First Church Notes: 06.28.2020

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 communities of faith to demonstrate their on-going commitments to working for the full inclusion of and full equality of persons of color in our country, in our communities, in our faith traditions, and within our congregations.   

With this in mind, the First United Methodist Church 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 partner with Warren UMC in this witness, and a small working group of FUMC and Warren UMC members are currently designing two identical banners which will eventually be displayed at each church. The Black Lives Matter flags which were hung on June 20th will remain in place until the two banners are completed.

The group which gathered on June 20th decided to continue the witness every Wednesday evening at 6 pm for the foreseeable future!  Many of these gatherings will include readings, music, prayers, signs, and silent vigils. Allies from various faith traditions are welcome to join us. 

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 6:10 AM.

If you have questions about these observances, 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.


Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”  –James Baldwin 

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