Bellevue U.P. Church gets interior facelift

“When we were doing our exterior facelift around four years ago,” Rev. Catherine Purves, minister of Bellevue United Presbyterian Church, recalled, “people kept asking if we were going to sandblast the stone too.” “No way,” she told them. “We earned that good Pittsburgh soot.” The blackened old church on Lincoln Avenue next to Bellevue Elementary has been a neighborhood institution for 109 years.

Anne Dihlman was a faithful member who had grown up in the church. When her adoptive parents died, the church became her family. And when Anne herself died in 2008, she left a very generous bequest to the church. The session of the congregation then had to decide what to do with the money. They voted to save 20 percent, to use 40 percent for new missions and ministry, and 40 percent for the restoration of the building that Anne loved. These funds are now being used for the redecoration of the sanctuary.

“People must have been thinner 100 years ago,” Purves commented. There is very little space separating the 50 carved oak pews in the sanctuary. Once the new carpeting is laid, the pews will be spaced a foot apart. This means that eight pews will be left over, and the church is offering them for sale (along with the original pew cushions) for $200 each (or best offer). Call the church office at (412-761-2367).

Once the sanctuary renovations are completed, the congregation is planning an open house and a service of dedication on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. All are welcome to come and see the restored sanctuary.

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