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Pastor Welcome Letter

Dear Friend,

Welcome to Bower Hill Community Church!

Every life has its own unique story with its own cast of characters, its own colorful backdrops, its own unique hopes, and joys, and boredoms. Our private stories are forever evolving and making us into the people we are. Churches have unique stories, too. For the past 60 years, the story of Bower Hill Church has been shaped by a "hands-on" kind of faith. We have never shied away from those sometimes-troubled issues where religious conviction and contemporary life intersect. In the 1950s, we housed the first Jewish synagogue in the South Hills. In the 1960s, we were among a very few churches in the Pittsburgh area to support the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1970s, we hired the second female pastor ever to be ordained by Pittsburgh Presbytery. That story of relevant, socially-conscious faith continues still today. Whether we're supplying fresh produce to downtown women's shelter or sending school supplies to orphans in Kenya, we believe that "faith without action is dead." (James 2:20)

The Bower Hill story also tells of a firm commitment to personal growth and discovery. We encourage people to explore their own beliefs and their own unique callings in life. Here in Mt. Lebanon, Bower Hill Church is known as a community of spiritual seekers. We don't claim to have all the answers about God and life. And yet, we remain grounded in our Presbyterian tradition and guided by the stories of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. In our own lives, we've discovered an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus. Ours is simply the task of equipping people for a life of joyful service, discovering for themselves what it means to have an encounter with God through Christ.

Our life together is a calling and a gift, nothing more. You don't have to dress in any particular way to be a part of our church. You don't have to think in any particular way. You don't have to believe in any particular way. You are welcomed as you are, who you are. We offer a full array of educational opportunities, social events, and service projects for people of every age. All of our activities center around the weekly celebration of worship, in which our relationships with each other are nurtured, our spirits are nourished for another week, and we are reminded that there's more to life--more to ourselves!--than the daily grind.

You have a story, too. At times our stories are joyful, at other times monotonous, or even touched with sorrow or fear, but always filled with traces of God's presence. We tend to share our stories in bits and pieces here at Bower Hill Church, as our relationships gradually deepen. We invite you to come and take part in that conversation. Together, our combined stories make up a bigger story, and that bigger story can make a difference in your life and in our world.

In Christ's Peace,

~Rev. Brian Snyder