First Church Notes: 09.29.2019

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


September 29

Kristi Woolsey will lead us 

Leaning into our Gifts: Group storytelling, presentation of a framework for embracing ourselves and our gifts, and discussion.


As a response to the listening sessions, the LGBTQIA+ Task Force will be offering an informational session today 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. A hard copy of the Q & A Sheet to be discussed will be available on Sunday. If you would like an electronic copy, please email Anais: anais@fumcpittsburgh.orgChildcare will be available at the session


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:  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


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, Angels, or Homosexuality?

Oct 24 – Homosexuality and the “Clobber Passages”


Messy Church is a worldwide, all-ages, fun experience of church. It is open to all members of the community, especially those who may not normally attend church on Sunday morning. Many people who do not feel comfortable in a traditional church setting, including persons with disabilities and children who learn differently, have become regular participants in Messy Churches around the world.

Our time together begins with a family-style lunch with crafts and activities where kids and adults play together in a way that we build new relationships and friendships. Then, we celebrate the joy, play, and mess of God through interactive worship and prayer. There is no cost to attend. All are welcome, all the time, just as you are. 

We look forward to a time filled with great crafts and activities, great celebration, great food and YOU on Sunday, October 6th at 12:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall


First Church is known for its warm hospitality – the mantra being, “All are Welcome and Belong here”.  Our Greeters on Sunday mornings are an important way we demonstrate our welcome statement and this hospitality to all.

We are in need of several more Greeters to offer friendly greetings and welcome to members/guests and hand out bulletins at the Sunday morning worship service.  We especially need greeters for the teams that greet the second and fourth Sunday of the month.

If you would like to be a Greeter for one Sunday a month or possibly a substitute Greeter (when a regular team member is absent on a Sunday), please see Karen Merrick or email her at for more details.  We encourage you to consider becoming a part of this meaningful ministry at First Church!


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 from7 – 9 pm. We hope that many church members will attend and bring gifts for this ministry.

We have a registry of needed items from Target here:

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, and make sure to RSVP to Glenna: if you will be attending to help us plan for food. 


On Oct. 1 at 7:00 PM (note earlier time due to parking limitations) we will be looking at plastic and the environment through the lens of health impacts. This continues our study from September, on plastic through the lens of greenhouse gasses.

Plastic proliferation is what got our attention. The less visible impacts, and the forces driving plastic production, are not exclusive to plastic. Come and share your most expansive and creative ideas on how to begin a just transition to a healthier earth.


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 5th any 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 29

9:00am            Handbell Choir Rehearsal

9:35am            Chancel Choir Rehearsal

9:35am            Education for All Ages

11:00am          Worship in the Sanctuary

12:30pm          LGBTQIA Lunch & Learn

6:00pm            Sunday Night Yoga

Monday, September 30

6:15pm            Phoenix Institute

Tuesday, October 1

7:45am            Susan Rupani Yoga

10:15am          Unity in Motion

10:30am          Staff Meeting

1:00pm             East End Song Studio

2:00pm            Strengthen & Stretch

7:00pm            Eco-Ministry Team

7:00pm            Edgewood Symphony

7:30pm            NA

Wednesday, October 2

9:30am            Shake Hands & Share

1:00pm             East End Song Studio

7:00pm            Mystics in Motion

7:30pm            NA

Thursday, October 3

9:30am            IWAP

1:00pm            East End Song Studio

2:00pm            Strengthen & Stretch

5:30pm            Gender & Sexuality in the  Bible Class

7:00pm            Interplay

7:30pm            Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Friday, October 4

12:00pm          AA – Cookies & Kisses

1:00pm            East End Song Studio

5:30pm            Women’s AA

Saturday, October 5

9:00am            First Food & Friends

10:00am          NA

4:00pm            Parents Night Out


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