First Church Notes for 04.10.2022

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

Welcome to First Notes!

If you have items for our notes, we ask that they be submitted to the office by email no later than Wednesdays at 9:00 AM.

First Food and Friends

First Church will be providing the volunteer team for the First Food and Friends Saturday meal on April 9.  We will prepare and serve the meal from 9am to 1pm or any time in between that you would be able to help.  Meet in the church kitchen.

In addition, we will be packing Easter Breakfast Bundles that will be given to our friends the following Saturday so that they can enjoy an Easter breakfast.

Palm Sunday Procession

This Sunday is Palm Sunday! Kids and teens who want to join the joyful procession with palms and instruments, join Joe and Rudeene in the sanctuary at 10:30 am. 

Fellowship Hour in the Courtyard on Easter Sunday

All are invited to join in a fellowship/coffee hour after worship on Easter Sunday!  We hope to gather outside in the courtyard — or Fellowship Hall if the weather is cold or rainy.  Simple, safe refreshments will be provided.

Please come and enjoy a First Church tradition that we have so missed during these past couple years of the pandemic!

Easter Flowers

Easter holds a wonderful place for us to remember and honor our loved ones through the gifting of lilies and flowers. Traditionally our Easter bulletins list the names of those who are being remembered and honored. Families have purchased flowers that are used for adorning the altar on Easter, then the flowers are taken home by those that purchased them.

We honor this Easter tradition this year in a new way. Families are able to remember and honor loved ones by giving a gift of $10.00. Rather than lilies and tulips, gifts received will be gathered and sent to UMCOR to support Ukrainian refugees. Rather than purchasing flowers, the community of FUMC is asked to craft flowers (any flower is acceptable, from tissue, paper plate, Kleenex, construction paper, etc…) and bring them to church so that the altar rail and altar can be adorned for the Easter Celebration. On Palm Sunday we will provide flower kits for the children and instructions on how to create a few types of flowers.

In addition to crafting these flowers, we are asking that prayers for Ukraine are written on the flower.

With your donation, please give the correct spelling of your loved ones that will be listed on the bulletin insert.

If you’d like to honor a loved one but are unable to give a donation at this time, you can just provide the name.

Lenten Devotionals

Each morning at 6:00am a new devotional will appear in our YouTube playlist. We are grateful for all of the wonderful participation and anticipate a deeper connection as we share stories with one another.

Here is the link for the devotional playlist:

Lenten Devotional Playlist

Special Call One-Item Charge Conference

On Monday, April 18th, at 7:00 PM there will be a special call charge conference to confirm Pastor Tracy’s salary. The charge conference will be held on Zoom only. If you’d like to attend, please contact for the Zoom invite.

Saving Lives, Keeping the Peace: A Forum on Policing and Social Justice

Event Purpose/Expectations

This event will be an opportunity for participants to explore how communities of faith can be supportive of the ongoing, long-term efforts of organizations that have been working with law enforcement and local government to bring about changes for the common good. This gathering will be a space to listen, learn, ask questions, and identify how can best do our part in this important work.

We will explore how we can effectively work together in saving lives and keeping the peace as communities, communities of faith, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations

Event Date / Time:  

Sunday, April 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m                    

Vigil in memory of Jim Rogers and Peter Spencer – at 12:30-1:00 p.m.

on the corner of Centre Ave. and South Aiken  

Revival Chili Food Truck – at 12:00 noon

Event location:

First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh, 5401 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh

Masks Required 


Confirmed presenters are leaders of the following organizations:

The Abolitionist Law Center

The Alliance for Police Accountability 

The Black Political Empowerment Project 

Christian Associates of SW PA

Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board

Sponsoring organizations:

The Alliance for Police Accountability

The Black Political Empowerment Project

The Pittsburgh District (United Methodist) Anti-Racism Team

The Quaker Working Group Against Racism     

Questions should be directed to the church office at  

Bethel AME Table Talk

As residents of the Pittsburgh area, most of you know about or have even lived through the period in the 1950s when the push for a renaissance of the city was tragically intertwined with the destruction of the vibrant Black community of the Hill District. In 1954 the beautiful Romanesque Bethel AME church was demolished to make room for the Civic Arena. The 3000 member congregation was largely dispersed in the aftermath of the wholesale razing of the Lower Hill. Now, that this plot of land serves as a parking lot for the Penguins Arena, Bethel AME is assembling allies in their fight for reparations and acknowledgement of the wrong that was inflicted upon them. (0:50)

Developing a willingness to contemplate and accept the responsibilities that we inherited from the history of our denomination and, specifically, its local history is an important part of the journey to become an anti-racist congregation. We now have a unique opportunity for our congregation to become engaged in this important topic of social justice for and together with our Black neighbors.

Please join us on Thursday evening, April 21st, at 7:00 PM, when Pastor Dr. Dale Snyder from Bethel AME and his team will give us a presentation and lead a discussion about the possibilities of reparation and restitution. As an introduction to the topic and the possible paths forward, Pastor Snyder recommended to us the book “Reparations – A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair” by Duke L. Kwon and Gregory Thompson. Insights from this book will be guiding the event. We have some copies of the book at the church office for those who cannot make the purchase on their own.

The event will be in-person, with a simultaneous virtual (Zoom) option.

If you have questions, please contact the church office or Pastor Tracy.

You will also find this announcement in the First Church Notes with further details.

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

Sunday School classes meet each Sunday from 9:45 to 10:45 AM. A combination of online and in-person classes reflects our commitment to being one community in multiple locations and modalities.

Sunday School Classes for Children and Youth

Miss Helen and Miss Becky are holding Godly Play in person and ONLINE. (Watch on YouTube on Sunday mornings at 9:30.)

Older children and youth will gather in the Fellowship Hall with Joe and Rudeene for group games and discussions about the Bible, spirituality, and social justice.

The nursery (just outside the sanctuary) is staffed by Emily Burke, our loving and nurturing childcare professional, from 9:30 to 12:30 each Sunday.

There are no online Sunday School offerings for children or youth at this time.

Godly Play will be celebrating Passover on April 3, both online and in person.

Godly Play will celebrate Palm Sunday both online and in person on April 10.

Online sessions premiere on YouTube at 9:30am.  In person sessions start at 10:00am.

On Easter Sunday, join Miss Helen and Miss Becky for Easter Sunrise Service premiering on YouTube at 6:30 am.  There will be no in person Godly Play on Easter Sunday.

Adult Discussion Groups


Sundays 9:45-10:45 AM

The Seekers class is facilitated by one of our former pastors, Rev. David Keller. They discuss various topics related to the Bible, spirituality, justice, and personal growth.

Interested persons can join us by obtaining the Zoom ID and code from the church office at

Coffee and Chat

Sundays 9:45-10:45 AM

A casual conversation group. A Zoom link is available. Please contact the church office ( for more information or to receive the Zoom link.

A Prayerful Quote

I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy…Don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you. How do I know that? Because you’re here and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.

–Senator Cory Booker, during Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings

Church Staff

Tracy Cox
DeaconAnais Hussian
Director of Music and Community Tim Coles
Director of Spiritual Formation Joe Smith
Office Administrator Gwendolen Jackson
Office Assistant Sherrie Kaiser
Building Maintenance Manager Nelson Viola
Custodians Tacoma Woods
Freddie Griffin
Digital Tech Engagement SpecialistMichael Dodin
Youth & Community InternRudeene Jackson