Sarah Heppenstall ’92 Honored with Distinguished Alumna Award in Specialized Ministry

The Rev. Sarah J. Heppenstall ’92 began taking classes at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary while earning her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. She was a “lapsed Catholic” at the time, considering an MA degree from PTS. Once she discerned a calling to ordained ministry in the PC(USA), with the gracious partnership of her husband, Tal, she transitioned to full-time studies in the MDiv program.

After graduation, she accepted her first and only full-time call to parish ministry at New Bethlehem Presbyerian Church. While serving there, Sarah discovered a new and primary calling—a ministry of hospitality. For Sarah and her husband, this ministry has taken many forms: a family of adopted children, welcoming people in crisis into their home and lives, and partnering with domestic and international ministries for financial and mutual prayer support. Sarah has tutored international students at PTS and has even audited Greek and Hebrew classes with them to ensure they succeed in their studies.

Sarah has remained an active part of the PTS community in several other ways, including continuing education events, the Alumnee/i council, and the annual Phonathon. She also volunteers with local organizations that seek to break down institutional barriers to overcoming poverty. For 15 years, Sarah served as part-time pastor of Tidal PC in Templeton, Pa. Since retiring in 2016, she continues on occasion to lead worship.


MDiv alum Sarah Heppenstall, ministry of hospitality