New rector at St. Brendan
A priest who served as a chaplain at Virginia Tech at the time of the 2007 mass shooting there is the new rector at St. Brendan's Episcopal Church in Franklin Park.
The Rev. D. Scott Russell will be installed during a service at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8.
The Rev. Dorsey McConnell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, will lead the service in the sanctuary of the church, which is at 2365 McAleer Road in Franklin Park.
Russell, who lives in Ohio Township and likes to be known as Father Scott, has been at St. Brendan's since the end of October. During the installation service, the bishop symbolically will unite the church with its new pastoral leader, Russell said.
“It's not quite a wedding, but it's an official launch,” he said.
Before coming to St. Brendan's, Russell, 45, spent 10 years serving as the associate rector at Christ Church in Blacksburg, Va., and simultaneously acted as a chaplain at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also known as Virginia Tech.
He worked there at the time of the shootings on April 16, 2007, in which 32 people were killed and several were wounded before the gunman fatally turned a weapon on himself.
“It was devastating,” Russell said.
“A lot of our parishioners were professors. Another was a student who lost five friends and a professor. It shook me a lot as a priest and as a human. I tried to be a comforting presence because I couldn't fix (what had happened). God is in the aftermath, in the people who are caring for the victims and their families. We were God's agents of healing.”
Russell grew up in Baltimore, where his father served as a United Methodist pastor.
“I grew up Methodist,” he said. “But during a visit to an Episcopalian church, I found that the formal liturgical style of the Episcopalians really spoke to me. I felt a real connection, a real resonance.”
Ordained in 2002, he attended Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry in Ambridge, where he earned a master of divinity degree, and he served as a seminarian and then as deacon at Church of the Nativity in Crafton.
This latest move brings him back to Pennsylvania and closer to his parents, who live in Scranton.
At St. Brendan's, Russell said, his main job is helping the church community focus its time, energy and financial resources on outreach and Christian education.
“We were looking for an energetic rector who had ideas for enfranchising all age groups,” said Jim Gray, 64, of Pine Township, a 15-year member of St. Brendan's who led the search committee in its nine-month recruitment period for a new rector to replace the Rev. William Pugliese, who had led the congregation for the five years before retiring.
“The search committee felt that Father Scott would meet our needs and expectations. We were attracted to his energy, his clear belief in how to express his love for the Episcopal style, and his personality that accentuated communication and commitment.”
St. Brendan's was established in 1987 as a mission church out of Christ Episcopal Church, North Hills, which is in Ross Township.
The 300-member congregation has been led by two permanent rectors and an interim rector prior to Russell's arrival.
Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
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.
- Shaler, surrounding communities remember Ava, support Campbell family
- Kuhns Market in Hampton set to open one week before Thanksgiving
- Hampton HS blood drive to honor 4-year-old Hampton resident fighting cancer
- Pine-Richland hires transporation director
- Allison Park pastor leads effort to help others launch new churches
- Shaler woman to make TV debut on Cooking Channel show
- Shenot Farm in Marshall transforms into Haunted Expedition
- Community raillies to support injured Etna businessman
- Halloween event to benefit park improvements in Ross