First Church Notes: 12.28.2019

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


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 MessyChurches around the world.

Our time together begins 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. Finally, we all sit down to a family-style lunch where the fun continues. There is no cost to attend. There is no need to change clothes. 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, January 5th at 12:30 pm! 


FUMC is seeking to hire two new Sunday Morning childcare providers. If you know someone who might be interested in this part time position, please email Joe

In the mean time, we would like to broaden our pool of childcare volunteers to fill in the gaps in our staffing. If you are interested in volunteering one hour/month or less to help care for our preschool age children or infants during either the Sunday School hour or worship, or if you are interested in temporarily coordinating childcare volunteers until the staff position is filled, please email Joe

EcoMinistry News

Join us on January 14th at 7 pm for our 2020 planning meeting. One of the ideas is a daytime reading group on food, farming and agriculture. It’s a complicated topic and we are considering a Wendell Barry book as a place to start. If that is of interest to you, please join us.

And, thank you to all who gave to the carbon offset project. $1930 will be given to support two community projects that improve the quality of our environment.


If you have a new or gently used set of hats and/or gloves, we are seeking to replenish our Caring Cupboard as the weather can turn dangerously cold and affect those who have little to no shelter. You may drop them off at the church at any time.


As you un-decorate from your Christmas celebrations in January, please consider if you may have a decoration or two to donate to First Church. We are seeking pre-lit Christmas trees (white lights) of any size, blue, silver, or gold decorations of any kind.

You may bring them into the church office any time during the month of January.


On January 5th after worship, the LGBTQIA+ Task Force will be watching the Pride Denied documentary and discussing why we as a community have/have not participated in the Pittsburgh Pride Parade in the past to help us discern our plans for this year. If you are interested in participating in this time of learning and discussion, please email Anais: to let her know. 


Fat Tuesday before Lent is for pancakes, but Fat Saturday is for cake, birthday cake!  Please save the date of Saturday, February 22, 2020 for First Church’s “Fat Saturday Birthday Bash”.

There will be a table for each month of the year – decorated in a theme chosen by the host of that table who will make and decorate a delicious theme birthday cake.  Attendees will be asked to join the table corresponding to their birthday to enjoy cake, snacks and good conversation.   Volunteers willing to choose a month (it doesn’t have to be your birthday month) and host that table or anyone willing to organize/coordinate the tables, should email Karen Merrick (   May, July and August have been chosen, but the remaining months are open – first come, first served! AND…there will be entertainment! First Church is full of very talented people. Please consider sharing your talent either solo or with friends and contribute to the evening’s program. Register by contacting Tim Coles ( or Dave Keller (

More information to come, but for now – save the date and please consider volunteering for one of the following to make this event a success:

·         Host a table by yourself or with a friend (bake a cake and decorate it and the table in your chosen theme)

·         Organize/coordinate the host tables

·         Be part of the talent show!


Sponsored by the Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team      January – February 2020

Please join participants from across the Pittsburgh District who will be meeting in January and February 2020 to discuss challenging issues about race and racism. In light of the current environment across the country, it is incredibly important that we discuss these topics in our communities of faith.   

Participants are asked to attend four meetings, one each week. Since all three meetings each week will cover the same topics, attendees should feel free to participate in any one of the three. Here are the dates:

South Avenue UMC: Tuesdays at 7 PM – Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, and Feb. 11 

Baldwin UMC:    Wednesdays at 7 PM – Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 5, and Feb. 12

McKnight UMC:  Thursdays at 7 PM – Jan. 23, Jan 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13

The teams leading these sessions expect to draw on a variety of resources, including the New York Times 1619 Project.

Please contact the Pittsburgh District Office to confirm your participation via email ( or phone call (412-281-7154). Additional information will be distributed soon! 


Inspired, Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again, by Rachel Held Evans, will guide our conversation as we gather to discuss the stories, events, people and history of the Bible.  This class will be led by Pastor Tracy and all questions and comments are welcome.  Reading the book Inspired, ahead of the class may be helpful for you, but not required to participate in conversation. The class will meet in the parlor where we will be joined by the Seekers Class.


Sunday, December 29

11:00am          Worship in the Sanctuary

Monday, December 30

Church Office Closed

6:15                 Phoenix Institute

Tuesday, December 31

Church Office Closed

  7:45am          Susan Rupani Yoga

10:00am          Play Group

  7:30pm          NA Reading Group

Wednesday, January 1

New Year’s Day Church Office Closed

9:30am            AA

7:30pm            NA

Thursday, January 2

9:30am            IWAP

  2:00pm          Strengthen and Stretch

 7:00pm           Interplay

Friday, January 3

12:00pm          AA – Cookies & Kisses

  1:00pm          East End Song Studio

  5:30pm          Women’s AA

Saturday, December 28

  9:00am          First Food & Friends

Tracy Cox
DeaconAnais Hussian
Director of Music and Community Tim Coles
Director of Spiritual Formation Joe Smith
Administrative Secretary TBA
Office Assistant Sherry Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager Curtis Mitchell
Custodians Lamont Hunter
Tacoma Woods
Hospitality Nick Solic
Music Intern Michael Dodin