First Church Notes for August 7, 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.

Livestream This Week

This week during in-person worship we will be celebrating Communion. If you’ll be celebrating with us by livestream, please prepare something for you and your household to share. If you don’t have bread and grape juice, feel free to use sweet breads and coffee/tea/juice and celebrate as a love feast.

Preview of Next Sunday, August 14th

Please join us for:

10:00 AM Worship: In Person and Livestream

11:10 AM Annual Conference Conversation – Led by Pastor Tracy Cox, Anais Hussian, Dave Krackhardt, and Tracy Merrick

Please view the Annual Conference Conversation Primer which was emailed on August 2nd, think about questions the video raises for you, and bring your questions to this in-person session in the Fellowship Hall. It will also be livestreamed.

Noon Black Lives Matter Vigil – Led by Don Blinn and Tony Brown

Please join us on the corner of Centre and South Aiken for prayers, singing, and calls to action.

Help Build UMCOR Flood Bucket and Hygiene Kits

Please note the date change that all donations should be received no later than August 14.

List has been updated to reflect what has already been donated.

Everyone is invited to participate in our goal of assembling 25 flood buckets and 50 hygiene kits for UMCOR. You may do this in 1 of 3 ways. 1) Visit the display table following worship on Sunday morning and receive cards for the items you agree to purchase, 2) make a monetary donation by writing a check to First UMC of Pittsburgh with “UMCOR” written in the corner (“sponsoring” a flood bucket would require $75-$100 and a health kit $12-$15), 3) look over the list below, choose items to purchase and let the church office know what those items are. All donations must be received in the church office (please make arrangements with Gwendolen) or delivered to worship no later than August 14. Kits will be assembled during worship the following Sunday.

bathroom hand towel    NEED 16

sturdy comb with at least 6″ of teeth    NEED 32

toenail or fingernail clipper    NEED 41

bath soap 3 oz or larger (no Ivory or Jergen’s)    NEED 8

10 adhesive bandages 3/4″ x 3″     NEED 31 GROUPS OF 10

32-64 oz liquid laundry detergent    NEED 9

16-40 oz bottle liquid concentrate household cleaner (no spray cleaners)     NEED 13

16-34 oz bottle dish soap    NEED 0

4-8 oz pump spray air freshener (liquid, not gel)    NEED 19

6-14 oz pump spray insect repellent – pump must have protective cover    NEED 23

scrub brush    NEED 10

18 re-useable cleaning wipes (Handi-wipes)    NEED 18 GROUPS OF 18

5 scouring pads    NEED 16 GROUPS OF 5

36-50 clothespins     NEED 22 PACKAGES

50-100′ clothesline    NEED 11

24 roll heavy-duty trash bags (33-45 gallon size)    NEED 12 ROLLS OF 24

5 N95 particulate respirator dust masks (1-3 mm thickness)    NEED 14 GROUPS OF 5

2 pairs kitchen gloves    NEED 19 GROUPS OF 2

1 pair work gloves – cotton with leather palm or all leather    NEED 13

We’ve received some feedback that certain sizes and items are hard to find. If you are having trouble finding the right size of whatever item you picked, please consider giving a monetary donation instead. UMCOR has asked for specific sizes for proper packing of these buckets, so it’s important that we stay within their guidelines.

Please plan on helping with this very important mission project. Thank you.

NOH8 Campaign

FUMC and the Pittsburgh Equality Center will be hosting a photo shoot for the NOH8 Campaign in the Fellowship Hall on Aug. 16th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. For more information, check out the Facebook event or the NOH8 website:

Facebook: Open NOH8 Photo Shoot in Pittsburgh, PA | Facebook

NOH8 website: Open Photo Shoot in Pittsburgh, PA | NOH8 Campaign

All Church Summer Picnic – Save the Date for August 28th!

After a two-year absence due to COVID, we will have an All Church Summer Picnic on Sunday, August 28th, immediately following the 10 am worship.  Please mark this date on your calendars and plan to come and enjoy the fun!

See you there on August 28th!

Reparations Study Group

A group of us at First Church have been learning about reparations as a practice of racial justice.

We will be studying the ways in which reparations are practiced by faith traditions and discussing what reparations might mean for witness by First Church.

If you would like to join in this study process, please contact the church office at

Fundraising for Sound and Media Project

As some of you already may have heard, at the beginning of the month Leadership Council approved our Sanctuary Sound and Media Upgrades Project. We are extremely thankful for the support that the board of the Preacher’s Aid Society is giving this project by underwriting 50% of the cost. Another thanks goes to Tim and Michael, who worked so diligently to define the exact needs and the scope of this project for our vendor.

Now it is on us as the congregation to fund the other 50% ($45,000) of this project, which will significantly change the experience for both those who worship in-person as well as those who participate through our online streaming.

A steering committee is being formed for the purpose of successfully executing a fundraising campaign. We hope to have this in place by the end of the month so that work on the campaign can begin in August and will be completed by the end of the year. If you think that you can make a contribution with your creativity and organizing skills for this fundraising effort, we would like you to prayerfully consider participating or even leading this committee.  Please contact the church office if you are willing to consider helping with your time and talent, so that we can make this campaign a success.

Oh, and in case you already want to donate to this cause…Please mark your gift “Sound and Media”.

Job Posting – Please Share

Associate Director (First Food and Friends)

This is a part-time position.  The Associate Director is assigned to work at least two Saturdays/month: on the first and fourth week of the month, averaging 10-15 hours per month.  In addition, the Associate Director will oversee the Saturday program in the Director’s absence. 

The Associate Director will assist the Director in preparing and serving meals every Saturday with the volunteers.  The Associate Director will have the following job duties:

   *Report directly to the Director.

   *Pick up assigned weekly donations; including weighing, packaging, and storing the products in the kitchen.

   *Assist volunteers in prep work, preparing meals, serving, and packaging the snack bags and other preparations. 

   *Assist with cleanup in the facility including the kitchen area. 

   *Meet with the Director every fourth week in the month.

   *Completion of the Allegheny County Food Service Training within 90 days of employment. (This is required.)

   *Completion of miscellaneous duties assigned by Director.

Additional requirements/duties:

   *Associate Director will receive mileage reimbursement for driving to pick up the donations.

   *Associate Director will complete Act 33 as a condition of employment.

   *Associate Director will be paid for one month trial period, while training with the Director.

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 do not meet during Sumer schedule. They will resume in September.

A Prayerful Quote

You Americans think of Christianity as a farm with a fence. Your question is, “Are you inside the fence or outside of it?” We Africans think differently. We think of Christianity as a farm with no fence. Our question is, “Are you heading towards the farm, or away from it?” The church’s identity is not defined primarily by its edges, but by its center: focused on Christ, the sole source of our identity, no intruder poses a threat.

–Kenda Casey Dean, Almost Christian

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