First Church Notes: 09.03.2021

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

Welcome to First Notes!

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. 

Wednesday Night Vigil

Celebration and Next Steps

Wednesday September 8 @ 6:00 pm

Since June 20, 2020, members and friends of First Church have gathered each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. on the corner of Centre Ave. and S. Aiken to witness and pray for Black Lives in our community, our Nation and our world. Each Vigil has been led by a variety of volunteers, each bringing their own special gifts and what was weighing on their hearts that particular week. The faithfulness of those who gathered and those who led us has been noticed and appreciated by those who drove or walked by, many who honked their horns or stopped to talk and some who even joined us. Our ability to connect outdoors, socially distanced and masked as the pandemic and social injustice raged around us was amazing.

We gathered in the snow and rain, steamy late afternoons and dark winter evenings, undeterred from our mission to pray and meditate for the length of time George Floyd lay dying on the street in Minneapolis. As we prayed, we often challenged ourselves to think about how we would each progress on toward action from our Vigil. We were unsure when would be the right time to move on as a group. With our imminent return to in-person worship, this feels like the right time.

We will continue our Outdoor Prayer Vigils on the 4th Sunday of each month with volunteer leaders. Most exciting, next steps will include opportunities for actions tailored to First Church. These specific actions will include things you can do individually, as a family, as a group and as part of a larger community. One of the most extraordinary parts of the Wednesday Night Vigils has been the diversity of volunteer leaders and we want to build on that success with our action items.

Please consider joining us for the last two Wednesday vigils on September 1st and 8th. On the 8th, we will celebrate our time together on the lawn and prepare our hearts for our Next Steps. We pray you will also join us in committing to action as well as our on-going monthly 4th Sunday Prayer Vigils on the Center Ave. / S. Aiken corner.

Climate Action Invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

A friend from previous joint ecojustice events with First Church asked me to share this with you. I can attest that this is a panel of vigorous climate activists.



The Social Justice and Outreach Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

And the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Present a Zoom Panel 

How Your Church Can Fight Climate Change and Save Money  

                 Sunday, September 19, 3 pm

·         Preston Shimer, Chair, Sustainability Committee, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon

·         Matt Mehalik, Chair, Green Sanctuary Team, Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills, Executive Director, Breathe Project

·         Kathy Hrabovsky, Sustainable Landcare Accredited Professional, Development Associate PA Interfaith Power and Light

·         Rev. Moni McIntyre, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, McKeesport, panel chair

As extreme and disastrous weather becomes more and more frequent, the need for people of faith to work for a livable environment becomes more obvious.
If required: Meeting ID: 813 0652 0902    Passcode: 839245

Dial by your location +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

                                    +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)


Please note that Pastor Tracy and her family have moved into a new home in Baden. Their address is:

Tracy and Greg Cox

311 Red Fox Ct.

Baden, PA 15005


With flooding in Western PA and the Louisiana Conference and other areas hard-hit by Hurricane Ida, our Eastbrook Mission Barn needs cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. These items can be brought to the Mission Barn or one of its satellites. 
Get kit assembly instructions


September is National Preparedness Month an annual observance to remind all Americans how important it is for individuals, families and communities to be prepared for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

 “Now is the time that everyone should have a conversation with their family, neighbors or loved ones to discuss what you would do in the event of a disaster in your area. Use the resources or to make sure you have taken the steps to get prepared,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.

Also, everyone should sign up to receive local alerts and warning on your mobile phone. Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide and have the steps to prepare for disaster with you at all times to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Each week during National Preparedness Month will focus on a theme with easy-to-follow steps that individuals and families can take to enhance their emergency preparedness efforts. This year’s weekly themes include:

•           Week 1: September 1-4: Make A Plan.

•           Week 2: September 5-11: Build A Kit.

•           Week 3: September 12-18: Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness.

•           Week 4: September 19-25: Teach Youth About Preparedness. has free resources online, including social media content in multiple languages, for public use. Help spread the word of how to be prepared for disasters and emergencies before they happen.


Join us as we explore the transforming work of United Methodist missionaries serving around the world.

You will have the opportunity to meet in a small group to hear a presentation from a single missionary during the call. Find out more about these missionaries below, or at

Daniel & Courtney Randall are serving as Jurisdictional Mission Advocates in the Western Jurisdiction in the United States.
Kathleen Peterson serves as the Director of Eastbrook Mission Barn in the United States.
Tazvionepi Nyarota is serving as the Mission Coordinator for the Zimbabwean Community in Western Canada.
Rebecca Parsons is serving as the Jurisdictional Mission Advocate for the Northeast Jurisdiction in the United States.

United Methodist Missionaries are #stillinmission and we hope that you’ll join us to learn more!

Registration is limited. You will get a confirmation email once your registration is accepted. If the limit is reached, you will get priority for future events.

You can sign up at this link:


Not long ago, FUMC Leadership Council affirmed the newly developed Reconciling Ministries Statement in the context of First Church’s 10th year anniversary as a Reconciling Congregation. During the discussion surrounding the Reconciling Ministries affirmation, we were inspired to revisit the language of our own Hospitality Statement.

This simple, but powerful statement has described our congregation for the last 25 years. It is printed on the front of our worship bulletin. It is recited frequently in our worship services. It describes us to ourselves, to visitors, to prospective members and to applicants for positions on our staff. It has guided us well in our understanding of who we aspire to be as a congregation while we have grown and changed significantly throughout these years. Our journey has taught us that it is critical to apply a framework of intersectionality* to our hospitality and justice efforts.

What has this statement meant to you personally? Have you used it to briefly describe what First Church is about to others? Have you felt something was missing from our statement? How do you feel our congregation has grown, changed, and acted as a result of our statement? How does the Hospitality Statement need to change to enable us to continue to grow as a community of faith?

We invite everyone to participate in helping us enhance our Hospitality Statement. You can share your feedback by mailing or dropping it off to the church office or emailing the office:

In the near future, members of the Leadership Council will be reaching out to the congregation to listen to your ideas about our Hospitality Statement. 

As part of this process, we hope you will join us for educational workshops that we are planning. These gatherings are intended to help us explore the ever-evolving opportunities for working on social justice efforts of FUMC and the concepts that guide our work.

*Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how various forms of discrimination centered on race, gender, class, disability, sexuality, and other forms of identity, do not work independently but interact to produce interconnected oppression and exclusion.The term was conceptualized and coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989.


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is scheduled to pull out First’s flowers on the corner of Centre and Aiken on Sept. 24th at 9:00 AM. Volunteers would be appreciated!


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.


Most of our Sunday School classes pause during the summer, but the Coffee and Chat time continues. If you would like to join, please email Michele Jury at for the Zoom link.

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

A Prayerful Quote

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.

–Anne Lamott


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 Nelson Viola
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Music InternMichael Dodin