First Church Notes for 04.17.2022

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.

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!

Gardening Party

On Monday, the day after Easter, we will receive a large delivery of mulch.  If you are so inclined, you are invited to come to the church about 11 AM to join the fellowship of folks spreading that mulch throughout the church gardens.

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.

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.

Youth Bowling Trip

We’re AMF Nobel Lanes Sunday, April 24th, right after church. Children and youth of all ages are invited! Children under 12 should be accompanied by a guardian. Please RSVP to by Thursday, April 21, so that we can reserve enough lanes.

Sunday School classes will not meet on Easter Sunday

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

Note: The Seekers class will not meet on Easter.

On Sunday, April 24, Joe Smith will lead the Seekers class in a discussion of N.T. Wright’s views of the resurrection.

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

In creating a place of honor for every issue, and every experience, we create a different form of power that is rooted in the whole truth of who we are.

–Ai-Jen Poo

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