From the Pastor’s Desk

Having preached at many congregations in the Midwest, it wasn’t uncommon for some of them to ask, “Can you play the piano?” Many smaller congregations have no one or only one member who can play the church piano or organ.

I don’t play the piano, so during some worship services in smaller congregations we’d sing the hymns a cappella, with no musical accompaniment. That’s an authentic way to worship God, but what a blessing when congregations have a talented musician (or a dozen or so) to help us make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Since September of 2012 Ruthfred has been blessed to have Fred Schell, a Juilliard-trained musician, as our organist! We praise God for Fred, as we’ve praised God with Fred all these years. What a dear friend and brother in Christ!

Over these years, since Ruthfred’s former organist, DeWayne Kanagy, passed away, while Fred has been our organist, Fred hasn’t served alone. Talented musicians like Essi Efthimiou, Sibyl Mose, Peggy Arelt, and others, have filled in when Fred was unable to play. Considering the complexity of that magnificent instrument, Ruthfred is blessed to have so many musicians who can play it.

As Ruthfred reflects on the blessing of Fred Schell’s faithful years of service as our organist, let’s thank God for Fred. Let’s pray for Bob Vogel and our church leaders as they consider how to fill such a large void in our church staff, in our worship services, and in our hearts.

Love in Christ,

Pastor McMinn


From the Parish Assistant

Staff News

April 20 was the one-year anniversary of Felicia Rieck’s employment at Ruthfred Lutheran Church. Felicia has blessed our congregation in numerous ways these past 12 months and has been a joyful addition to the staff. She graciously handles any task thrown her way with professionalism, enthusiasm, and joy! We are grateful for the smiles she brings and the tremendous support she offers to all of us.

Journey Through the Word: That’s a Wrap…

Journey Through the Word wrapped up the year with the annual End of the Year Brunch that was held on April 19. The Brunch featured guest speaker and acclaimed Pittsburgh artist Linda Barnicott. It was a wonderful morning of Fellowship for those who have spent the past 8 months studying the Word of God together on Wednesday mornings.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming Summer Session of JTTW–“The Great Journey Through the Word Summer Film Festival”–beginning on June 14 at 10:00 a.m. More details to come in future Ruthfred Reflections.


This Week at Ruthfred

Tuesday (4/25) St. Mark, Evangelist
7:00 p.m.—Worship Team
7:00-9:00 p.m.—VBS Decorating Meeting

Wednesday (4/26)
6:00-8:00 p.m.—Confirmation Fun Night
6:30 p.m.—Bell Choir (final rehearsal until Fall)
7:30 p.m.—Senior Choir

Thursday (4/27)
10:00—Knit Wits

Friday (4/28)
7:00 a.m.—Men’s Prayer Group (Fireside Lounge)

Sunday (4/30) 3rd Sunday after Easter
8:30 a.m.—Worship Service
9:45 a.m.—Sunday School
11:00 a.m.—Worship Service
Recognition of Confirmation Students at both Worship Services
Church Anniversary Sunday

Announcements Re-Cap

Known to be hospitalized: Joanne Salvetti—Magee Women’s Hospital. Caryl Hansen—now at Paramount Senior Living, Room 328. Bob Bohaski (surgery)—St. Clair Hospital. Please support them with your prayers and cards.

Prayers for Recovery and Healing: Linda Donolo (broken leg & hip replacement). Linda is currently in Florida. Send cards to: 307 Reynolds Ct., Naples, FL 34112. Sylvia Fitzgerald—broken leg. Amy Taylor—upcoming rotator cuff surgery. Amy Jones (Al Malone’s daughter)—broken pelvis. Her address is 1216 Valley St., McKees Rocks, PA 15136. Carol McDowell—knee replacement. Virginia DiSalvo—internal bleeding. Lundy Castro (Jen Carlson’s father)—his cancer continues to spread. Jen Carlson—gall bladder surgery. Erna Jochum—Concordia Health Center Room 283. Please keep them in your prayers, as well as all those in the Ruthfred family who are facing health or other challenges.

Condolences: Our pastor and congregation extend Christian love and sympathy to Margery Schell and her family on the passing of her husband, Fred, our faithful organist since 2012, on Friday, April 21, 2023. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please click here to read Fred’s obituary. Visitation for Fred will be today from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Schepner-McDermott Funeral Home. His funeral will be tomorrow at Saints Simon and Jude Roman Catholic Church in Greentree.

Condolences: Our pastor and congregation extend Christian love and sympathy to Marie Wilmer’s family. Marie, who had been a member at Ruthfred since 2000, passed away in Hilliard, OH, on Thursday, April 20, 2023. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please click here to read Marie’s obituary. There is no visitation or funeral service planned. Marie will be buried this morning in Ohio.

Meals on Wheels Collection: Our neighbors at Meals on Wheels, located at Grace Lutheran Church in South Park, need bottled salad dressings. Donations will be accepted until June 4th. Their preferred purchase places are Aldi’s or The Dollar Store. Please place these items in the appropriate bin outside the kitchen. They are grateful for any donation! If you have any questions, please contact Carol Ward. Thank you!

Open Church Council Position: The position of Secretary is currently open. The primary duty is to record minutes from the monthly meetings. If you have an interest in serving in this capacity, please contact Mark Riley, Council President, at

XYZers: The next meeting will be Friday, April 28th. The program will be presented by Susan Kimmel Wright, author and Ruthfred member. The sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board outside the Library. Please join us for a wonderful lunch catered by Peggy Cox and a thought-provoking program! This will be the last meeting until September.

VBS 2023: Dates are July 24-28. The theme this year will be “Twists and Turns.” Come and learn how following Jesus will help you through life’s twists and turns. Registration is open at: This link allows parents to register their children for this fun event and also allows volunteers to sign up to help make VBS a success! Please note that all volunteers age 18 and older must have current clearances in order to serve with children and youth at VBS, Sunday School, and youth events. Clearances expire after 5 years. Contact Felicia Rieck in the church office for more information.

VBS Decorating 2023: This year decorating is an in-house project. We meet each Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. on the stage in the Fellowship Hall. These meetings will continue until the decorations are completed. Please consider supporting this important ministry. If you have any questions, please contact Jason or Donna Weighley.

Preschool Registration is now open for the 2023-2024 school year. Register online at Contact: with any questions or to schedule a tour.
Employment Opportunity at Ruthfred: Do you have a heart for the youngest in our Church family? We have a need for a nursery worker during the 8:30 a.m. service and Sunday School. Please contact Shane Cox if you can help.

National Day of Prayer: Please join us on Thursday, May 4th, at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. in the Adult Sunday School Room to pray for America. We will have a guided, informal time of prayer in a group (or groups) for approximately 45-60 minutes. Come and lift up your prayers vocally or silently.

College Graduates: It is that time of year when we want to recognize our graduates. Please let the church office know of any college or graduate school students who will be graduating this Spring. Please include name of student, name of college, date of graduation, and degree. We will be highlighting these students in future bulletins.

High School Graduates: Ruthfred will celebrate our high school graduates on Sunday, June 11th. We hope you are able to join us that day to receive a blessing from the church as well as a special, personalized gift.

Save the Date—Parents’ Date Night: Mark June 16th in your calendars for this event! This is a babysitting event and parents get to go out and have fun!!! We play games, sing songs, have a Bible lesson, feed the kiddos dinner, and have a snack while watching a movie. There will be a short planning meeting following the 11:00 service on May 7th for those interested in helping.

Lutherans for Life Quote: “Our true identity turns us back toward our Creator, the one who not only made us but also defines us in His Word. So, permit me to remind you of that truth once more: You are a created child of God. You are handmade by Him, loved by Him, redeemed by Him, and sustained by Him. The gifts you possess are gifts He’s given you; all that is good comes from Him. Your identity and your value are, always were, and always will be, found in Him.” — Michelle Bauman, Y4Life

Special Congregational Meeting

A special congregational meeting has been requested and will occur on May 9th at 6:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. The agenda will consist of an executive briefing by our attorney that will provide additional context to the January 15, 2023, congregational letter, an elder-led discussion addressing congregational concerns submitted to the council by the members who requested the meeting, and a discussion of council actions and plans to improve and strengthen our child protection policies and procedures. A letter of meeting notification and agenda has been mailed to all members of the congregation.