About Our Church
Community of Reconciliation Church (COR) was founded in the midst of the 1960s' civil rights movement in the United States. The congregation grew out of the vision and commitment of Black and white clergy and congregations who were concerned about the racial divides that were reflected in the worship and membership of Pittsburgh churches.
Today we remain a multi-racial congregation, committed to spiritual growth and the pursuit of peace and justice in Christ’s name. We have leaders and members of all ages and religious backgrounds from across the Pittsburgh area, and we welcome active lay participation and leadership.
Our history: COR’s life as a congregation began in July 1968, when it was started as the worshiping body of University and City Ministries, an organization already engaged in campus, youth and children ministries in Oakland. COR’s first congregation was formed of clergy and lay people from First Presbyterian, Bellefield Presbyterian, and Grace Memorial Presbyterian Churches: two of them historically Caucasian churches, and one historically African American. Initial members moved their membership to COR for a one-year period, and many chose to stay after that.
Our connections to the wider church: As the congregation grew, its members and leaders sought to extend its commitment to inclusion in new ways. In the early 1980s, COR reached out to other Protestant denominations to build new relationships. In addition to its starting affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA), today COR is also a congregation in good standing with three other Protestant denominations: the Disciples of Christ, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.
Our recognition of the gifts of all of God's people: We began as an intentionally interracial church, and have always welcomed the leadership of men and women. In 2006 we further affirmed our commitment to be an inclusive congregation with an addition to our church covenant: "We invite the full participation of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or worldly condition in the life and ministry of our church.” Within each of our partner denominations, we are members of groups working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in life and ministry of the church.
Our worship and congregational structure: Our worship and congregational life reflect the traditions of our partner denominations. Worship includes a variety of elements and styles of music. We draw on a wide variety of voices through which to hear the word proclaimed: in addition to our pastor, who preaches regularly, trained lay preachers and preachers from the wider community often bring their own diverse insights to our pulpit. We celebrate two sacraments -- baptism and Communion -- and maintain an open Communion table to which all are welcome. Our congregation is led by a Council of lay persons who lead the congregation in decisions about how best to use our resources, supported by our pastor, who shares in that discernment. Congregation members vote on major decisions in the church's life and are encouraged to take an active role in our various ministries.
Our connections to the wider community: Members of COR are engaged in the community in a variety of ways. Our Salt Water mission team keeps us informed of local issues that need our advocacy, from matters of incarceration to those of police-community relations. We have a strong presence at the annual Racial Justice Summit held every January and at the PRIDE parade held each summer. The Commonwealth of Oakland, a new worshiping community for students and neighbors--housed and unhoused--holds a monthly free meal in our fellowship hall. We have a friendship with Congregation Dor Hadash, who joined us this year for an afternoon of singing songs of protest, change, and hope. We also work in partnership with and provide support to other local groups, including St. Paul’s Food Pantry, the Thomas Merton Center, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, and the Neighborhood Academy.