In 1950, about 10 families gathered in a one room school house on Irishtown Road in Bethel Park for the first service of St. David’s, a mission church ministering in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.
St. David’s grew rapidly and within a year was organized as a parish. The membership called The Rev. Gilbert M. Watt as its first Rector in 1951. Soon, the parish outgrew the schoolhouse location and in 1955 built the original church located at 905 E. McMurray Rd. in Venetia, PA. In 1960 the cornerstone for the education wing was laid and St. David’s was able to accommodate its active children’s ministry as well as a preschool.
Gibb’s tenure ended in the Fall of 1984, when he accepted a call to serve in our diocesan Interim Ministry program leaving an incredible 33 year legacy at St. David’s.
The Rev. Christopher Leighton served as Rector from 1985 to 1994, leading us in a period of great spiritual growth. Bible study, youth and parish retreats, and small groups flourished during his time at St. David’s.
Following Christopher’s departure, the parish was blessed to have the Rev. Jamie Forrest as our Interim Rector. Jamie brought a warmth and deep life of prayer with him enriching St. David’s even further. When the Rev. Mark Wright was called to serve as Rector in 1995, Jamie remained with the parish as a pastoral assistant. Over the next 16 years Jamie “retired” two or three times, but he remained a part of the life of St. David’s until his passing in 2011.
From 1995 through 2007 the Rev. Mark Wright served as Rector of St. David’s. Mark oversaw a rapid expansion of the youth ministry, the launch of a successful Alpha program (a small group ministry that encourages evangelism), and the construction of the new church building in 2001.
In 2008, shortly after Mark’s departure, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh experienced a schism, the effects of which impacted St. David’s greatly. This difficult period in the life of St. David’s is explained further here.
In 2008, the Rev. David Wilson came to St. David’s as Priest-in-Charge and under his leadership St. David’s left the Episcopal Church. In May 2012, David and those who wished to remain apart from the Episcopal Church decided to form a new parish in Canonsburg. At that time the Rev. Lou Hays and the Rev. Kris Opat of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon were asked to organize those who remained and to rebuild an Episcopal congregation. This work continues today and has been very fruitful. In the time since the reorganization, the congregation has grown significantly and we welcome new families almost every week. We hope to worship with you soon.