St. Brendan's is an active parish with numerous ministries going on all the time. We continually seek to serve God and support each other by putting our faith in action--in our own church community and in our larger community. Whether it is picking up trash on the highway, cooking meals for homeless women, volunteering with our English as a Second Language class, participating in our book club, or visiting those in need, there is something for everyone. New ministries are formed throughout the year as members are called to respond to changing needs in our community and in the world. We also have frequent short-term outreach projects an fun activities, so keep an eye on our newsletter, the Little Log, for additional opportunities.
Read about our many ministries below. Looking for other ways to get involved? Check out our worship ministries, adult formation opportunities, and Children and youth programs too.
St. Brendan's Ministries
Adopt-a-Highway is one of St. Brendan’s oldest community ministries. Four times a year, parish volunteers get together on a Saturday morning and pick up trash along the Camp Horne interchange of Interstate 279, which is several miles from the church. Anyone age 14 and up may participate, and our crews pick up anywhere from one dozen to three dozen bags of trash during a cleanup. The effort usually takes about two hours.
Members of St. Brendan’s Book Club meet monthly in the church library to discuss the pre-selected book and choose future reading topics. Meetings are typically held on the First Thursday of each month. All are always welcome, so please join us for some fun, fellowship, and fiction (usually)!
In the spirit of St. Brendan the Navigator, the church's hiking group, Brendan's Boots, hits the trail once or twice a month to enjoy nature, fresh air, and fellowship. This is a great way to exercise our bodies & well-being as well as appreciate God's gifts around us. Each hike begins with a meet in the Church parking lot at 9 am and then lunch typically follows the hike.
Children are a cherished part of St. Brendan’s, and we encourage our children and youth to be an active part of our community through worship, service, and socializing. On any given Sunday, you’ll see kids serving as acolytes or ushers, singing in the children’s choir, playing in the chime choir, helping plant and harvest food in the Garden of Hope, collecting donations for the food pantry, and participating in numerous other projects and events at St. Brendan’s. Sunday school classes for children ages 4 through 5th grade occur at 10 am every Sunday during the school year, except for the fourth Sunday of the month, when they participate in the children's liturgy. Youth in 6th through 9th grades are invited to join our youth group, which meets the first and third Monday of each month at 7:15 pm.
At its inception, St. Brendan's made a vow to always allot 10% of our church's operation Income for outreach purposes. This group is called CRIES (Christian Response in Emergency Situations) Advocacy, so named because its intent is to hear the cries of those near and far who are in need. Any member can be a part of this committee and/or suggest where the money should be donated. The committee meets monthly to vote on distribution.
ESL Conversation Friends is a St. Brendan’s ministry that reaches out to adult immigrants in our community who are looking for opportunities to improve their English skills (with a special emphasis on conversational English). Classes are free of charge and open to people from all nations and all religious and economic backgrounds. We offer classes three days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. and Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.). Our volunteer instructors are drawn from St. Brendan's and from surrounding communities. The Program is affiliated with, and receives expert help from, Literacy Pittsburgh.
Feeding the Spirit
Every month, we ask members to donate food items to the North Hills Food Bank located at Hiland Presbyterian Church on Perry Highway. Look for the monthly posters in the narthex depicting the current month’s request. The donations are blessed before delivery to our neighbors.
At St. Brendan’s we’re keenly aware that many of our neighbors struggle with food insecurity and lack of access to fresh produce. Through our Garden of Hope, we provide fresh produce to the North Hills Food Bank. Parishioners of all ages, including many of our children and youth, contribute to this effort by maintaining the garden, planting seeds, watering, weeding, and harvesting.
The Green Thumb Gang ministers to the grounds and exterior of St. Brendan’s every fall, spring and at least once during the summer. We take care of the gardens, engage in small landscaping projects, perform minor maintenance on the outside of the building, prepare the outdoor chapel for summer worship, and maintain the reverence and beauty of the memorial garden. Anyone who enjoys gardening, the outdoors, or simply fellowship is welcome. Work days are announced in advance in the Little Log.
Our congregation is supporting a fellow St. Brendanite from Haiti who collects items such as clothes, sewing machines, cooking items. etc. that were put onto a truck to be shipped to Haiti. Now he has two school buses which will be filled and shipped to the northern rural area of Haiti where he has friends who will handle the items when they arrive. St. Brendan's helps to collect the items for this project and has given him some financial help to assist his expense of buying the vehicles and shipping them.
Meals for Miryam's
The first Sunday of each month, we cook a nutritious meal for homeless or otherwise vulnerable women. The women reside at the Bethlehem Haven home and receive supportive services such as meals, toiletries, case management, referrals, legal services, and social activities through the Miryam´s Day Program
St. Brendan's has a small Memorial Garden at the rear of the church, just outside the chapel doors. This can be a resting place for any active parishioners who wish to be interred here upon their death. The names of everyone whose remains are part of our garden are added to a plaque in our parish chapel. They will also be given a page in our remembrance book.
Merry Meal Makers (M and Ms)
The Merry Meal Makers are a group of volunteers who prepare (or buy) meals and deliver them to parishioners who have recently had surgery, lost a loved one, or have another need for which a meal, a smile, and a kind word can help.
The Justice Ministry was established to answer God's call by working for equality, justice, and transformation. We support and encourage civic responsibility, the reduction of gun violence, immigration, and the stewardship of our earth. During our monthly meetings, we collaboratively decide to promote projects that support our mission. All are welcome to join us.
St. Brendan’s Spirituality Mission began in February 2021. Still within the pandemic, a group of Brendanites felt like we needed one more way to explore our spirituality, which is a way to enhance the quality of life for individuals during times of challenge and transition. So, this Ministry was born. Our definition of Spirituality is a pathway meant to take us out of ourselves. It can be an activity, an event or a practice that reminds us that everyone and everything is connected, like the threads in a tapestry. It could be anything that embraces our connection to God, to each other, to nature, and to all of God’s creatures. To this end, we are doing our best to have activities once a month that support this. We have walked a labyrinth together, participated in Forest Bathing, the meditation/walk at the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, and the Native American Pow Wow to learn about that culture and spirituality. Some future activities that are under consideration are a centering meditation, drumming circle, a silent retreat and visiting a local Zen center.
St. Brendan's Scholarship Program
The scholarship program was launched in 1996 with a generous gift by late parishioner Dorsey Doddroe. Grants are not based on financial need or academic performance, but on the level of a student's involvement at church. Since the program's inception, 76 grants have helped 32 St. Brendan's students who are enrolled in full - time post -secondary education. Although the scholarship fund has no dedicated fundraiser, parishioners can help sustain it through occasional contributions in the Sunday church plate or at the church office. People are also needed to serve on the interviewing committee.
Sticks and Strings
We meet once a month on the 2nd Thursday sharing enjoyment of knitting, crocheting, embroidery and occasionally mending. We always advise people to bring something easy as conversation gets lively, and it’s sometimes hard to pay attention to details! It is fun and is also helpful, when you are stuck on a project,. There are always people who can give help and advice. Many of the knitted items are donated to those in our Outreach programs, such as winter scarves for needy children and seniors who are cared for by Family Links or dolls for children in less fortunate countries. The bears pictured to the left are for Jeremiah's Place, a crisis nursery in Pittsburgh. Additionally, members create items to be sold at our Annual Holiday Arts & Craft Sale and Cookie Walk.
Every five weeks Brendanites help to staff the Walk -In Ministry at Trinity Cathedral downtown, feeding and clothing 70 to 90 desperately needy people. You can help by donating children or adult diapers; new, white athletic socks and underwear for women and men; toothpaste, razors and travel size cans of shaving cream. Please leave donations in the wicker basket outside Regis’s office.