Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Grads Gather for Alumnae/i Days 2013

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will honor four distinguished alums and welcome nearly 200 returning grads to Alumnae/i Days, April 24-26, 2013. Highlights of the event include discussions with distinguished alums and reunions for the 50-year, 25-year, 10-year, and 5-year classes. This year's theme is "Reflections of Godly Wisdom."

Alums receiving awards this year are Robert Benedetto ’77 (Academia), the Rev. Steven E. Hein ’75 (Mission), the Rev. Sherry Sparks ’95 (Specialized Ministry), and the Rev. Paul D. Wierman ’61 (Pastoral).

Visit www.testsite.pts.edu/alums for more information or to register. Contact the Rev. Carolyn Cranston ’99 at ccranston@testsite.pts.edu or call 412-924-1375 with questions.

Robert Benedetto ’77 has devoted his career in academia to serving as a librarian and archivist in both secular and church settings. He received his MA from Pittsburgh Seminary and MLS from the University of Hawaii. He served as archivist for the Presbyterian Church in the United States (the Southern Presbyterian Church) and was appointed deputy director of the Presbyterian Historical Society. Additionally, he worked as a librarian at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. He helped to design and build libraries at these locations in addition to obtaining important research collections. Robert has edited a series of essays by Pittsburgh Seminary professor Ford Lewis Battles (d. 1979), Interpreting John Calvin. He also wrote, with PTS classmate Donald McKim, a Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches. His book, Presbyterian Reformers in Central Africa, was selected as one of “Fifteen Outstanding Books of 1997 for Mission Studies.” Robert has a daughter and three grandchildren. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Ruth.

The Rev. Steven E. Hein ’75 has been serving the global Church for nearly three decades. Since being ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Steve has served churches in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and North Carolina and currently is head of staff at St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, N.C. In the 1980s Steve traveled with the Pittsburgh Presbytery to Africa. Since then he has led numerous short-term trips both nationally and abroad. He has guided the St. Andrews-Covenant congregation into vital and significant mission service not only within the Wilmington community but also beyond, literally to the ends of the world. Steve established two international church partnerships between St. Andrews-Covenant PC and the Petropolis Presbyterian Church of Manaus, Brazil, and the Chuluchosema Church of Zomba, Africa. In 2012 he led a group from his congregation to Malawi—where obtaining fresh water is a major challenge—and provided the resources for more than 16 wells. Steve is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and PTS. He is married to Katharine, and they have three children and five grandchildren.

In her role as associate dean of admissions and vocations at Pittsburgh Seminary, the Rev. Sherry Sparks ’95 was able to combine her two loves: students and the Church. In her work at PTS, Sherry assisted some 2,000 students in discerning their call to ministry. Her previous professional experience provided the perfect mix of skills to be able to follow her own calling to this specialized ministry from which she is honorably retired. Sherry is a graduate of Carlow University (BA) and Duquesne University (M.M.Ed.). For nearly 40 years she has worked in education. First she was in the private school system as a vice principal and music teacher; then on the college level in admissions, student development, and pastoral care; and finally at the seminary level again in admissions. Concurrent to her involvement in education was her service to the Church. Ordained in 1995, three years later Sherry began serving Beechview United Presbyterian Church as stated supply, a position she retains today. Additionally her work has focused on peace and justice issues. She has participated in peacemaking trips that included Jordan, Palestine, and Israel under the auspices of the Middle Eastern Council of Churches.

The Rev. Paul D. Wierman ’61 has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for more than 50 years. A graduate of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., he served in the United States Air Force before attending Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Paul has been a pastor in four presbyteries and led Park Presbyterian Church in Beaver, Pa., for 17 years until his retirement. During his time at Park PC, Paul was the founding president of the Board of the Samaritan Counseling Center. Additionally, Paul has had pulpit exchanges with Scottish pastors on three occasions. In 1995 he was invited by the moderator of the Church of Scotland to serve at the Dornoch Cathedral for one month. Paul also served the Synod of the Trinity as a committee chairperson, vice moderator of the Synod in 1981, and then as moderator in 1992-1993. Remaining active in his retirement, Paul has served as interim pastor of five churches and is a past president of the Seminary’s Alumnae/i Council. Paul and wife, Lee, live in Beaver, Pa., and have three daughters.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate professional institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Founded in 1794, the Seminary is located in Pittsburgh, Pa,. and more than 300 students are enrolled yearly in the degree programs. The Seminary prepares leaders who proclaim with great joy God’s message of good news in both word and deed. PTS is rooted in the Reformed history of faithfulness to Scripture and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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