First Church Notes: 10.16.2020


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


WELCOME TO FIRST CHURCH NOTES!

 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.


CARD SHOWER FOR CURTIS MITCHELL

Dear FUMC members and friends,

Curtis Mitchell, who has served First Church as Building Maintenance Manager for more than 14 years, will be leaving his position effective October 15th. Curtis plans to get re-certified as a consultant and inspector for commercial and real estate properties. Caring for our building and the people who used it was a deep calling for Curtis.  He possessed a high level of varied skills that were so important to keep our church running, (especially in the winter, with our ancient furnace!).  Curtis will be sorely missed.

We want to let him know how much we appreciated his years of service, his multitude of talents and skills, and just him as a person.  Thus, as we have done before in this time of COVID-19 when we are unable to gather together for a celebration, we ask that you “shower” him with cards or notes that would express your gratitude.

Please send your cards, notes as soon as possible to the church.  


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Lamont Hunter is celebrating 20 years as a valued member of the First Church staff.  (Yes, he must have started as just a young lad).  

We would like to celebrate Lamont ‘s service during October and November, by sending congratulation cards to Lamont at the church.  Then in November, we will recognize Lamont in a special way appropriate to our current situation.


CHILDREN AND YOUTH PUMPKIN CARVING/PAINTING

Children and youth of all ages are invited to a pumpkin carving and/or painting party Saturday, October 24th 4:00-6:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served. All activities will be outside and kids will be in separate locations by age group to allow for appropriate physical distancing. Face coverings are required.


PREPARATION FOR ALL-SAINTS SUNDAY

As we prepare for our All Saints’ Sunday worship on November 1st, we are planning several ways to honor your loved ones as we celebrate their lives.  This will be a sacred time to acknowledging our individual and collective grief—grief undoubtedly complicated by the pandemic this year.  During our online worship service, we will remember and name the members of our church family who in the past year entered into God’s great Communion of Saints.  

We would also like to celebrate, remember, and name your loved ones who have died this past year.  If you would like for your loved one’s name to be spoken during worship, contact the church office, office@fumcpittsburgh.org, with the correct spelling of their name by Oct. 26th.  This naming in worship is always a holy moment, as we give thanks for the lives of beloved siblings and claim again the promise of resurrection that is ours in Christ Jesus.

While, sadly, gathering in person this All Saints Sunday as a congregation is not advisable for health and safety, we invite you, your family, and friends to participate in our online worship through YouTube @FUMCpitt that premiers each Sunday at 11am.  Worship on All Saint’s Day will include a candlelight commemoration, a bell ringing, and sacred silence as the name of your loved one’s name will be remembered and spoken.  

You’re also invited to prepare for worship on November 1st, by gathering a candle to light as worship begins — any candle will be perfect.  The lighting of candles in Christian tradition, for many, has come to symbolizing the light of life, love, and legacy that shines in our hearts and memories.  

We hope you and your family will participate in these opportunities to honor and remember your beloved family member this All Saints’ Day.  Even if you are unable to participate, we pray that the congregation’s acts of thanksgiving will bring you continued comfort in your loss.


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. 

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?


LITURGISTS NEEDED FOR SUNDAYCAST WORSHIP

As you all know, we are working hard at making sure you all continue to have the opportunity to “see” each other during this time of remote worship. We do that by including videos of you all for our Call to Worship moments and the Offering Prayers of our SundayCasts. As we have done in the past, we now are hoping to get many of you to sign up for these experiences so we can better handle the procedures needed to create the SundayCasts.

You are invited to email Tim Coles at timcoles@fumcpittsburgh.org to sign up. We are looking for Call to Worship and Offering Prayers. Please indicate which you would be interested in doing. If it does not matter to you, just indicate your interest and that is all. I will create a schedule and be in touch with you.

Thank you all so much for sticking with us through this time. Although it is difficult for everyone, we will continue to find ways to connect and to serve our community and the world through the good energy and intention of our church family. Would you help us by adding your voice to our worship?


HAS GOD BEEN CALLING YOU TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN ANTI-RACISM WORK?

Would you be excited to work with others to envision God’s fully-inclusive future for First Church? We are embarking on a journey to develop a Vision to guide us in transforming to an Anti-Racist Multicultural Church. This Vision will be nested within and consistent with our Living Stones Vision Statement.

 If you are willing to join us in this important work, e-mail us on or before Monday, October 5 at office@fumcpittsburgh.org. The Team will convene in mid-October via Zoom and hope to complete our work this calendar year. Thank you for prayfully considering this call from your Leadership Council.


A LETTER FROM OLIVIA MIGLIORI FOR OUR BLACK LIVES MATTER VIGILS

Dear First Church Family,

Now more than ever, our thoughts, prayers, worries, time, and commitments are being pulled in endless directions. Many causes, both personal and national, fight for our attention. Knowing this, I would like to invite you to join our weekly prayer vigils on Wednesdays at 6:00-6:30pm in front of FUMC to pray for racial justice.

Being present at these vigils for a brief 30 minutes allows me to feel hopeful. I often feel paralyzed by the idea that no thought, prayer, or action ever seems to be enough. Our street corner vigils may not “solve” racial injustice (if only it were that easy). Instead of looking for The Answer, I cherish the ability to come together in a time when we are so isolated to pray, to reflect, to grieve, and to reinvest in our commitment to fighting for a more just nation for our siblings of color.

If one person passing by feels seen because we acknowledge that our country does not default to valuing Black lives in the way that we should, we have taken a step in a positive direction. If coming together in this way restores in us our commitment to allow God to guide us to seek racial justice in a world that has been imperfect long before we got here, we have gained the stamina to be a part of creating something better.

Olivia Migliori 


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.


TO THE PARENTS OF COLLEGE STUDENTS

We would like to have the current mailing address of your students so that the Hospitality Committee can let them know their church family is thinking of them.   Please send the names and addresses to Karen Jacobs at ballroombuddies@verizon.net.   

Thank you.


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 Sunday Cast .

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

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

“The progress of the world will call for the best that all of us have to give”

– Mary McLeod Bethune


First Church 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 AssistantShelby Vane
shelby@fumcpittsburgh.org
Office office@fumcpittsburgh.org
Office Assistant Sherry Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager Curtis Mitchell
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Hospitality Nick Solic
nicsolic3@fumcpittsburgh.org
Music Intern Michael Dodin