Welcome to First Notes!
If you have articles for our notes we ask that they be submitted to the office by email no later than Wednesdays at 9:00AM.
GIVE ONE, TAKE ONE
This familiar saying can often be seen next to cash registers and referring to pennies. Give a Penny if you have one, take a Penny if you need one. Well, this saying applies to our Cold Weather Gear collection boxes as well. We will have two brightly wrapped collection boxes outside the Aiken Avenue entrance during the day. If you are able to give items such as hats, gloves, scarves, socks, coats or blankets, drop them in the box at any time. And if you or anyone you know needs cold weather items, please take one out of the box, use it and stay warm!
RACE AND RACISM AT FUMC SURVEY
First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh wants to hear from you! As part of our efforts to become an anti-racist church, we’d like to hear from the congregation and attendees about general experiences and perceptions of race and racism at FUMC. Your answers will help guide a team of FUMC members in creating an Anti-Racist church vision statement as well as the church’s next action steps on racial justice. Be on the lookout for virtual round table discussions early next year!
The survey is less than 10 questions and can be found at this link: https://forms.gle/vGjTY95jNEVkWGMy8
Thanks for your participation!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER VIGIL FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER—6 PM AT FUMC
Over the last several months, each Wednesday at 6:00 – 6:30pm, there has been a faithful gathering at the corner of Aiken Ave and Centre Ave to be a voice of support for BLM. During this time, we pray in voice and in silence.
There is a constant stream of horns honking in support for the BLM. Voices can be heard from cars saying, “Thank you for your support,” and “We love you!” Conversations with those walking their dog, those coming off their shift at the hospital, and those just walking by have started. Some folks have even joined in the vigil.
Along with the growing affirmation, recently we have encountered voices of distraction. This coming Wednesday, there will be additional guidelines for safety for all to follow. This prayer vigil is a visible expression of FUMC’s voice to be a church that stands for justice.
Everyone and your neighbor is invited to come. Adherence to social guidelines for mask wearing and physical distancing is required. If you do not have a mask, FUMC will provide one.
***Looking for a volunteer to expand the vigil on social media. Could you help, or do you know someone who could?
Dear First Church Family,
Now more than ever, our thoughts, prayers, worries, time, and commitments are being pulled in endless directions. Many causes, both personal and national, fight for our attention. Knowing this, I would like to invite you to join our weekly prayer vigils on Wednesdays at 6:00-6:30pm in front of FUMC to pray for racial justice.
Being present at these vigils for a brief 30 minutes allows me to feel hopeful. I often feel paralyzed by the idea that no thought, prayer, or action ever seems to be enough. Our street corner vigils may not “solve” racial injustice (if only it were that easy). Instead of looking for The Answer, I cherish the ability to come together in a time when we are so isolated to pray, to reflect, to grieve, and to reinvest in our commitment to fighting for a more just nation for our siblings of color.
If one person passing by feels seen because we acknowledge that our country does not default to valuing Black lives in the way that we should, we have taken a step in a positive direction. If coming together in this way restores in us our commitment to allow God to guide us to seek racial justice in a world that has been imperfect long before we got here, we have gained the stamina to be a part of creating something better.
AN UPDATE ON THE FAMILY PROMISE PROGRAM
COVID-19 has taken its toll on the Family Promise Program. At the present time they are not housing any families. However, the expenses of operating, continuing to support the families who have found housing, and managing through the transition of leadership means there is still great need to support them. Two ways that we can be of support during this time are:
- Online donations at https://familypromiseswpa.org/donate-now/
- Volunteer to do a food pick up at distribution sites and deliver to a family. Contact Glenna Wilson if you wish to do this. firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.519.5062
Thank you for your continued support of this vital ministry.
CALL TO ADVOCACY
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our awareness of deeply rooted inequity within our institutions and our communities that have been built on systems of white supremacy and oppression. We would like to create space in our weekly worship video to share moments where we have grown in our awareness and understanding of inequity, and have felt the call to take action to promote a more just world. As we are all on a journey of growth, there is no step too small to be significant.
So, we invite you to share your heightened awareness to an injustice or inequity in a short video and, if you’ve taken action, describe what you’ve done to respond to that new awareness.
If you are interested in recording a video, or want to learn more, please contact either Anais (email@example.com) or Claudia (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to continuing this justice-seeking journey together!
FUMC SUNDAY CAST FOR CONGREGATION AND THE WORLD
Most of you by now have seen or heard of our weekly worship experiences we are posting on YouTube. We hope they have been meaningful to all of you. We invite you to share the experience with friends and family far and wide. If you search for “fumcpitt” on YouTube it will take you to our church page where you can find all past videos and also the live SundayCast .
An email will still be sent out to the FUMC email list each week by early Sunday morning with a link for each “live” experience. We are grateful to be able to connect in this way.
NEW!! SUNDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY
Joe is starting a new weekly Bible study on Sunday evenings beginning January 24th, 6:30-8:00 pm. The first couple of weeks we’ll explore Heaven, Hell, and Everything In Between. RSVP to email@example.com
Join the study at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82354512499
Meeting ID: 823 5451 2499
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION
Our commitment to appropriate social distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t connect. Many of our regular Sunday School classes continue to meet each Sunday at 10:00 am by Zoom.
The Seekers Class begins at 9:45am
Due to the increasing concerns about strangers logging into Zoom calls to cause trouble, we are not publishing invitations to Zoom meetings publicly. So to receive a weekly invitation to a Sunday School gathering, please email the convener:
Seekers – Kristi Woolsey Woolsey.Kristi@bcgplatinion.com
Spirit of Justice – Sam Procter firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee and Chat – Michele Jury email@example.com
High School – Alyssa Stadelman firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle School – Joe Smith email@example.com
And Godly Play is now offering a virtual story time each Sunday morning at 9:30 am on our FUMCPitt YouTube channel.
Haven’t been part of a Sunday School class before? This may be a better time than any!
At a time when children are spending more time at home than ever, families are beginning once again to take a more active role in children’s spiritual formation. We offer the FAITH5 as a simple yet profound model for families to engage in conversation and meditation together: https://faithink.com/about-faith5
Baldwin Community United Methodist Church will be hosting two online events in connection with a Mr. Rogers theme.
Online screening of the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Jan. 24th, at 4:00pm.
Community discussion entitled “Who is my Neighbor?” with the editors of the book Mr. Rogers and Philosophy, Eric and Holly Mohr, Jan. 31st at 4:00pm.
Both events are free and open to the community. Register at: bit.ly/BCUMCRogers
A PRAYERFUL NOTE
On Monday, Jan. 18, we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. His speeches press upon us even now for their relevancy and call to action—an action that includes a change of public policy and a change of heart. From his speech “The Other America,” which was delivered in 1967 but is so poignant that it seems it could have been written today:
Now let me say finally that we have difficulties ahead but I haven’t despaired. Somehow I maintain hope in spite of hope. And I’ve talked about the difficulties and how hard the problems will be as we tackle them. But I want to close by saying this afternoon, that I still have faith in the future. And I still believe that these problems can be solved. And so I will not join anyone who will say that we still can’t develop a coalition of conscience.
Watch the full speech here: (3) MLK: The Other America – YouTube—
|Director of Music and Community||Tim Coles|
|Director of Spiritual Formation||Joe Smith|
|Office Administrator||Gwendolen Jackson|
|Office Assistant||Sherrie Kaiser|
|Building Maintenance Manager|
|Custodians|| Lamont Hunter|
|Music Intern||Michael Dodin|