First Church Notes: 04.02.2021

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

Welcome to First Notes! 

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! 

Please note that the church office will be closed on Easter Monday, 4/7. 

If you have items for our notes, we ask that they be submitted to the office by email no later than Wednesdays at 9:00AM.  

WPA Reconciling Ministries Spring Event 


As in previous years, WPA Reconciling Ministries is planning a Spring Event. This year it will be a virtual gathering 9 am – noon on May 1st with the theme  Love In Action: Practical Ways to be Affirming and Inclusive.   

9:00-9:10- Welcome 
9:10-9:45- Worship 
9:45-10:30- Language Workshop (may include a short break)  
10:30-12:00- Panel 

Information and registration:

Please share this information with anyone who might be interested in registering and joining the event. 

If you have any questions regarding this virtual gathering, please let me know! 


tracy merrick (he/him/his) 


FUMC will be planting flowers on Friday, May 14th, at 9 AM, rain or shine! 


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: 

Thanks for your participation! 


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. 

Olivia Migliori  


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 ( or Claudia ( We look forward to continuing this justice-seeking journey together!  


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. 


Playing with Parables  

(in Joe’s Sunday night Bible Study) 

Sunday evenings (April 11 – May 23, excluding Mother’s Day), 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Jesus carefully crafted his parables to get under the skin, to irritate and provoke. They’re not puzzles to be decoded or principles to be understood, but stories to be participated in, pondered, and played with. In this class, we won’t just try to understand what the parables meant; we’ll engage them through active imagination to find their significance for our stories.

Sunday School Classes 

Haven’t been part of a Sunday School class before? This may be a better time than any! Sunday School classes meet each Sunday at 10:00 am (Seekers begins at 9:45) by Zoom.  

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  

Spirit of Justice – Sam Procter  

Coffee and Chat – Michele Jury 

High School – Alyssa Stadelman 

Middle School – Joe Smith  

And Godly Play is now offering a virtual story time each Sunday morning at 9:30 am on our FUMCPitt YouTube channel. 


Prayer is a language of love; whenever it is not, prayer is dispensable. Prayer is petition and teaches us to shape our desires more in accordance with life and together with others; at the same time, it is also delivery of the self into God’s grace, but not in obsequiousness. 

–Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance 

First Church Staff

Tracy Cox
DeaconAnais Hussian
Director of Music and Community Tim Coles
Director of Spiritual Formation Joe Smith
Office Administrator Gwendolen Jackson
Office Assistant Sherrie Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager Gabe Amri
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Music InternMichael Dodin