Faith Through It All

Photographer John Beale shows creative worship during the pandemic.

Pittsburgh in Crisis

Editor’s note: 2020 has been full of calamity and adversity and it’s only June. Whether the pandemic and unprecedented economic shutdown or the more recent protests that have erupted here and across the world, the ordeals have ushered in a year that’s been unrecognizable from any that preceded it.  Photographer John Beale has captured images …

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Who Is Most Affected When Places of Worship Close?

The closing of churches, synagogues and other places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic affects the practices of nearly 2 in 3 Allegheny County residents. But the hardship is not evenly shared. Hardest hit are residents who regularly attend religious services, such as those who attend every day or at least once a week. In …

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Signs of the Times

The coronavirus has posed problems for every corner of society, and as we saw over Easter weekend, churches have been no exception. Yet, whether blessing people in drive-through lines, using social media or the radio, during this Holy Week pastors have used every means at their disposal to keep close to their flocks. And as …

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A New Church Grows in Troubled Towns

It’s Sunday morning at Rust City Church and Pastor Sam Yacoub is on stage talking about his mom’s pension problems. “She retired from Delphi, with the promise of a pension and she retired thinking, ‘I’m going to spend time with my grandbabies and enjoy it,’” says Yacoub, dressed in a black baseball cap, denim jacket …

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Tim Smith, Pastor and Founder of Center of Life

My mother’s name was Emma Liaura Muskelly and my father’s name was Virlie—Virlie Joseph Smith. Mom was from Pittsburgh, one of nine children, and worked in many of the schools that my siblings and I attended, tutoring, doing teacher’s-aide stuff, and lunchroom work. Dad was from Virginia, a little place about 45 minutes from Roanoke …

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My Flawed Church: A Treasure in an Earthen Vessel

Pittsburgh Catholics have had a really tough year. Changing the parish configurations of churches around the city at the same time we Catholics were dealing with the painful grand jury report was one crisis too many. Our home parishes were shuffled, our beloved priests reassigned, Sunday Mass schedules upended. Meetings and activities took place to …

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What’s Right, What’s Left?

So much of modern culture seems bent on eliminating humanity from life itself. In many instances, this is identified as progress. But is it? Consider the current attitude toward handwriting, i.e., cursive. In many of our schools there is no longer any emphasis on the handwritten word. When I asked my grandson recently if handwriting …

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Synagogues Around the World

For the past seven years, a Pittsburgh photographer has been working on a personal project: Capturing the beauty of synagogues in Europe. Experience the architecture and history of synagogues from Prague, Budapest, Kracow, Amsterdam, Venice, and Florence in this photo collection by David Aschkenas. View more of David Aschkenas’s work at

Offering a Way Out

There are about two dozen men—black, white, young, old—gathered in a well-lit commercial space that occupies 704 Main Street, Sharpsburg. In the front window is a white cross with an orange life preserver draped over it that reads Jesus Saves Lives. Anchored against the interior wall, in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors hangs a wooden cross—about …

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Off the Wall

Passing the little yellow Romanesque church next to Rt. 28 outside Pittsburgh, most drivers don’t give it a thought. Perched on a hill overlooking the highway, St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale is not grand — its pews seat 350 worshippers — but inside is one of the region’s most interesting artistic creations. St. …

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