| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

From meager beginnings, The Bible Chapel thriving 50 years later

By Karen Kadilak
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

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.



Show commenting policy

Allegheny Neighborhoods

  1. Placement of public car chargers needs to be revved up, experts say
  2. Public’s interest in space endures, Western Pa., national groups say
  3. Mt. Lebanon School District, municipality reach deal on turf field’s maintenance
  4. Cell tower plan puts South Park residents on edge
  5. Castle Shannon parish plans special Masses for 125th anniversary
  6. Mt. Lebanon School District moves $2M from reserve fund to capital budget
  7. Family’s reunion an opportunity to learn history of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s land, official say
  8. Young Achiever: Claire Conti
  9. Flash tattoo fundraiser to benefit North Hills Community Outreach
  10. Always-charming Oakmont celebrates 125 years
  11. Entrepreneur revives South Hills golf center, plans more projects
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.