Calvary Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh)

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Calvary Episcopal Church
Location315 Shady Avenue (at Walnut Street)
Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°27′22″N 79°55′21″W / 40.455977°N 79.922554°W / 40.455977; -79.922554Coordinates: 40°27′22″N 79°55′21″W / 40.455977°N 79.922554°W / 40.455977; -79.922554
ArchitectRalph Adams Cram
Architectural style(s)Gothic Revival
Governing bodyEpiscopal Church
Calvary Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh) is located in Pittsburgh
Calvary Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh)
Location of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh

Calvary Episcopal Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that was founded in 1855.


The church rented space from a German Lutheran Church until a building was constructed in 1861. As Pittsburgh grew as an industrial city during the late 19th century, the church acquired a new property in 1904 and built a Gothic Revival-style building designed by architect Ralph Adams Cram. Charles Connick designed approximately 70 stained glass windows for the church between 1920 and 1939.[1]

In 1921, Calvary Episcopal Church joined with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation to make the first radio broadcast of a church service. In 1951, the Rev. Sam Shoemaker, who already had a nationwide radio show, accepted a call as the church's 12th rector. Shoemaker, who helped to found Alcoholics Anonymous and had long served as rector of Calvary Church in New York City, soon launched what he called the "Pittsburgh Experiment", seeking to bring Christian values into the workplace and everyday life.[2] Although Shoemaker died in 1963 and the church recently installed its 16th rector, Shoemaker's legacy lives on in the Next Step Group which meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at the church.[3]

2003 Lawsuit[edit]

In 2003, Calvary Episcopal Church sued the diocese and Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven over actions taken by a special convention the diocese held after the 2003 General Convention. At the special convention, the diocese had passed a resolution that asserted that all property of individual parishes belonged to the parishes themselves, rather than to the diocese. In the suit, Calvary claimed that the diocese could not take such an action, as it violated the Dennis Canon. Eventually, the suit was settled out of court. The final settlement did not affirm Calvary Church's central contention that diocesan property was held in trust for the national church, but it created a process by which the diocese agreed to make decisions about property and assets should a congregation wish to leave the diocese.[4]

People involved with Calvary Episcopal Church[edit]


  1. ^ "KD Country: Stained Glass Windows". KDKA. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-11-12.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Helen Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door (Harper & Row, 1967) p. 194 et seq.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-01-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Episcopal property lawsuit filed here. Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2003-10-25. Retrieved on 2008-11-13.

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