First Church Notes: 09.08.2019


For our first class this fall a special guest will share with us how he, as a Jewish boy and teenager, lived in hiding from the Nazi soldiers in his home country of Bulgaria. He is a special friend of mine who I met at the Squirrel Hill JCC.  We will be honored by his willingness to tell his account about how he survived with the help of courageous people in his community. 


First Church is producing a Lenten Devotional and we want your voice to be included! If you would like to be a part of co-creating this resource, please join us for a brief planning session Sunday, September 8th at 12:15 in the office conference room. If you are unable to make it to the meeting but would like to write for the devotional, please let Joe know.


Would you like to re-engage with the scriptures? Join Companions in Christ for five sessions of practicing meditative readings of scripture, guided by the lectionary text. The groups will meet 5:30 – 7:00 pm on select Wednesday evenings through the fall: September 11th, October 9th, October 23rd, November 13th, and December 11th. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be biblically literate, have any experience with “meditative reading,” or even know what that means! We’ll all learn a new practice together! A light dinner will be provided. For more information, please talk to Joe. If you don’t catch him in the hallways, you can contact him at 304-731-8717 or


Next Sunday, FUMC Youth (6th – 12th grade) will partner with the youth of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church for an outdoor service project. We will begin here with lunch right after worship, then clean up litter from Centre Avenue between the two churches, and end at St. Andrews for games and Bible study. Students can be picked up from St. Andrews Lutheran at 4:00 pm. Please let Joe know if you plan to attend.


The deadline to submit legislation for General Conference 2020 is September 18th! There will be a gathering to write legislation on Tuesday, September 17th at 4pm at the church. If you plan to participate in legislation writing, please email Tracy Merrick:


People of all ages are invited to participate in the First Church Ping-Pong Tournament on Wednesday, September 18th 5:30-7:00 pm in the youth room. Join us for some friendly, competitive fun!


If you are willing to help with the logistics of the Equinox Celebration on Sept 21 meaning helping with such things as set up and/or tear down…hosting guests…pot luck organizing etc.  Please be in touch with RoBear (Bob) Wilson at or 412-559-1589.


We will have our Fall All Church dinner on Sunday, September 22nd, immediately after worship.  The cost of the dinner is $6.00 for Adults, $4.00 for Children under 12, not to exceed $20.00 per family.  First time Guests and college students, no charge.

Please consider signing up to help at the dinner.  A sign-up sheet with a listing of jobs/help needed will be on the Clip Board table in the Sanctuary.  You can also email Karen Merrick at Come, join us for good food and good fellowship! 


As a response to the listening sessions, the LGBTQIA+ Task Force will be offering informational sessions on Wednesday September 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday September 29 from 12:30 to 2. We’ll be sharing responses to questions the congregation has already asked, and will also be inviting your further questions at these sessions. 


What is the Biblical view of marriage? What is the Biblical view of sex? What is the Biblical view of gender? These questions often serve to end conversations, rather than start them. But contrary to what is often suggested, the “Biblical view” on these questions is far from simple or clear. In fact, close scrutiny of the Bible debunks the simple and naive answers that are often given to these challenging questions. Rather, the text reveals a rich tapestry of complex and multifaceted views on these issues. In this class we will return to the text and attempt to remove our blinders, in order to reveal what the texts actually say about gender and sexuality, and to unearth the debates and arguments that are happening within the scriptures. Facilitated by J. Leavitt Pearl, Ph.D., (Duquesne University), a specialist in philosophy of religion and sexuality. Class will meet Thursday evenings September 26th – October 24th, 5:30-7:00pm, in the Parlor.

Sept 26 – Gender and Sexuality in the Biblical World

Oct 3 – The Myth the “Biblical View on Marriage”

Oct 10 – Women, Sexual Violence, and Gender Inequity in the Biblical World

Oct 17 – Sodom and Gomorrah: Hospitality, Angles, or Homosexuality?

Oct 24 – Homosexuality and the “Clobber Passages”


As we gear up our ministry with FAMILY PROMISE, we need to collect a number of supplies. We will hold a “TENT WARMING PARTY” on Friday evening, Sept. 27 from 7 – 9 pm. We hope that many church members will attend and bring gifts for this ministry.  A list of needed items will be published in the near future.  You do not have to be a volunteer for the ministry to attend and provide your donations. 

Please mark your calendars for a fun Friday evening.


Would your kids enjoy games and pizza with their church friends?  Better yet – would YOU enjoy an evening to yourself to do WHATEVER YOU WANT – shop, watch a movie, sleep – 100% your choice – no kids – pretty awesome, right?  Sooooo…bring your kids to Fellowship Hall on Saturday, October 5thany time after 4:00pm & come back for them around 8:30pm.

Tracey Horner can answer any questions.  Please sign up on the PNO clipboard so we can plan successfully.


Christianity contains a rich tradition of prayer practices that help a person participate in the life of God in the silence of their heart and in community with others. The Christian mystical path, broadly speaking, treats a life with God as a journey, with perceivable signposts along the way. This seminar invites students to learn about the mystical path through the life and works of mystics who have gone before us, including the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, and others. Friday, Nov 1, 6:00-8:30 pm and Saturday, Nov. 2, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, in the Chapel. Please register by emailing 


Sunday, September 8

Rally Day

9:35am    Chancel Choir Rehearsal

9:35am    Education for All Ages

11:00am  Worship in the Sanctuary

12:15pm  Lenten Devotional Planning

2:30pm    Amea Rizaldy birthday party

Monday,   September 9

9:30am      IWAP English Class

6:15pm      Phoenix Institute

Tuesday, September 10

7:45am     Susan Rupani Yoga

10:00am    Play Group

10:30am   Staff Meeting

1:00pm      East End Song Studio

2:00pm      Strengthen & Stretch

7:00pm      Edgewood Orchestra

7:30pm      NA

9:30am      Shake Hands & Share

1:00pm      East End Song Studio

5:30pm      Companions in Christ

7:00pm      Mystics in Motion

7:00pm      SPRC

7:30pm      NA

Thursday, September 12

9:30am      IWAP

10:00am    Wise Study

1:00pm      East End Song Studio

5:00pm      Kitchen Cleaning

7:00pm      Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Friday, September 13

12:00pm    Cookies & Kisses

1:00pm      East End Song Studio

5:30pm      AA 

Women’s Group

7:00pm      Ecstatic Dance

Saturday, September 14

9:00am      First Food & Friends

3:30pm      Taylor Powell wedding

Tracy Cox
Director of Music and CommunityTim Coles
Director of Spiritual FormationJoe Smith
Administrative SecretaryGwendolyn Payne
Building Maintenance ManagerCurtis Mitchell
CustodiansLamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Offering StewardSherry Kaiser
HospitalityNick Solic
Music InternMichael Dodin