First Church Notes: 12.06.2020


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


Welcome to First 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.


GIVE ONE, TAKE ONE

This familiar saying can often be seen next to cash registers and referring to pennies. Give a Penny if you have one, take a Penny if you need one. Well, this saying applies to our Cold Weather Gear collection boxes as well. We will have two brightly wrapped collection boxes outside the Aiken Avenue entrance during the day. If you are able to give items such as hats, gloves, scarves, socks, coats or blankets, drop them in the box at any time. And if you or anyone you know needs cold weather items, please take one out of the box, use it and stay warm! 


 ADVENT BIBLE STUDIES

Tuesdays with Advent

Tuesday evenings (Dec 1 – Dec. 22), 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Pastor Tracy will facilitate a study of four Advent Hymns that have sustained the hope of many through the years. Lyrics and composers will be studied along with Scripture references. We will remember these hymns from our own past we search for new paths of comfort and challenge.

·       Dec 21 – Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

·       Dec 8 – In the Bleak Midwinter

·       Dec 15 – Come, O Come, Emmanuel

·       Dec 22 – I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

To get the Zoom link for this study, please RSVP to office@fumcpittsburgh.org


Light of the World

Seekers Class meeting

Sunday mornings (Nov. 29 – Dec 20), 9:45-10:45 am

Launch Meeting – Zoom

Based on Jewish New Testament Scholar Amy-Jill Levine’s book by the same title, Joe Smith will facilitate this study, which traces the Christmas narrative through the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, and the visit from the Magi. These stories open conversations about the role of women in first-century Jewish culture, the revolutionary implications of Mary’s Magnificat, the connections of the Gospel stories to the Old Testament, and much more! 


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?

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


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.


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 (cdetwiler@icloud.com). 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 sam.procter@gmail.com – Spirit of Justice class will meet with the Seekers during Advent.

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 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

“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”

― Thomas Merton


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
Office Administrator Gwendolen Jackson
Office office@fumcpittsburgh.org
Office Assistant Sherrie Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Music InternMichael Dodin