As a relatively new resident of Bethel Park, Reverend Frank Park was looking for a local cafe.
He found Reginald’s Coffee, which Matt and Julie Koczko operate at the Schoolhouse Arts and History Center on South Park Road.
“I looked around the place and found it had a cool historical vibe,” Park recalls. “I like this kind of building, where there is a story. And from a purely aesthetic point of view, there is a lot of natural light, which you can’t find too often these days.
The story behind the windows is that they are much larger than is common today, thanks to the dominant architectural styles of the early 20th century when the building was constructed.
And Park’s story is that he now leads services there as the pastor of TOV Church.
“I started a little Bible study there, not knowing anyone,” he said. “And the people just started to come.”
Maybe people were puzzled by the name of the church.
“I still needed to explain it, which was kind of intentional,” Park said. “We want to capture people’s attention.
The name comes from the biblical book of Genesis.
“God creates everything and then he goes back to his work and says, ‘That’s very, very good,’ which is ‘tov’,” Park said.
“There is part of the meaning of that word, which is why we chose it. It means things are working as they should be, ”he added. “Our church, by all means, will not be a perfect church. We will have our faults. But we, to the best of our ability, want to be a church that functions like a church should function, not perfectly, but faithfully. “
Its intention is also to present a welcoming church house, and the Schoolhouse Arts and History Center has done the trick.
“We didn’t want it to be just us coming,” Park said. “We wanted it to be a win-win situation. We wanted us as a church to benefit from the building and the cafe, and we also wanted the cafe and the building to benefit as well.
The church therefore made significant donations to the center: a gift card for the purchase of a large screen television and, to accommodate larger gatherings, 100 ergonomic chairs.
“It really feels good when people want to give back,” said Bill Haberthur, secretary of the historical society’s executive committee. “They see what we’ve accomplished here, what we continue to do, and they want to be a part of it and they want to contribute.”
Although Park grew up in Seattle, he has ties to the center through his wife, Mari, whose grandparents attended what was then Bethel Elementary School.
TOV church services are held Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Schoolhouse Arts and History Center, 2600 South Park Road, Bethel Park. For more information visit church.tov.