Small Groups

At Calvary, our small groups form naturally out of the interests and needs of our community. There is always a new small group popping up as our congregation is growing. Explore our groups and how to get involved.

Ugly Quilt Project Sleeping Bag Ministry

  • Monday Nights
  • 6:00-8:00pm
  • Calvary Fellowship Hall
Ugly Quilt Project Photo Gallery

The sleeping bag ministry will begin its 2016 season on Monday, September 12 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. We gather in the basement (Fellowship Hall) of Calvary UMC at 6:00pm, share a meal, and get to work by 6:30pm. The sleeping bags are made from recycled materials, stuffed with personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, hats and gloves then distributed to nearby homeless shelters. The team is also working on plastic mats made from plastic grocery bags, so you can see there is plenty to do. No sewing experience needed; if you can tie a knot, you can make a sleeping bag! Please consider joining us on Monday evenings. Questions? Please contact Lynn Sevick or Joan Bradley. Thank you!

Ugly Quilt Project

On Monday evenings from 6:00-8:00pm, September through November and January through April, you will find several of Calvary's members gathered in Calvary's Fellowship Hall to make sleeping bags for those who live on the streets in Pittsburgh. Calvary's Missions Team has teamed with "My Brother's Keeper" to make sleeping bags out of recycled materials for the homeless.

"My Brother's Keeper" (a.k.a. "The Ugly Quilt Project") began over 30 years ago at the home of Flo and Jim Wheatley. Flo and her 13 year old son, Leonard, had to travel to New York City from Hop Bottom, PA for Leonard's cancer treatments. During one of those visits, Flo was struggling to carry her luggage through the rain while caring for her sick son who was vomiting on the streets of New York City. As people rushed by them, a complete stranger, a homeless man, stopped and said to Flo, "Lady, you need help." He carried Flo's luggage to her destination, then turned to her and said, "Please don't abandon me." He walked out of Flo's life as quickly as he had entered it. Flo felt a need to pay the man back and the idea of making sleeping bags from recycled materials was born. Since that day over 30 years ago, "My Brother's Keeper" has grown and there are sewing groups all over the country. And we are happy to report that Leonard is alive and well and living in Hop Bottom, PA near his parents.

This past year, Calvary's sleeping bag group delivered over 70 sleeping bags to homeless shelters in the Pittsburgh area, most of which have gone to Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side and Shepherd's Heart Veteran's Home on Pride Street near Mercy Hospital. The group stuffs each of the ugly quilts with a health kit that includes travel-sized shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, hats, and gloves when available.

The group ends each gathering with Flo's Roll-Up Prayer over the sleeping bags:

"Lord, take the work of our hands and bless it and in Thy name, let the person that receives this gift know that he is loved. Amen."

Old Blankets Needed
We are in need of old blankets that can be recycled into sleeping bags for the homeless. Please consider donating old blankets to our project. Please see Lynn Sevick if you have any questions.

Plastic Bags Needed
We are in need of plastic bags that can be crocheted into mats for sleeping bags for the homeless. 500 to 700 plastic bags are needed for each mat. Please bring them to the church.

Crocheters Needed to Make Sleep Mats for the Sleeping Bags
The group that makes the quilts for the homeless is looking for persons who are able to crochet. There are directions for using the plastic grocery bags to crochet a plastic mat which keeps the quilts off the ground keeping the quilt drier. There are already rolls of "plastic yarn" ready to be used and needles are available. If you can crochet or want to learn please contact Joan Bradley. We would love to give a plastic mat with every quilt but are in desperate need of persons who crochet.

  • You will need approximately 500-700 plastic grocery bags for each mat.
  • You will need a crochet hook, size M or larger.
  • Finished size is 24 X 72 inches.
  • To make the "yarn", smooth out the grocery bag, fold it in half lengthwise twice and cut off seamed bottom and top handles/hanging tabs. Fold in half and cut across, repeat. This will give you 4 loops. Take a loop and insert another loop, then bring the rest through to attach (remember how you strung rubber bands together as a child?). Repeat then wind your "string" of connected loops into a ball. Don't make the ball too big to handle. I usually work with one full bag of grocery bags and make three or four balls out of it then repeat until I run out of bags.
  • Make the mat chain 72 inches using the doubled looped strands of grocery bags. Single crochet until the mat is 24 inches wide.
  • To make a carrying strap, chain a length long enough to go around the rolled mat and slide on, connect that chain into a loop with a single crochet then chain a length long enough to cross your back, go over your shoulder and reach the other end of the mat. Chain an additional length equal to the first loop and attach with a single crochet.
  • YouTube videos are online for viewing. Simple Google "sleeping mats for the homeless" or you can watch this tutorial here - Plastic Bag Sleeping Mats for the Homeless Tutorial.

Calvary United Methodist Women

Meetings are typically held the first Saturday of each month at 10:00am in the Calvary Fellowship Hall (Watch the church calendar for meeting updates. Meetings are held at the parsonage during the winter months.)

Come join Calvary’s first United Methodist Women chapter in over 35 years. This group is open to all women of the Church and community. Calvary United Methodist Women is the local church chapter of the international United Methodist Women organization. The organization supports the needs of women and children across the world through local and global initiatives.

Bible Studies

Multiple study groups meet throughout the year with themes running through every month or so. Rev. Larry Homitsky, Rev. Ellie Laws, and others lead our Bible studies, which have focused on topics such as the parables of Jesus, dreams in the Bible, the Gospels, Psalms, the women of the Bible, and more.

Bible Study with Rev. Larry Homitsky & Steve Tuell

  • Wednesday Nights
  • 6:30pm
  • Calvary Chapel

Join us as we study Jonah over the next 3 weeks beginning January 11th. The title will be "Reading Jonah as a Comedy." Specifically, we will be reading Jonah together with Wesley's understanding of God's prevenient (Jonah 1), Justifying (Jonah 3), and Sanctifying (Jonah 4) Grace - what Frederick Buechner called the “astonishing, gratuitous, hilarious...grace of God.”

Why do small bible study groups make such a difference?

The Renewal Choir

Rehearsals - Tuesday Evenings from 6:00-7:00pm and Sunday Mornings at 10:15am in the Calvary Sanctuary

The Renewal Choir sings traditional anthems on Sunday mornings as well as supports Calvary special events and observances. The choir is open to anyone ages 14 and up. The group presents a wide variety of musical styles. Choir members actively participate in worship and may be found assisting during such times as Communion, Advent, Lent, and special services. If you are interesting in joining the choir, either speak to Calvary's Music Director Brian Burns or simply show up at a Tuesday rehearsal.

The Praise Team

Rehearsals - Sunday Mornings at 9:30am in the Calvary Sanctuary

The Praise Team presents two contemporary songs to open each Sunday morning worship service. All songs are chosen to encourage congregational singing and participation. Some tunes are based on well-known hymns with a contemporary twist, while others are original tunes by contemporary Christian artists. The Praise Team also leads the Call to Celebration as well as the first hymm. Guitar, bass, and piano accompany this group. All are invited to participate. If you are interesting in joining the Praise Team, please see Calvary's Music Director Brian Burns.

Handbell Choir

Rehearsals - Tuesday Evenings from 7:00-8:00pm in the Upstairs Music Room at Calvary

No previous training is required. If you are interested in being part of the Handbell Choir at Calvary please contact Calvary's Music Director Brian Burns. We hope to see you there! This is the start of a great new music program at Calvary. We are very blessed!

Children's Music Group

Rehearsals - Tuesday Evenings from 5:00-6:00pm in the Calvary Chapel

The program will be 1 hour per week. The children will learn general music, recorder, hand chimes, and voice. The program is open to all elementary grades. We are planning to send a mailer to all previous VBS attendees as well as neighborhood children.

Ringing Bells Makes Kids Smarter (and Nicer too)

Holy Book Club

The Holy Book Club is not currently meeting. Please check back soon!

Meeting on Sunday mornings at 9:30am at different times throughout the year, the Holy Book Club members read and discuss a different author's work. The exploration considers the impact of various books on the individual and the broader community. Books in this dynamic series have included selections such as: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell; John Wesley, His Life and Theology by Robert G. Tuttle; Ruthless Trust, sequel to The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning; Fish by Laudin, Paul and Christensen; and other contemporary and classic books.

Poets Corner

Calvary's arts series features theater, literature, poetry, and music in innovative, simply-staged events in both the sanctuary and chapel.

Bowling Team

Not so much competitive, but social, Calvary bowlers join others from Pittsburgh Parish congregations for bowling outings throughout the year.