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.
TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK THIS WEEKEND!
We wouldn’t want you to be early for our online SundayCast! Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 1st at 2am.
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.
ALL-SAINTS SUNDAY THIS SUNDAY
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com. 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.
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:
- Online donations at https://familypromiseswpa.org/donate-now/
- Volunteer to do a food pick up at distribution sites and deliver to a family. Contact Glenna Wilson if you wish to do this. firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.519.5062
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 (email@example.com) or Claudia (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to continuing this justice-seeking journey together!
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
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 email@example.com
Coffee and Chat – Michele Jury firstname.lastname@example.org
High School – Alyssa Stadelman email@example.com
Middle School – Joe Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
And Godly Play is now offering a virtual story time each Sunday morning at 9:30 am 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
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
FIRST CHURCH STAFF
|Director of Music and Community||Tim Coles|
|Director of Spiritual Formation||Joe Smith|
|Office Assistant||Sherry Kaiser|
|Building Maintenance Manager|
|Custodians|| Lamont Hunter|
|Music Intern||Michael Dodin|