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Teddy Bear Ministry

Walk in to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, PA on any Sunday and you’ll notice the front pews are occupied by a particularly huggable member of the congregation – a teddy bear.

Thanks to Social Ministry Chair Susan Glessner’s vision for spreading God’s love and comfort through stuffed bears, several dozen furry friends take part in Sunday morning services each week.   Members are invited to take the bears into the community and give them to family members, friends, or strangers who may need a reminder of God’s love. 

Since beginning the Teddy Bear Ministry in the Spring of 2015, more than 150 bears have been received by individuals in need of God’s comfort.  The church members have shared many wonderful stories of the lives touched by this unique ministry.  And the teddy bears do travel - by plane and through the mail.

If you would like to make a donation to the Teddy Bear Ministry, please contact Susan Glessner or place your donation in a pew envelope during worship. 

Each bear wears a colored ribbon with a message tag attached:

I’m a little Prayer Bear,

Sent to you with love,

From St. John’s Lutheran Church,

And the good Lord up above.

They blessed me at their church,

Then sent me on my way,

To let you know you’re in their thoughts,

And prayed for every day.

So I hope you feel a little better,

Knowing how much we care,

And hope you feel God’s love and grace,

As you hold your little Prayer Bear.

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