First Church Notes: 01.05.2020

News regarding the life and ministry of our wonderfully diverse and energized faith community


A new year, a new decade, seems appropriate that we do our part in making it a new world by making our local communities better living spaces for all of our sisters and brothers.  We jump into this new calendar year by coming together for our monthly Wrestling with Racism meeting.  We will gather this coming Monday, January 6, at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Room of the Warren United Methodist Church building.  We have plans to review, new opportunities to explore and just the blessing of being able to gather together.  Looking forward to being with you and continuing our journey together.  Spread the word of our meeting and encourage one another’s participation and active involvement.  See you on Monday,    Don Blinn, Jr.


Please join us immediately after worship on Sunday, December 12th to help “un-hang” the greens! Many hands make light work!


Please join us on Tuesday January 14th at 7 pm for our first meeting of 2020. We will look at new projects getting underway -a  Letter Writing Project and a reading group on agriculture and agrarian themes. Our ministry is grounded in the oneness of our relationship with all of creation and the Creator. Come help us think of additional ways to explore how to live into this.


If you have a new or gently used set of hats and/or gloves, we are seeking to replenish our Caring Cupboard as the weather can turn dangerously cold and affect those who have little to no shelter. You may drop them off at the church at any time.


On January 5th after worship, the LGBTQIA+ Task Force will be watching the Pride Denied documentary and discussing why we as a community have/have not participated in the Pittsburgh Pride Parade in the past to help us discern our plans for this year. If you are interested in participating in this time of learning and discussion, please email Anais: to let her know. 


Fellowship hosts for upcoming Sundays in January and February are needed.    Please contact Karen Jacobs 412-828-3854 or with any questions and if you can provide snacks and a cold drink for any upcoming Sunday morning following worship.    Thank You.


As you un-decorate from your Christmas celebrations in January, please consider if you may have a decoration or two to donate to First Church. We are seeking pre-lit Christmas trees (white lights) of any size, blue, silver, or gold decorations of any kind.

You may bring them into the church office any time during the month of January.


Fat Tuesday before Lent is for pancakes, but Fat Saturday is for cake, birthday cake!  Please save the date of Saturday, February 22, 2020 for First Church’s “Fat Saturday Birthday Bash”.

There will be a table for each month of the year – decorated in a theme chosen by the host of that table who will make and decorate a delicious theme birthday cake.  Attendees will be asked to join the table corresponding to their birthday to enjoy cake, snacks and good conversation.   Volunteers willing to choose a month (it doesn’t have to be your birthday month) and host that table or anyone willing to organize/coordinate the tables, should email Karen Merrick (   May, July and August have been chosen, but the remaining months are open – first come, first served! AND…there will be entertainment! First Church is full of very talented people. Please consider sharing your talent either solo or with friends and contribute to the evening’s program. Register by contacting Tim Coles ( or Dave Keller (

More information to come, but for now – save the date and please consider volunteering for one of the following to make this event a success:

·         Host a table by yourself or with a friend (bake a cake and decorate it and the table in your chosen theme)

·         Organize/coordinate the host tables

·         Be part of the talent show!


Sponsored by the Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team      January – February 2020

Please join participants from across the Pittsburgh District who will be meeting in January and February 2020 to discuss challenging issues about race and racism. In light of the current environment across the country, it is incredibly important that we discuss these topics in our communities of faith.  

Participants are asked to attend four meetings, one each week. Since all three meetings each week will cover the same topics, attendees should feel free to participate in any one of the three. Here are the dates:

South Avenue UMC: Tuesdays at 7 PM – Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, and Feb. 11

Baldwin UMC:           Wednesdays at 7 PM – Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 5, and Feb. 12

McKnight UMC:        Thursdays at 7 PM – Jan. 23, Jan 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13

The teams leading these sessions expect to draw on a variety of resources, including the New York Times 1619 Project.

Please contact the Pittsburgh District Office to confirm your participation via email ( or phone call (412-281-7154).

Additional information will be distributed soon!


Inspired, Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again, by Rachel Held Evans, will guide our conversation as we gather to discuss the stories, events, people and history of the Bible.  This class will be led by Pastor Tracy and all questions and comments are welcome.  Reading the book Inspired, ahead of the class may be helpful for you, but not required to participate in conversation. The class will meet in the parlor where we will be joined by the Seekers Class.


I attended Duke University over 20 years ago, and my oh my has the world changed—my oh my have I changed! Events and circumstances of life have challenged and called me to expand my theological knowledge as a pastor at First United Methodist Church. In June of 2019, I began an incredible journey working towards the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Over the course of three years, I will be attending classes for two weeks each June, and each January in the Parish Risk Focus of the D.Min. study. This will be an intense time of theological study, writing and conversation. Prayerfully, new approaches, understandings, and methods for reaching and ministering to the community will be shared and lived through my studies.

I will be out of the office January 6th-January 17th. I am able to be reached by email.


Sunday, January 5

9:00am            Handbell Choir Rehearsal

9:35am            Chancel Choir Rehearsal

9:45am            Education for All Ages

11:00am          Worship in the Sanctuary

12:30pm          Messy Church

6:00pm            Sunday Night Yoga

Monday, January 6

10:00am          Book Club

6:00pm            Wrestling with Racism @Warren UMC

6:15pm           Phoenix Institute

Tuesday, January 7

  7:45am          Susan Rupani Yoga

10:00am          Play Group

10:30am          Staff Meeting

1:00pm            East End Song Studio

2:00pm            Strengthen & Stretch

7:30pm             Eco-Ministry Team

7:30pm            NA Reading Group

Wednesday, January 8

9:30am            AA

1:00pm            East End Song

7:00pm            Mystics in Motion

7:30pm            NA Bigger on the Inside

Thursday, January 9

9:30am            IWAP

1:00pm            East End Song

2:00pm            Strengthen and Stretch

 7:00pm           Interplay

7:30pm            Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Friday, January 10

12:00pm          AA – Cookies & Kisses

1:00pm            East End Song Studio

5:30pm            Women’s AA

7:00pm            Ecstatic Dance

Saturday, January 11

9:00am            First Food & Friends   


Tracy Cox
DeaconAnais Hussian
Director of Music and Community Tim Coles
Director of Spiritual Formation Joe Smith
Administrative Secretary TBA
Office Assistant Sherry Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager Curtis Mitchell
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Hospitality Nick Solic
Music Intern Michael Dodin