The Pittsburgh Experiment is a Christian non-denominational ministry, which provides spiritual resources to business, professional and working people (including senior-management levels) and to area churches. Built on helping Western Pennsylvanians to apply their faith in day-to-day business relationships, The Experiment also has focused on and assisted individuals suffering from job stress and corporate downsizing.
In its nearly six decades as a marketplace ministry, The Experiment has had a positive life-changing impact on thousands of lives. Its success has led to the establishment of similar groups in Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron and Columbus (OH), Park Ridge (NJ), Jacksonville (FL), Mobile (AL) Portland (ME) and Jackson (MS), and also in Australia, Canada, East Africa, Sweden and Zaire. The Experiment has close ties to the ministry of the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale via The National Experiment & Guideposts and its roots are linked to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Rev. Samuel Moor Shoemaker, whose ideas strongly influenced the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, founded The Pittsburgh Experiment in 1955. From 1952-61, Dr. Shoemaker served as Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church of Pittsburgh, following a 26-year career as Rector of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City. In 1955, Newsweek named him as one of the 10 greatest preachers in the United States, and Time profiled him in "God & Steel in Pittsburgh". In 1956, the Pittsburgh Jaycees named him Man of the Year in Religion. The birthing vision challenge for The Experiment in the 1950's was "to make Pittsburgh as famous for God as it is for steel". Former Directors include The Rev. William, H. Cohea ('55-'58), Mr. Paul M. Offill ('58-'60), The Rev. Donald T. James ('60-'69), and The Rev. Paul F. Everett ('69-'95), The Rev. Gregory Hammond ('95-'02), The Rev. Carter Birely ('02-'10), and Mr. Kerry Fraas ('10-'12). The current Executive Director is Rev. Ted Kerr.
In 1955, Newsweek named him as one of the 10 greatest preachers in the United States, and Time profiled him in "God & Steel in Pittsburgh". In 1956, the Pittsburgh Jaycees named him Man of the Year in Religion. The birthing vision challenge for The Experiment in the 1950's was "to make Pittsburgh as famous for God as it is for steel". His now famous poem, which he penned toward the end of his life as an "apologia," is called I Stand by the Door and encapsulates the mission of The Pittsburgh Experiment.
The Pittsburgh Experiment name is a reference to the "30 Day Prayer Experiment". Many individuals are introduced to the ministry through this activity, which revolves around two or more people joining together daily in prayer for 30 days to pray about a circumstance in their personal or professional lives. Through praying, the individuals become more aware of God's presence in their lives. Sometimes those praying witness a resolution to the matter through a change in the circumstances, and sometimes they witness a change in themselves as a result of prayer.
Click here to see an article that appeared in Parade Magazine in conjunction with the founding of The Pittsburgh Experiment in 1955.