Update from the Pulpit Nominating Committee

by Geoff Gehring

Greetings, members and friends of Hebron. The Pulpit Nominating Committee (PNC) continues to faithfully respond to our election in February to search for a Co-Pastor as identified in the Say Yes! initiative. We thank you for your prayerful support during these past six months.

The committee has logged an abundance of hours of deliberation since our last update in early summer. We have been working through the book of Colossians together as we prepare our hearts and minds before each session. Our August meeting was focused on Colossians 3:12-17 and Isaiah 40:28-41:20.

As part of the discernment process, the PNC has identified a final round of candidates for interview. As of July 31, our Ministry Information Form (MIF) is no longer active on the denominational website. Our focus is now to employ behavioral-based interview techniques to identify a theological match with Hebron’s commitment to the authority of Scripture as well as a staff cultural fit. 

In accordance with the PNC process for hiring a Co-Pastor, Doug Rehberg has been brought into the final phase of the selection process, since the Co-Pastor role requires significant cohesion with him. The committee has appreciated his insight on several candidates. We look forward to presenting a final candidate for your consideration and endorsement in September or October. All candidates for the position are currently serving other congregations, so confidentially continues to be important. 

Although we have identified a final round of candidates, this does not necessarily mean that one of them will be selected. Additionally, the candidate we do select may not elect to take the position. If this is the case, the PNC is prepared to continue the recruitment process beyond the stated timeline. Our greatest desire is to clearly identify the person that has been called by God to advance the ministry of Hebron Church in the years to come, not to simply fill the position by a desired time.  That being said, the committee is enthusiastic about the current candidates. 

Please continue to join the PNC, Session, and the leadership staff in praying for God's wisdom with this selection. We seek to have Him glorify the Lord through the process and show the world how this position will positively impact Hebron Church. You are always welcome to call me for further discussion at 412-855-7600. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the church in this capacity. 

Nehemiah: A Study in Comfort

by Doug Rehberg
Do you remember the old story about the missionary who is on his way home to the States after thirty years on the mission field? During his tenure both his wife and only child had died after battling long illnesses. He’s tired, lonely, and a bit discouraged. Questions of purpose and meaning clutter his mind. “What am I supposed to do now?”
As the ship pulls into New York harbor he sees a huge crowd gathering. There’s a band playing a triumphant tune. Instantly, he thinks, “Maybe they’re here for me!”
But when the ship gets closer to the dock he can read the signs. The crowd is here, not for him, but for the popular politician. In fact, as it turns out, no one is there for him. In his discouragement he silently cries out, “Why Lord? Why does he get all the acclaim? Why is everyone here for him and not one for me?” And in the quietness of his gloom he hears the Lord whisper to his troubled heart, “You’re not home yet!”
In Hebrews 11 there’s an interesting verbal interlude that has captured the attention of many throughout the years. In the midst of the author’s recitation of biblical examples of faith (from Abel to the prophets) the writer injects these words:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
The Book of Nehemiah gives us a glimpse of what the writer is talking about. At a time of deep desperation the people of God are given a tremendous gift of comfort. The former nation of Israel lay in shambles. It had been laid waste a century earlier. It is ready to join a host of nations consigned to the dustpan of history.  But suddenly Nehemiah receives a word from God that will change everything. Jerusalem is in ruins. It’s defenseless. Since the Babylonians had destroyed it in 586 B.C. attempts had been made to reconstruct it, but all failed. The Persian King Cyrus had allowed exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem years earlier, but every attempt to rebuild the city and its walls had been thwarted by other enemies. The resettlement had been tepid to say the least. The majority of returning exiles were poor Jews or foreign immigrants incapable of restoring a city.
Into this bleakness the Lord lights a flame of hope for the future of Israel. When Nehemiah catches a vison for rebuilding the city walls and gates, it’s only a piece of the vision God will reveal. Rebuilding the wall is critical, but the rebuilding of a nation dedicated to God’s purposes is paramount. The wall is important because of what was being restored behind the wall –the dwelling place of God.
It’s hard to overstate the comfort the Lord provides through His servant Nehemiah and the huge stones used in the reconstruction.  Archaeologists have discovered five of these stones, the largest of which measures 55 feet long, ll feet high, and 14 feet wide, weighing an incredible 570 tons. Imagine moving such stones into place. What the Lord does in the time of Nehemiah is only a foretaste of what He intends to do through Jesus. It’s far greater than a huge crowd and brass band.

Beginning September 9th, we will explore this amazing thirteen-chapter book and see what God did then and what He intends to do today in your life and in my life, and the life of Hebron. The lessons are abundant. Scott Parsons and I are looking forward to digging into them with you. Make plans to be with us every step of the way!

Staff Changes

If you’ve called the church office over the past couple of months, you may have been surprised when someone new answered the phone. Quite a few changes have happened since our last newsletter!
Dianne Jozwick came on board in May as Administrative Assistant, working in the office Tuesday through Thursday afternoons alongside Ethel Keim and all day Friday. Dianne graduated from Duquesne University with a Psychology degree and a minor in Mathematics and completed her Master of Science in Information Science and Telecommunications at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to working in the computer field for most of her career, she taught secondary math and computers early on and loved her moonlighting job working in a bookstore. She enjoys working on her 100 year old home in Forest Hills, skiing, bike riding, and spending time in the mountains.
Sarah Miller
Sarah Miller resigned her position as Treasurer/Administrative Assistant in June to pursue a new opportunity. Her new position enables her to work full-time from home with flexible hours that give her more time to spend time with her family. She graciously agreed to continue as Treasurer this summer until a replacement could be found. Although we will surely miss Sarah in the office, we will still be seeing the Miller family at worship and church activities.
When searching for Sarah’s replacement the Personnel Team opted to split her full-time position into two dedicated part-time positions: Treasurer and Administrative Assistant.
During the month of June, Trustee and Personnel Team member, Lynn Zimmer, volunteered her time in the front office to help offset the additional workload while the search for an Administrative Assistant was underway. The gift of Lynn’s time and talent was a real blessing, and we are all most thankful.
After a month-long search, Jodie Skanderson joined the staff in July as Administrative Assistant, working at the front desk opposite hours from Dianne and Ethel—all day Monday and Tuesday through Thursday mornings. Her previous office experience in various medical settings has well-prepared her to handle the various tasks of our fast-paced front office. Jodie and her husband, John and son, Alex, live in Penn Hills. She has a heart for meal ministries and enjoys reading and charity sewing.
Gus Anderson was hired in late July as our new Treasurer. Gus is a Certified Public Accountant whose previous experience with non-profits includes Director of Finance at the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland and Chief Financial Officer at LifeBank, Inc. A Penn Hills resident, Gus is married to Lora Lee and they have four children and four grandchildren. His main hobby is golfing.
We are delighted to welcome these three talented individuals to Hebron’s staff. Please give them a warm welcome when you see them.

Children's Ministry

by Ellen Dillard

Sunday Mornings for Kidz

Kick Off Sundae September 9th!
We are so excited to begin a new year of small group ministry with your kidz! All Kidz—Babies through 5th Grade—gather at 9:15 and 10:45 am. Kidz are placed in a small group based on which worship service their parents attend. They are encouraged to attend the same small group each week as it is important for them to get to know their small group leader as well as the kidz in their group.
When you pick up your kidz after their small group, join us in the Heritage Hall parking lot for ice cream sundaes, games, and time with friends!

Milestone Event: Rising Kindergarten Celebration

Saturday, September 8th from 4:00-5:00 pm

Elementary Wing, 3rd Floor Main Building

Saturday, September 8th, Kindergarteners and their parents are invited to gather in the Elementary Wing, 3rd floor, to celebrate this new phase! Kidz and parents get to meet their small group leaders, meet friends who will be in their small group, and check out their new Sunday morning space.

Starting Kindergarten is a Milestone Event in the life of a family. The purpose of this event is to help Kidz with the transition and to encourage parents to lean in to the distinctive opportunities to leverage influence in their kidz life that this new phase offers.

How To Be Ok When Baby Goes To Kindergarten

In the days and weeks leading up to the big day, I had been repeatedly asked, “How are you doing?” As often as I’d been asked, I’d come to actually believe the answer I was giving. “As long as he’s okay, I’m okay,” I recited.
But then I watched him walk confidently and assuredly up the sidewalk and towards his classroom. I wrapped him up in a hug and got my kiss, I observed him turn to face this new frontier and it hit me.

He was okay. More than okay.
And I, well, I wasn’t. 

VBS Thank You

Thank you to all of the adults and teens who served at AMPED VBS this summer by praying, planning, and participating. Thank you for your donation of time, talents and gifts.  It takes every part of the church body to make VBS happen. We enjoyed our APMED VBS where Kidz learned to LIVE FULLY ALIVE in the confidence that comes from trusting Jesus.  Thank you to over 40 adults and over 30 teens who said “YES” to Jesus and served Him mightily during VBS Week. 

What a blessing to serve at Hebron and see how God changes lives in amazing ways as we learn and celebrate His word! Thank you to all!

Looking Ahead Excitedly

by Jen Balkey

Women’s Ministry is excited for another ministry year beginning! Recently our Women’s Ministry Leadership Team (WMLT) got away to retreat together. We spent time praying, reading the Word, being reminded of who we are as servants of God, and looking ahead as we begin to plan this upcoming ministry year. Our team continues to feel that we are being called to encourage the women of Hebron to be ANCHORED in God’s love and in His Word and that, as an overflow from that, will be compelled to be REACHING OUT to other women.

This summer we hosted Peaches in the Park at Penn Hills Universal Park which was a beautiful evening. We filled the pavilion with around 70 women to fellowship, enjoy fresh peaches with ice cream, and play  Bible Jeopardy. Shirley Dubeau introduced a Scripture-reading  technique, and both Seon Jo Park and Jessica Sanders shared grove testimonies. Thank you so much for all who helped make the event a success and to all the women who attended! We pray God was pleased and glorified!!

The WMLT desires to get to know you as we help bring you closer to GOD. We will continue to provide opportunities for the women of Hebron to come together as a united body, filled with His hope, and welcoming to your friends, co-workers, or neighbors as we build relationships and share HIM with others. Make a note of this year’s upcoming Women’s Ministry events on your calendars!!

v Fall Gathering—Taste & See: Monday, October 29, 6:30-8:30 pm in Fellowship Hall

v Heart Breakfast
Saturday, February 9, 2019

v Spring Event, May 2019

v Summer Sensation
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Other opportunities to engage with women during the year can be found through groves, prayer gatherings, Mom Squad, and IF:Tables.

Groves are a place where you grow spiritually studying and reflecting on God’s Word in a group- there are at least 10 women’s groves available this semester! Check them out!

The Building-Up team of WMLT will host Prayer Gatherings- opportunities to gather in prayer, corporately or silently.

The Care & Comfort Team of WMLT will host Mom Squad - opportunities to gather with other expectant and new moms, with infants up to age 1.5. Dates will be announced in the bulletin, Women’s Ministry website, and Hebron Women’s Ministry facebook page.

 IF:Table. 2 hours, 6 women, and 4 questions. Contact Jen Balkey to host an IF:Table where you will gather women around your table creating a space for them to feel known, provide a simple meal, and an environment for conversation about following God and giving Him away. We will continue to coordinate IF:Tables as long as women are hosting and attending. We invite you to be a host or attend one that someone else is hosting. There are new questions each month so we encourage you to sign up again even if you have hosted or attended before.

If you have a need, concern, or want to get together to introduce yourself, please reach out! I’d love to get together with you!!

Jen Balkey, Women’s Ministry Coordinator

Lost and Found Pharmacy and Soda Fountain

by John Sciullo

After almost nine years in the making, The Lost and Found Pharmacy and Soda Fountain opened its doors on June 3, 2016. In the two plus years that followed, it has become a vital health care component to many of the residents of Penn Hills by providing a level of personalized pharmaceutical care unmatched by many main stream drug retailers. The owners, Sean and Shannon Parsons, have dedicated themselves to assisting those that are caught in the Medicare Gap, a situation where prescription costs have reached the maximum benefit allowed by Medicare. By subsidizing some of the cost of the scripts, those caught in the gap do not have to decide whether they will purchase their medicines or perhaps pay a bill.

This care is possible through the generosity of churches like Hebron, soda fountain and non-pharmaceutical sales, grants, and personal donations. These gifts are placed in an account designated for patient care. In addition, a great deal of time and energy has been given to make this non-profit portion of the business operate as efficiently as possible.

Along with prescription subsidies, people have found the pharmacy and soda fountain to be a great place to meet and enjoy a time of fellowship. There is a story time for children on Saturdays, a game night for adults, Bible studies led by various individuals from several churches, musicians, in short, something for everybody.

Take the time to stop by, visit and enjoy some ice cream treats. If you have a desire to get plugged in with a ministry, just simply invite a guest and begin using their pharmacy services. Yes, they take virtually all the insurances, and this helps to maintain the patient care fund. You can help by doing what you must do otherwise. You may also consider talking to Sean and Shannon for more specific volunteer opportunities and make this a win-win situation.

For information on other ways you can help or to hear more about the impact being made call or email me.

John Sciullo 724-516-2600/1quartercav@gmail.com

Holly Alm Camp Scholarship Celebration

by Bill Kear

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. Phil 2:3-4

Mark your calendars, and plan to join in for the 8th annual Holly Alm Camp Scholarship Celebration on Sunday, October 14th at Edgewood Country Club. Jim and Diane Alm established the Fund immediately after their beautiful daughter, Holly, was called home by the Lord in 2011. Holly had a keen love for camping, and even more importantly, a true love and trust in her Lord and Savior, Jesus. The HACSF helps to make sure that young folks with financial needs have the opportunity to attend Christian camps, to hear and witness the good news of the Gospel and the joy of knowing Jesus. As of today, over 1200 young people have been given assistance with numerous testimonials of lives and hearts changed through the Word.

While it is not an entirely Hebron-based endeavor, it still remains a very Hebron-centric celebration, with a number of ways to participate and support. You can join in the golf outing and the dinner (and even bring some friends!). If the golf isn’t doable for you, many folks come to the dinner only for a wonderful time of fellowship. And there are numerous additional ways to support financially (as tee and table sponsors); or with gifts for baskets and auction items.

Registration and sponsor forms are available at Hebron, and we encourage folks to sign up promptly as we anticipate the golf and dinner spots to fill quickly. You can also register online by going to hacsf.org. The website is also a wonderful source of information regarding the specific camps involved, and more detail pertaining to Holly’s touching story and the HACSF.

The Lord has truly blessed the HACSF ministry, and it is humbling and at times overwhelming to see how many young lives have been touched and changed through Christian camp participation. If you have participated previously, thank you. And if you have not had the opportunity, well please consider joining us. It’s not a burden, but a true joy to look to the interest of others!

Thank You

v Your prayers, flowers, cards, calls and visits have been greatly appreciated. I am now at the Willows in Oakmont. With the warmest of thoughts of our friendship...Nellie Phillips

v The family of Barbara Riesmeyer would like to express their thanks for your support and condolences at this difficult time.

The Walendziewicz Family along with SW4H.org would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks for your support in the Sara Wally Walk for the Homeless.  On August 4th, we hosted our 6th annual event in memory of our daughter, Sara, to carry on her mission in helping those in need.  What another amazing day God has given us as we enjoyed fellowship with old friends and new!  We experienced a beautiful testimony from a gentleman named Gregory who has benefited from the love and support of L.I.V.I.N.G Ministries and SW4H.org.  His words were so inspiring; and he could not wait to tell his homeless friends about our event and to “never give up, there are people out there that love and care for you.”   What a blessing Gregory was to all of us!  A special thanks to our mobilization team for posting the lovely bulletin boards announcing our event. We realize that none of this could be done without all of you; so please keep Sara’s mission in prayer and know that God is in control. We give Him all the Glory!   

Expanding the Family with Thanks

by Doug Rehberg

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’” Luke 17:15-18
Throughout His three-year ministry, Jesus asks 60% more questions than He is asked (307 to 183 to be exact). And here Luke gives us three of them in rapid succession. The reason? Jesus is incredulous! He’s on His way to Jerusalem. He’s headed to the cross. And on His way He hears ten lepers shouting, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Luke tells us that when Jesus sees them He says to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they go they are healed. But one of them, before he makes it to the priests, turns back to thank Jesus. And that one is a Samaritan.
To the Jews the Samaritans were the consummate outsiders. No Jew was permitted to speak to a Samaritan. Marriage between Jews and Samaritans was strictly forbidden. The Jews had antipathy for the Samaritans, as seen in the disciples’ reaction to the Samaritan rebuff in Luke 9:54. But have you ever noticed the prominence Jesus gives to the Samaritans? Whether it’s the woman at the well (John 4), the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), the one returning leper (Luke 17), or the Jews’ accusation in John 8:48, Jesus elevates the position of the Samaritans as those worthy of particular note.
I have thought about all of this a lot lately in the wake of Dean Hood’s death. On April 16, 27-year-old Dean Michael Hood was killed by a drunk driver in Austin, Texas. Now Dean was no stranger to Hebron. During his teenage years, Dean and his twin brother, David, were a part of “the Rock” -  Hebron’s youth ministry. Dean and David were fixtures at Penn Hills events throughout their high school years. They are the sons of J.C. and Mindy Hood, and the nephew of Carole Hood of our congregation.
A week after Dean’s death we were given the distinct honor and privilege of partnering with Trenz Funeral Home in holding a six-hour visitation for family and friends in the Barclay Building. On Monday, April 12, nearly 800 people visited the Barclay Building to pay their respects. The next day, several hundred family and friends gathered in the sanctuary for a memorial service honoring the life of Dean Hood and remembering the promises of the Gospel.
But it’s not what Hebron was able to do for the Hoods that has captured my attention in the last three weeks—it was a blessing for all of us who were able to serve them in some way. What has captured my attention is what J.C. and Mindy want to do for us. I have rarely seen a greater outpouring of appreciation and gratitude than what they have shown. Here they are, virtual outsiders to the life and ministry of Hebron Church, and yet their generosity and desire to say, “Thank You” is overwhelming.
In addition to many expressions of thankfulness J.C. and Mindy have already shown, on Sunday, June 3rd, they will play a major role in our Patio Dedication event by supplying and staffing a food truck right off the Fellowship Hall and next to the new Youth Patio. For several years J.C. and Mindy have partnered with  Pittsburgh Smokehouse Custom Bar-B-Que to provide award-winning food at food festivals across Western Pennsylvania. Their desire is to say, “Thank You” by feeding us some of their culinary delights. Our desire is to get to know them better and express our deepest love and appreciation. What a joy it is to see the Lord expand His family! Through all of the pain and suffering, and an event that none of us could ever have imagined, Jesus is growing His family and we all are a part of it.

Make sure you mark Sunday, June 3, on your calendar. See you at the food truck!

June 3 Open House: Baccalaureate & Patio Dedication Sunday

We are excited to announce that the new patio adjacent to the youth wing, started last fall, is now complete. The area will be used for cookouts, campfires (there is a small portable fire pit), outside study sessions, and just hanging out. A sturdy fence has been erected on the Frankstown Road side for safety and screening. Landscaping (not completed as we write this) should all be in place by then.
Many of you have said that you’ve never had reason to visit the youth area—and haven’t seen its recent renovations. We are excited to provide an opportunity for a guided tour of this significant spot where our youth meet each week. Monies for these renovations came from memorial gifts both large and small given in honor of past members and friends.
Tours will begin with coffee and iced tea available in Fellowship Hall right after the 9:15 service. The Pittsburgh Smokehouse Food Truck will serve lunch beginning at 11:00 am and will continue through 1:00 pm. Brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, mac ’n cheese, cole slaw, and smoked bacon haluski will be served. All food truck items are donated by the Hood family.
We will be honoring our High School seniors at the 9:15 and 10:45 services. The official patio dedication ceremony takes place around noon, when those attending the 10:45 service arrive.
Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with other Hebron members, show your support for our high school seniors and student ministry, and enjoy some delicious food!