First Church Notes: 06.21.2020

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

Welcome to our “reboot” of First Notes! We are intending to provide this source of First Church news once per week on Fridays once again in the midst of the ongoing crisis. We hope this will be a way to better stay connected with everyone and share good information with you all.

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.


During these very challenging times, it is vitally important for United Methodist churches to demonstrate their commitments to working for the full inclusion of and full equality of persons of color in our country, in our communities, and across The United Methodist Church. 

With this in mind, the First UMC Leadership Council approved a plan to display a banner in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in a prominent spot on the church’s property. The Leadership Council emphasized its desire to invite Warren UMC members to join us in this witness by also hanging a banner. A small working group is currently designing two identical banners which will eventually be hung, one at each church.  While we await the completion of those banners, First Church has purchased two Black Lives Matter flags.   

The hanging of the BLM flag at FUMC will be observed on Saturday, June 20th at 10 AM. Members of the First UMC and Warren UMC communities of faith along with the Wrestling with Racism Team are welcome to join for a brief celebration and witness.  After Pastor Tracy Cox leads those who gather in some inspirational readings and a time prayer, we will have an opportunity to stand and hold any signs.   

All who participate will need to wear masks and stand at least 6 feet apart. If you do not have a mask, First Church will provide one.

Please feel free to bring signs consistent with support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Those who wish to drive by the church and honk their horns in support of the witness may do so beginning at 10:10 AM.

If you have questions about this observance, please contact either Pastor Tracy Cox or Tracy Merrick.


During PRIDE month, there are many historic victories for LGBTQIA+ equity to be celebrated, and there are also many current discriminatory practices and policies that need to be dismantled. You are encouraged to take action as an LGBTQIA+ equity advocate in the following ways:

  1. Support the passing of the PA Fairness Act. You can sign a petition here: and/or write a letter to your representatives to voice your support for HB1404.
  2. Take time to research the businesses you currently frequent or might want to make purchases from.
    1. Stop supporting businesses that have discriminatory practices and policies against LGBTQIA+ people or that financially support discriminatory organizations. Search online for lists of such organizations. If you choose to stop shopping at a business due to its harmful practices or policies, you are encouraged to share that with them and voice your support for LGBTQIA+ equity.
    2. Shop LGBTQIA+ owned and LGBTQIA+ supporting businesses! You can find lists online of local and national businesses that are owned by LGBTQIA+ people or provide support for LGBTQIA+ equity and inclusion.


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.


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.

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. Watch your email for the link.

And you can check out previous sessions here:

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:

Join Joe Smith for a virtual study of the book of Genesis:

New videos are available every Tuesday at 8:00 am. Subscribe to the FUMC YouTube channel or just watch your email.


Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

Love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

Are moving across the landscapes,

Over the prairies and the deep trees,

The mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

Are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

The world offers itself to your imagination,

Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

Over and over announcing your place

In the family of things.

FUMC Staff

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