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'Forget About The Walls': Destruction Of Sheraden Church Doesn't Stop 130-Year-Old Congregation From Worshipping

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A fire destroyed a church in the city's Sheraden neighborhood on Monday.

On Sunday, the congregation gathered on the church grounds to pray and worship, as they have for the past 130 years.

"It's a cornerstone of the community," Kiwanis Club of Sheraden President Shawn Smith said. The Kiwanis Club has met in the church for the past 3 years.

"I was born here. I grew up here. I was baptized here," lifelong parishioner Pat Moorby said. "All my kids were baptized here."

This week was a bit different than a normal service. Instead of church pews, it was B.Y.O.C., bring your own chair. They sat underneath the morning sun to have one final service at the church.

"A way to praise God for all the years we've had here," Sheraden United Methodist Church Associate Pastor Roberta Farls said. "A way to say goodbye."

On this Sunday, no one's faith mattered. It was a gathering for the Sheradan community, and a chance for community clubs and programs that used to church to say thanks.

"There's a lot of people that aren't even members of this church," said Bob Chamberlin, who was part of that group.

shearden church fire destruction
(Photo Credit: Shawn Smith)

"I can't believe all these people are here," Moorby said while seated in her chair. "It's so nice. It's such a nice thing to do."

This will be the final service here for quite some time. After the damage it suffered, the church will be torn down and rebuilt. One of the few things to make it out was a bible that sat on the altar during the blaze. On Sunday morning, it sat at the head of the service.

"It's kind of a symbol of hope during this tragedy," Smith said.

Pastor Farls believes this fire could help spread the church's message and outreach beyond the brick and mortar building on Chartiers Avenue.

"It could be to push the congregation further into the community and forget about the walls," she said.

The Kiwanis Club served a picnic to the community after the service.

The congregation will continue to be able to practice their faith at the Christ Community Church in McKees Rocks.

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