Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Dorsey McConnell, far left; the Rev. Lorena Ringle; Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation, helped close out the revival with Eucharist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in McKeesport. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service
Episcopal News Service
The old church tradition of the revival received new life in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Feb. 3-5 with a distinctly Episcopal feel.
The emphasis was on both sparking individuals’ faith lives and a commitment to show the love of Jesus beyond the four walls of their churches. Anchoring Episcopal revivals in the needs of the world was a constant theme of the weekend.
“Episcopal Church, we need you to follow Jesus. We need you to be the countercultural people of God who would love one another, who would care when others could care less, who would give, not take,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said during his Feb. 5 sermon at Calvary Episcopal Church in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
The last day of the Pittsburgh revival featured two Eucharists: the first at Calvary Episcopal Church, and the second 40 minutes away at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, McKeesport, in the economically struggling Monongahela River Valley south of Pittsburgh. Representatives of nearly three dozen Episcopal congregations gathered at St. Stephen’s to support “The Mon Valley Mission,” which is a new effort to revive the faith and well-being of the river communities.
Curry used the morning’s gospel story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well to tell the McKeesport congregation that God pushes people to build bridges between people who society says are enemies. In their conversations at the well, Curry said, both Jesus and the Samaritan woman learn something about each other and themselves. Moreover, the woman discovered within her the image of God and she experienced the love of God as being active in her life, he said.
Then, Curry said, she became “the first evangelist in the New Testament” when she told her neighbors what happened at the well with Jesus.
Each person at St. Stephen’s received a small scallop shell with a red cross painted on it, an ancient symbol of pilgrims, to symbolize their pilgrimage to take the good news of Jesus into the world. The service ended with Curry commissioning all 320 people in attendance to be disciples sharing the good news of Jesus.