In January 2020, the First Church Art Committee is sponsoring an exhibit of phone photos taken by adults, teens and children of First Unitarian Church! Beginning November 10, visit our table in the Undercroft Gallery during the social hour to learn about the exhibit and how you can take part by submitting your photo to the exhibit!
Enjoy Thanksgiving Fellowship and a lunch of Three Sisters Stew in the Undercroft Gallery, immediately following the service on Sunday, November 24th.
Many hands make light work! If you can help Saturday between 9-2, or on Sunday, please contact Raeann Olander-Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 412-660-0012.
It's a lot of fun and our church community will be thankful!!
November 3- last names T-Z;
November 10- last names A-B;
November 17- last names C-D;
December 1- last names E,F, G;
Dec. 8- last names H-K;
Dec. 15- last names L-M;
Dec. 22- last names N-Re,
January 5- last names Ri-S,
Jan. 12- last names T-Z.
Feel free to bake or cook, or pick something up at the store. The Community Table is about sharing and love. If you want to bake your heart out, that's great, but so are pretzels and Oreos! Some suggestions: fruit, nuts, veggie tray with or without dip, hummus, sliced meats and cheeses, salsa, pretzels, chips, fresh popcorn, cookies, brownies, coffee cake or fruit breads. Please bring enough for 25 people. Finger food is best, since we have very limited resources for cutting and preparing.
Giving statements for the third quarter have either been sent out electronically or are being sent out by mail. The statements include information from January 1 to September 30. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at church or via email at email@example.com. If you need a refresher on reading the new giving statements produced by Breeze, please refer back to my April Blog post.
If you ever wanted to do this pilgrimage, THIS is the year to do it since it will be the last trip led by long time Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (UUPCC) travel coordinator/tour guides, John Dale and Csilla Kolcsar, before they retire. You will surely have a smooth, engaging experience. The Pilgrimage is March 12-22, 2020 and the DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 5. The next Pilgrimage will not be until September 2021. Good news is that someone from our congregation is already registered, so that can be a comfort.
What an opportunity for an adventure and to connect with our Khasi Hills partners, representing our church and strengthening the bond. For 10 nights of lodging, most meals, and transportation within India, $1629 is quite a good deal. In the past our Social Justice Endowment Fund and the UUPCC Travel Grant Fund have generously supported this social service and denominational initiative. The UUPCC Travel Fund Deadline is October 15. There is also an opportunity for fascinating pre-trip tourist extensions before the pilgrimage, a wonderful opportunity since you are halfway across the world.
For information go to https://uupcc.org/pilgrimages/pilgrimage-opportunities and/or contact Karen Litzinger at 412-242-7045.
Say cheese . . and get your photo taken for the BREEZE online church directory. The Membership Team will staff a "photo booth" during Coffee Hour Oct. 6,13,& 27. Stop by,have your photo taken and uploaded into our new online Church Directory. It's a BREEZE and all you have to do is smile!
THE UU COMMUNITY SINGERS is our church/community choir. Make our church and our city a better place through music. No long-term commitment required, just come when you can. All skill levels welcome, from beginners to advanced singers. Rehearsals are held every Tuesday, Sept - June, 7:15-9:00.
Community Table schedule for Fall, 2019:
Sept 15- last names A-B;
Sept. 22- last names C-D;
Sept. 29- last names E, F, G;
Oct. 6- last names H-K;
Oct. 13- last names L-M;
Oct. 20- last names N- Re;
Oct 27- last names Ri-S;
Nov. 3- last Names T-Z;
Nov. 10-last names A-B.
Finger food is best, since we have very limited resources for cutting and preparing.
The new season for SongSpace is shaping up to be fantastic! We're kicking things off with Blues Legend Ernie Hawkins on Sept 21, 2019, and wrapping things up with Joe Crookston on May 2, 2020. In between we'll host The Heather Pierson Trio (a *great* jazz/folk/tin-pan-alley trio), the Afro-Yaqui Music Collective, and the Early Mays! Don't miss a single show!!
Are you interested in deepening your exploration of Unitarian Universalism? We are looking for facilitators who would like to lead a book reading group or facilitate a class on an area of interest. It's easy, and you don't have to be an expert; materials are provided! Scheduling is often determined by participant and facilitator preferences. Some potential topics for the 2019-20 year are the following:
UU history, older and recent
"Building the World We Dream About" - living out our hope of truly inclusive, multicultural engagement and community
"Spirit in Practice," Exploring spiritual practices
UUA Common Read book choice
Other topics of interest can be proposed, as well. Please contact Erica Shadowsong if you would like to know more about what is involved in facilitating. This is a wonderful way to contribute service to the church, as well as engage in community and enrich your own learning!
The major news of the summer is that Rev. Connie Grant has agreed to serve as interim minister for our church. Along with welcoming an experienced leader to help the church on the next phase of our journey, the finance team and board are also happy that we now have clarity on what the 2019 budget will be for the remainder of the year. While there was no significant difference overall from what we expected, the devil is always in the details and it feels good to have that resolved.
The Membership Team extends an exuberant welcome to five new First Church members:
Sarah and Trevett Hooper and their children, who have been attending church for about a year; Robert Eshbaugh, who has been a friend of the church and of the Sunday Morning Forum for sometime; and brand new members Jayne and Chris Gall. Jayne did attend this church as a child. Thanks to all of you for choosing First Church as your spiritual home.
Physicians ask Gov. Wolf for Moratorium on Fracking
Following a panel discussion on June 19th, members of Better Path Coalition, the Philadelphia Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and other health professionals provided Governor Wolf with a copy of the new "Fracking Compendium." (Link: www.psr.org/blog/resource/compendium-of-scientific-medical-and-media-findings-demonstrating-risks-and-harms-of-fracking/)
They also presented a letter requesting a pause in authorizing unconventional well permits and an investigation to determine whether or not fracking in areas of southwestern Pennsylvania is the cause of a cluster of rare childhood cancers and fatalities.
Later, the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg hosted the same presentation, which was open to the public. UUPLAN's Environmental Justice Team Co-Chair Rachel Mark created a PHOTO DIARY (Link: www.uuplan.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/BPC-Panel-6-19-2019.pdf) containing her own pictures and tweets from the events. Thank you, Rachel!
What to the Immigrant and People of Color is the Fourth of July? | A Sermon for the Nation by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Rev. Dr. Barber will speak about political violence against immigrants and people of color on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 at 7:00 PM EDT on Fusion Films
Lead! Special Summer Series: Abortion & Faith Messaging
Join NCJW and Catholics for Choice for a webinar about Abortion & Faith Messaging on Wednesday, July 17 at 1:30pm ET (10:30am PT).
First Unitarian Church began using Breeze for its church management software in January. Breeze includes the capability to provide an online directory of church members and friends. After initial testing with a limited number of users, the church is ready to roll out the online directory to the church community.
Want to help us be a more welcoming congregation? Looking for a simple way to volunteer at the church? Like meeting new people? Then become an usher/greeter! This is something that requires very little commitment (just show up about 15 minutes before service starts) or training. Help is especially needed on the 1st Sunday of the month. Please contact Rob Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
It’s Time to Think About Voting!
Our antiquated Pennsylvania election laws limit participation in elections to those who register 4 weeks before an election. Make sure your friends are registered!
Here’s the link to download the English version of the Voter Registration form: https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/documents/VoterApplication_English.pdf
Here’s the link to register to vote on-line. It’s in both English and Spanish. https://www.votespa.com/Register-to-Vote/Pages/How-to-Use-Online-Voter-Registration.aspx
What You Can Do About Abortion Bans
As you know, politicians in multiple states are passing laws that ban abortion at a point before most people know they're pregnant. What can we do here in Pennsylvania? CLICK HERE to find out how you can take action.
The Time is NOW to End Gerrymandering
Time is running out to end partisan redistricting in Pennsylvania before the next census changes our districts again for yet another decade.
Two bills in the Pennsylvania House – HB 22 and HB 23 – will end gerrymandering once and for all, by guaranteeing free and equal elections for all Pennsylvania voters.
Learn what you can do on the Fair Districts Website.
Tell Your Senator: Help Protect Families from Gun Violence
The PA legislature has the chance to do something that makes sense and saves lives: enact SB 90 / Extreme Risk Protection Orders. This bill creates a civil court process family members and law enforcement can use to temporarily bar access to firearms by a family member at risk of harming himself or others.
Ask your Senator to sign on, (or thank them if they already have!)
(Visit www.uuplan.org for more news and action alerts.)
If you ever wanted to do this pilgrimage, THIS is the year to do it since it will be the last trip led by long time Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (UUPCC) travel coordinator/tour guides, John Dale and Csilla Kolcsar, before they retire. You will surely have a smooth, engaging experience.
March 12-22, 2020 may seem a long way off, but the DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 5, AND IT MAY FILL QUICKLY because it is their last trip.
What an opportunity for an adventure and to connect with our Khasi Hills partners, representing our church and strengthening the bond. For 10 nights of lodging, most meals, and transportation within India, $1629 is quite a good deal. In the past our Social Justice Endowment Fund and the UUPCC Travel Grant Fund have generously supported this social service and denominational initiative. There is also an opportunity for fascinating pre-trip tourist extensions before the pilgrimage, a wonderful opportunity since you are halfway across the world.
For information go to https://uupcc.org/pilgrimages/pilgrimage-opportunities and/or contact Karen Litzinger at 412-242-7045.
The Annual Church Picnic is scheduled for June 2nd, immediately following the service and it’s a great way to enjoy each others’ company! Please consider volunteering for an hour or so to help make it a success. We could use help with set-up, keep-up, and clean-up. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Raeann Olander-Murray at Raeann.email@example.com or 412-660-0012 (call or text).
The UUA is advising that several UU congregations have reported that their members are receiving scam emails that are requesting gift card donations for a charitable cause. Religious groups and congregations are becoming easy targets for these types of scams.
Even in this time of transition, the church's fund raising practices remain the same. No staff member or church leader will call, text, or email you asking for an "emergency" donation for a charitable cause. Marion's Purse is our reserve fund for use in these situations, so no one will be called. Donations to the church are only via cash (at events and services), check payable to the church, texting as listed in our order of service, or our online giving page. The monthly Share the Plate during Sunday Service is the intentional way the church collects funds to support community groups.
The Interim Minister Search Committee is very pleased to announce that the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh has completed a final agreement with The Rev. Constance L. Grant to become our Interim Minister, beginning August 1, 2019.
Connie (as she prefers to be called) earned her MDiv. From Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2000. She comes to us after a two-year interim ministry at the UU Fellowship of Midland, MI. Previously, she had served as the called Congregational Life Minister at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL, Minister for Education at the UU Society of Sacramento, CA, and Interim Minister of Religious Education at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights, OH. Early in her ministry, Connie also worked closely with the Lay Leadership Development Office of the UUA in their roll out of the Covenant Group Program.
The breadth of Connie’s experience in the ministerial transition process and in a wide variety of congregational ministerial roles were very appealing to your Search Team.
Connie is an accomplished and effective preacher, writer, and educator. Indeed, her use of metaphor and narrative in her sermons is masterful and moving. But she is not a flamboyant person. Her answers in her Ministerial Record and in our interview with her were concise, complete and reflected a no-nonsense experiential knowledge that we felt was extraordinary and particularly applicable to the challenges and opportunities we face here at First Unitarian.
The conversations that each of the members of the search committee had with the individuals whom Rev. Grant had suggested as references revealed that she has been consistently seen as an intelligent, warm, pragmatic leader. One of her former professors at Meadville Lombard said that Connie was the brightest students she ever had. Here’s what the president of the Board of The UU Fellowship of Midland said about her:
“Connie prioritized the things that needed to be done in order for us to become the healthy, functioning congregation we have the capacity to be and to complete the tasks needed to support our search for a settled minister. Although it may sound like hyperbole it is not an exaggeration to say that, within a few short weeks of her arrival, we felt like a community again.”
(Incidentally, the membership at the Midland congregation grew by 30% during Connie’s ministry there.)
We could go on, but we think you get the picture.
Connie is absolutely thrilled to be coming here and can't wait to begin her ministry at First UU. She requested that we share with you what she considers her professional mission: Helping people live lives of meaning and wholeness through Unitarian Universalist congregational life.
Our congregation has entered a transitional period when we move from who we were, to understanding who we are, to becoming who we are meant to be. Your Interim Minister Search Committee is confident that the Rev. Constance L. Grant is the minister to lead us on this journey.
INTERIM MINISTER SEARCH COMMITTEE
John Hooper, Chair
Al Schwartz, former Chair, who formed and led the team through 80% of the process
Azi Mussalehdan Block
Others: Martin Schmidt and Claus Makowka
As part of First U governance, and of particular importance now that we are lay-led, the congregation is asked to come together in conversation twice a year to share thoughts about the work of the church. Sessions are designed both to build community and to assure that all voices at First U are heard in the decision making processes.
Please join together in guided conversation pertaining to First Unitarian Church Priorities:
* Create a strong sense of BELONGING for ALL who enter our doors
* Explore paths to the formation of a long-lasting and meaningful FIRST UNITARIAN / COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
Conversations are being held the following days and times:
Wed May 8 7:00-8:30 pm, Thurs May 9 6:30-8:00 pm, Sunday, May 12 noon - 1:30, Sunday, May 12 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Mon May 13 6:30-8:00 pm, Tues May 14 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Thurs May 16 5:00 - 6:30 pm
The link to sign up is:
Childcare provided if requested in the comment line.
We are also thinking about offering a virtual session. If you are interested in this option or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Unitarian held several work parties at the homes at 6928 Bennett St. The end product is a beautiful energy efficient and safe home for the new women owners. There are 3 spacious bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus living room, kitchen and dining area. You can see the homes from the outside by driving by at 6928 Bennett St.