Reverend Bebb Stone, PhD. Interim Pastor

Grace and peace to you, Friends at the Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church;

I am one of those “cradle” Presbyterians, baptized on Christmas Eve (a strange choice….), in the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Akron, Ohio, by the Rev. J. Carroll Wright. We moved to western New York for Dad’s work when I was five, and there we were members of the Hamburg Presbyterian Church. Perhaps most notable was the summer that church sent a “deputation team” to Montana to work with the Rev. Hunter Keen on a Lakota Sioux reservation. We taught remedial reading for the children and ran a VBS. And there more are stories…..

After college I eventually wound up in Manhattan, where I worked on Wall Street for three years. During that time I was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village, and the co-pastors were Union Theological Seminary-trained clergy. The preaching nourished the love of God with the mind as well as the heart and I cherish those years.

After I married, we lived in Syracuse, New York, where we joined the First Presbyterian Church of Syracuse. We were part of a younger couples group that did a twelve week course called “An Experiment in Practical Christianity,” and I felt called to deepen my discipleship.

With a move to Pittsburgh and the birth of two children, I was active at the Southminster Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon, PA, especially as the President of a large Presbyterian Women’s group. At that point I was ordained as a Ruling Elder. When son John went to first grade, I returned to school: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I began with one seminar on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It took me several years to graduate from seminary for a number of reasons, but I commenced in June of 1986.

The Vocations staff person at Pittsburgh Presbytery at the time told me that “Pittsburgh is not ready for women clergy,” and I could tell that the “club” was quite closed. While I waited for God to provide a call, I was offered the Teaching Assistantship to the head of the Religious Studies Dept. at the University of Pittsburgh. So with tuition paid and a small stipend, I began doctoral studies. The next spring (1987) I received a call as Associate Pastor from Third Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, where I was ordained, and as part of the call, I was to continue my doctoral studies. Which I did. More stories.

After a new Head of Staff arrived at Third Presbyterian in 1995, I was offered a sabbatical. I applied for and received a Merrill Fellowship at Harvard Divinity School for the fall of 1995, where son John was enrolled in the Master’s in Theological Studies program. So John and I went to school together for a while. (Jessica was already working in higher education by then.) That sabbatical allowed me time to delve deeply into my dissertation topic, and I was able to complete the doctorate in April 1999. My second call began in January 1999 as a Redevelopment Pastor for the Presbyterian Church of Mt. Washington, where I stayed until August 2008.

From that point on I have been serving churches as an interim pastor. I completed interims with the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Linden, NJ; the Schoharie Presbyterian Church in Schoharie, NY; and the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsburg, PA. Through the years, God has provided, and I am content.