From the Minister

Rev. Dr. John J. Lolla, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. John J. Lolla, Jr. currently serves as interim minister of Bellevue United Presbyterian Church.  He previously served as Assistant Minister at Southminster Presbyterian Church (1980-83), pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek (1983-2009), and senior minister of the Northmont United Presbyterian Church (2009-2016).

Dr. Lolla is a 1976 graduate of The College of Wooster, with a major in religion.  Subsequently, he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.  While at Princeton, he completed a dual major in theology and preaching, earning the John Alan Swink Prize for preaching.  He received his M. Div. from Princeton Seminary in 1980.  In 1994, he received his D. Min., with his dissertation on “The Role of the Resurrection in Creating Christian Identity.”

During his 36 years of ordination, Dr. Lolla has been active in Pittsburgh Presbytery.  He served on the presbytery’s Peacemaking Taskforce from 1980-86, serving as its chair from 1984-86.  Interested in ecumenical dialogue, Dr. Lolla chaired a planning committee of four Presbyterian-Mennonite shalom conferences held in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989.  His peacemaking efforts led the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek in a refugee assistance project that earned the Peacemaking Award from Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Synod of the Trinity (1989).

Dr. Lolla has been a member of the Southwest Christian Associates and American Jewish Committee’s Jewish-Christian Dialogue, as well as the Presbyterian-Jewish Dialogue from 1988-1990, and the Reformed-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1989).  He was a presbytery representative to the National Council of Churches/American Jewish Committee National Conference on Jewish Christian Relations in 1990 as well as the National Conference on Christian Unity that was held in Pittsburgh the same year.  He is currently representing Pittsburgh Presbytery on Christian Associates’ Theology Committee, advising bishops and executives on public policy statements.

In 1986, Dr. Lolla chaired the Pittsburgh Middle East Youth Tour, a project in intercultural and interfaith reconciliation in conjunction with leadership from Pittsburgh’s Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities.  The project received a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Dr. Lolla has served on Pittsburgh Presbytery’s Council (1989-1992; 2007-2011), serving as chair in 2011and 2012, and the Presbytery’s Interim Committee (1991-92).  He chaired Presbytery’s Evaluation and Budgeting Committee (1989-90) and the Presbytery’s Planning Committee (1990-92).  He has been a member of the presbytery’s Board of Trustees (1994-95), chairing its Policy Sub-Committee.  From 1996-1998, he chaired the presbytery’s Self-Study and Executive Presbyter Search Committee which developed the presbytery’s current mission plan, and brought Dr. James Meade as Executive Presbyter.

Dr. Lolla has served as Pittsburgh Presbytery’s commissioner to the Synod of Trinity (1991) and the General Assembly (1992).  In 2001, he was an overture advocate to the General Assembly that raised a concern about false allegations made against public school teachers.

Dr. Lolla recently represented Pittsburgh Presbytery’s legal interests during Memorial Park’s separation from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  He has twice served on presbytery’s Amendment Review Committee regarding proposed changes in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  His currently secretary of the Pittsburgh Presbytery Foundation Board.  He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Foundation, serving as its secretary.

Dr. Lolla authored The Creek Runs Deep, a five volume history of the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek.   He has been published in Presbyterian Outlook.

He is married to Julie Else from Pittsburgh’s North Hills.  Their daughters, Meredith Hedeen and Carolyn Paletta, are married and live locally.  The Lollas enjoy four grandchildren, Anna, Ivy, and Ella Hedeen, and Gabriel Paletta.