First Church Notes: 09.11.2020


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


Welcome to 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 9:00 AM.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER VIGIL FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER—6 PM AT FUMC

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. 

Olivia Miglion will be leading this week’s vigil.  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?


A LETTER FROM BOB BELL FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER

To my First United Methodist Church family,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during these very challenging times. I am reaching out to you with a request to join us in our weekly support of Black Lives Matter each Wednesday from 6-6:30 pm. This is something very important to me personally, and I hope you will consider my ask.

I have confronted racism nearly every day of my life and have lived through the protests of the past and the present. However, in my lifetime, I have not witnessed anything quite like this moment. I have never been so proud as I am now to see so many courageous people all over the world, young and old, all races, all genders, all religions – coming together to end systemic racism. It is my hope that more of our church family can come together as well. I realize that we are in the midst of a pandemic, and many of you may have concerns. Please know that we observe all safety protocols including wearing masks and social distancing in excess of six feet. Even with the protocols I realize there may be some who want to attend but are unable to.

As history judges this moment, and as the world watches, I want to see our church community standing strong together and making a difference. For those who are able, I hope that you will consider standing with me and my wife, Sue, as we stand in solidarity and support BLM.  

Thank you, and may God bless you,

Bob Bell     


EAST END COOPERATIVE MINISTRY’S 2020 COAT DRIVE & HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE

Below is a letter from EECM’s Rev. Tracy Hudson:

As summer comes to an end, we know that the winter holiday season is right around the corner. Here at EECM, we are getting ready for our annual Coat Drive and Holiday Toy Drive. We hope that you will join us in sharing warmth and joy with our community’s most vulnerable families this holiday season. 

Coat Drive: EECM will be collecting new and gently used winter coats, and distributing them to community members. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have developed distribution procedures to keep everyone safe. We will be extending the distribution period in October from three days to five days as we recognize that we will be able to handle fewer participants at a time. We have developed a traffic flow pattern which will allow safe social distancing upon entry and exit from the building. All participants will be required to wear masks.  We are partnering with Strong II Dry Cleaners who will provide free dry cleaning for any donated coats as well as discounts for participating families’ personal dry cleaning as a thank-you. Please see the enclosed flyers for more information. 

Holiday Toy Drive: As we are experiencing many challenges with Covid-19, the Holiday Toy Drive will look a lot different this year. EECM is asking donors to purchase and donate $10 or $20 Gift Cards from Target, Walmart or Amazon as Christmas Gifts. Participants also have the option to give a monetary donation, and EECM will purchase the gift cards. EECM will distribute the gift cards as the child’s gift, instead of asking donors to purchase individual gifts. The distribution of gift cards, as opposed to actual gifts, will be more manageable and safe during the pandemic. A participation form is included in this packet. If you wish to participate, please return this form by September 18, 2020. 

We at EECM are committed to making dreams come true. For a child, that dream could be a sought-after book or toy that can spark a world of imagination and creative play, while for an adult that dream could be staying warm while playing in the snow with their children. These dreams will not be possible without your support. Please consider giving the gift or warmth and joy to someone in need this holiday season. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 412-345-7124 or tracyh@eecm.org. Have a joyous holiday season, and thank you for making the holidays brighter for families in need. 

Sincerely, 

Rev Tracy Hudson 

Volunteer Coordinator 


EECM Coat & Toy Drive Participation Form

EECM Coat Drive Flyer


AN UPDATE ON THE FAMILY PROMISE PROGRAM

COVID-19 has taken its toll on the Family Promise Program. At the present time they are not housing any families. However, the expenses of operating, continuing to support the families who have found housing, and managing through the transition of leadership means there is still great need to support them. Two ways that we can be of support during this time are:

Thank you for your continued support of this vital ministry.


CALL TO ADVOCACY

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 (anais@fumcpittsburgh.org) or Claudia (cdetwiler4@icloud.com). We look forward to continuing this justice-seeking journey together!


HOMEWORK HELP

School is Starting………….

Parents – do you need some help in supervising lessons and homework for your children, particularly in situations of continued virtual learning?

Students – would you like help with reading, math, spelling or other subjects from someone other than your parents?

All Others – would you be willing to help parents and students by connecting with students and offering help with lessons or homework?  Could be as easy as reading stories with children, or could be more complicated homework help.

This could be a great opportunity to connect our congregation while offering real assistance to many who have found virtual learning difficult at times.  If you are interested in participating in this type of program, contact Joe Smith at joe@fumcpittsburgh.org.


FUMC SUNDAY CAST FOR CONGREGATION AND THE WORLD

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.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION

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. 

The Seekers Class begins at 9:45am

This Sunday, September 13 at 9:45 AM our zoom class will discuss “An Anatomy of Worship” as led by David Keller.  The scripture model for worship is Isaiah 6:1-8

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 Woolsey.Kristi@bcgplatinion.com

Spirit of Justice – Sam Procter sam.procter@gmail.com

Coffee and Chat – Michele Jury mcjury@gmail.com

High School – Alyssa Stadelman alyssastadelman@gmail.com

Middle School – Joe Smith joe@fumcpittsburgh.org    

And Godly Play is now offering a virtual story time each Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Watch your email for the link. Also look on our FUMCPitt YouTube channel.

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: https://faithink.com/about-faith5

A PRAYERFUL THOUGHT FOR YOU

“There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?”—Mary Oliver 


STAFF

Pastor
Tracy Cox
pastortracy@fumcpittsburgh.org
DeaconAnais Hussian
anais@fumcpittsburgh.org
Director of Music and Community Tim Coles
timcoles@fumcpittsburgh.org
Director of Spiritual Formation Joe Smith
joe@fumcpittsburgh.org
Administrative Assistant
Office office@fumcpittsburgh.org
Office Assistant Sherry Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Music InternMichael Dodin