sadness and sufferings. We know that in suffering situations there could be a temptation to think we have been abandoned by God.

But this “Great Faith”, even when the obvious signs of His presence are missing, acknowledges and knows that He is there. The woman in the story goes further than that, she has an emergency situation, her daughter is afflicted and she would do anything to ask for help. We too have had opportunities in life where it seems like HOPE just does not come to be, BUT WE persist anyway.

God puts someone in our life to help us to show that He did not and will not abandon us. When we realize this, we can remind each other of the deepest truth of who we are and then compassion can flow from us into the situations where it is needed.


20th Sunday In Ordinary Time – August 20, 2017