From meager beginnings, The Bible Chapel thriving 50 years later
In its 50th year, The Bible Chapel continues to grow.
The non-denominational church has about 4,000 members, 3,300 of them in Peters and the others at satellite locations in Robinson, Washington and Wilkinsburg.
Services also are streamed online.
Just 11 adults attended the first worship service in June 1965 of what then was known as St. Clair Bible Chapel.
“Over the past 15 years, we've steadily grown,” said Scott Arvay, the church's executive pastor. “With Pittsburgh being community-centric, we've had to do more outreach, which has helped.”
Also, “with Marcellus shale development, we're also receiving interest from people moving from the Bible Belt for work.”
In Peters, the chapel has a 1,450-seat worship center built in 2006, as well as an Educational Activity Center where classes, conferences and other events are held.
A sports ministry offers basketball, cheerleading and flag football to boys and girls in kindergarten through sixth grade.
“Sports are a big draw,” said coach Paul Schaeber, 37.
Susie Garin, 37, said the Bible school her three children attend is much larger than the one she took part in about 30 years ago at the church.
“There were maybe 75 kids then,” Garin said. “One family would run it. Now, there are (hundreds of) kids.”
Retired Elder Harry Obley, 80, is impressed by the growth.
“There are more bells and whistles, but the doctrine is the same,” said Obley, who joined the chapel in the late 1960s.
“The music is contemporary, but the teachings haven't changed,” said Dan Gabriel, 65, a member since 1993.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.