Rev. John Gropp Rev. Sue Devine Rev. Brenda Henry Rev. Paul Koch Vicar Many Gilberti
Feel free to call or contact ANY of our pastors! Each of them is an ordained pastor and they all can help you.
The Reverend John Gropp
While attending Slippery Rock University, I met my wife, Colleen, whom I married during my second year at Gettysburg Seminary, where I actively participated in the Luther House of Studies, taking courses in many of the Washington D.C. area and other schools of theology. Following our marriage in March of 1974, we began a 2-year concurrent internship in the Armstrong, Indiana, and Jefferson county’s (AIJ Town and Country Cooperative Ministry). During the internship, I commuted to Washington D.C. one day a week to attend courses there and complete my academic studies while serving the parishes of AIJ (At one time there were 21 parishes in AIJ from Avonmore near Apollo, to Brookville, and Dubois, to Brush Valley and Coral near Blairsville, just to mention the outside perimeter of the area served). In case some think what we are doing in PLUM is tough or crazy, many of the congregations we served in AIJ have stabilized their ministries and are still faithfully serving their communities today.
The Reverend Doctor Paul Koch
I graduated seminary with a M.Div.; ordained August 9, 1970; earned a D. Min. degree in 2003; after 39 years of full-time pastoral ministry, I retired to Pittsburgh from Chicago. Married to Sharon with two son, one of which lives in Ingram, PA; the other son is a saxophone player with the USAF Concert Band, D.C. Working part time with PLUM; primary ministry is on Sunday morning, leading worship and preaching, preparing Bible Study materials for the PLUM pastors, teaching one class a week on Tuesday mornings, and working on a variety of PLUM projects.
The Reverend Brenda Henry
I am a recent graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (June 2017) where I earned my Masters of Divinity degree. I was ordained on November 3, 2019.
Prior to seminary, I worked as a social worker. I received both my undergraduate (90) and Masters of Social Work (92) degrees from Michigan State University. My concentrations of study were child welfare and medical social work. My career focus has been advocacy for those that have struggled with poverty, are from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds and members of under-representative, “hard-to-serve” and marginalized communities. I have primarily worked with women and families in a variety of settings (i.e. hospitals, nursing home, not-for-profit, academia and governmental) with the aim/goal of assisting them to obtain the services needed to improve overall health, well-being and quality of life. This has included direct care, education, program management and advocacy to ameliorate the effects of systemic issues of poverty, oppression and racism.
I am originally from the Caribbean. I was born and raised in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. I am a first generation American. My dad was from the island of Antigua. My mother was born on the island of Montserrat and raised on St. Kitts. I am the proud mother of two. My daughter is a junior at LaSalle University in Philadelphia as a scholarship recipient majoring in International Business/Marketing. My son is a college sophomore. He spent his first year at Waynesburg University where he was a member of the football team and a Bonner Scholar. We discovered that this was not the best fit for him. So as we explore other options, he is continuing to pursue his Business Administration degree at CCAC. My younger sister is also a very important part of my nuclear family as she was ‘my first’ child who lived with me from the age of thirteen. We relocated to Pittsburgh in 2004 and have made it our home.
I have had an ecumenical faith journey. I was baptized and confirmed as a Moravian in St. Croix, USVI. I spent my young adult years as a member of a UCC congregation in Lansing, Michigan. While living in Pittsburgh I have been a Baptist until April of 2017 when I joined Hope Lutheran Church of Forest Hills. During my spiritual journey, I have come to appreciate that God is ever present and uses many hands and variety of settings to serve his creation.
In the past two years I had the wonderful opportunity to be mentored by Pastor Susan Schwartz at the Children’s Institute and at Hope Lutheran. At the Children’s Institute, I grew to understand the role of Chaplaincy in the healing process. A big part of that experience was appreciating how ministry intersects both in the secular space and congregations. It allowed me to see how both of my vocations are an unfolding part of God’s plan for me. At Hope Lutheran I was privileged to see and be a part of what God is doing through the various ministries. I have grown to treasure the Hope’s community dedication to being a witness to others of God’s unmeasurable grace. It is through this support of Hope and my wonderful mentors Pastor Schwartz, Pastor Karen Battle and Pastor Beth Siefert that I am now in my discernment process of ordained ministry in ELCA. I am delighted to continue my training with PLUM. I look forward to learning from and working with this community and seeing how God is at work.
The Reverend Susan Devine
I was born and raised in central Pennsylvania. I met my husband, Keith, while attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where I graduated in 1983 with a BS in Education. Keith joined the Navy in 1984 and we spent the next 11 years as a Navy family. We lived in Waukegan, Illinois; Winter Park, Florida – where our son, Shawn, was born; Ballston Spa, New York – where our son, Bryant, was born; and Hampton, Virginia – where our daughter, Sarah, was born. In 1995, we returned to Pittsburgh, where we now reside. I am also blessed to have two grandsons and a granddaughter.
I came to ministry later in life, after spending 23 years in a banking career at Dollar Bank. I am a recent graduate of Luther Seminary, in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I earned my Master of Divinity (2019). I was ordained on February 15, 2020. My home congregation, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, in the Sheraden community of Pittsburgh, was a congregation of Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries. Coming from a small, struggling congregation, I am passionate about working with small congregations to develop ministries in their local communities. I also serve as a member of the Stewardship Committee of the Southwest PA synod of the ELCA.
I am excited to begin my call as a Minister of Word and Sacrament to the congregations of PLUM.
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3
Vicar Mandy Gilberti
Malinda (Mandy) Kay Gilberti was born in Altoona, PA and raised in Johnstown, PA. She currently resides with her husband Frank, in Penn Hills, PA. Mandy graduated from ICM School of Business and was a banker for 24 years, most recently with First Commonwealth Bank in Indiana, PA. While there, she discerned her calling to walk with the people in her community and left the business world to answer God’s call. She enrolled in the United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg in 2016. She just finished her third year at the seminary and is now in her internship here with PLUM.
Mandy is a proud Mother of Marykate and Mack Kuhne. Marykate is an accomplished clarinetist, musical conductor, and an Adjunct Professor at Illinois State University. Mack is a full-time student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania majoring in Kinesiology/Pre-Med.
Mandy was raised as Roman Catholic and converted to ELCA Lutheran in 1995. At that time, she attended Zion Lutheran Church, Johnstown, PA. In 2003, she became a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Indiana, PA, and served as a Sunday School teacher for children and adults. Church Council member, Financial Secretary (6 years), Choir, Church kitchen staff, VBS, and the Indiana County Back to School Bash.
The origins of PLUM go back to the year 2004 when our sister congregation at East Liberty Lutheran became vacant and was unable to provide the resources to call a pastor. Pastors Beth and John recognized that East Liberty’s situation was similar to that of many of our small congregations so they put their heads together, along with the members of East Liberty, Christ and St. Andrew, to develop a plan of action. That work led to the PLUM model for addressing the pastoral care needs of small congregations in our Greater Pittsburgh area. It is from those discussions, the fantastic support of our congregations and our synod, constant prayer, faithful action and humble beginnings that the Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries has, and continues to, evolve. PLUM continues to meet the needs of small congregations and now has eleven churches as part of this cooperative ministry. These churches include:
Read about our modern day Circuit Riders
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773