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New Plum church focused on reaching those in need

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, 12:45 p.m.
Pastor Allan Drake of the Living Word Christian Fellowship in Plum, welcomes Alan Matta and his son Jordan, 19, to the Sunday morning, August 12, service at the Plum Community Center.  Lillian DeDomenic  |  For The Tribune Review
Pastor Allan Drake of the Living Word Christian Fellowship in Plum, welcomes Alan Matta and his son Jordan, 19, to the Sunday morning, August 12, service at the Plum Community Center. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune Review

A new nondenominational church has formed in Plum.

Living Word of Plum formally held its first services this month at the Plum Community Center.

“It’s very exciting,” the Rev. Allan Drake said. “Everything is going very well. We’re trying to do things in a fresh, more casual way. (It’s) less formal worship. People can dress in jeans or wear shorts, however they want to come to church.”

Living Word was started by a dozen Presbyterians who wanted to develop a church that was less political and more focused on reaching out to people in need.

Resident Ed Ray was one of those people.

“We feel we are doing what God wants to do because he’s certainly blessed us with the support we’re getting from the community and outside the community,” said Ray, the church secretary. “It’s been amazing. We want to be involved with Plum, and we feel a calling to do a mission within Plum. We’re starting to work our way through that.”

He said the group first met in February to start the church, which will eventually become Presbyterian under the Evangelical Covenant Order denomination.

Drake, a former pastor of Plum Creek Presbyterian Church, was hired as Living Word’s religious leader at the end of May.

They had several meetings at the Masonic Hall along Saltsburg Road before an agreement was reached with the center in late June.

Center Executive Director Karen Hochberg said the church has a one-year lease with the venue for a little less than $10,000.

“They’ve been very professional,” Hochberg said. “They’re a means for the center to diversify revenue. They’re lovely residents of Plum, and so far they’ve kept the bingo people happy.”

Bingo is held on Mondays.

Resident Michael John Devine III was baptized at the first service on Aug. 5. More than 90 people attended. Between 70 and 80 people became official parishioners since then.

“We are very pleased with the attendance,” Ray said. “The community center has treated us really nice. Karen’s been very helpful and very supportive. We ultimately want to build a building or buy a building. We’ve committed ourselves to a year, and by that time we’ll have a feel of where we want to go and the finances we have. We’re just kicking off.”

Services are 11 a.m. Sundays.

Drake said people “looking for a Presbyterian church that is fresh, that is different, but also maintains a traditional understanding of scripture would really enjoy this congregation.”

More information is available at or call Ed Ray at 412-841-7304 or church treasurer Gloria Mayo at 412-527-5907.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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