January 30, 2020
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This Weekend at First Unitarian Church
Worship Celebration
Sunday, Febuary 2, 2020, @ 10:30 am

“You Are Not a White Supremacist”

But what is white supremacy?  An exploration of a difficult topic.  Rev. Connie Grant speaking.
Music by: Edward Leonard, Music Director, Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh;

UU Community Singers, Kris Rust, director

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This Sunday's flowers were dedicated by Nick Izzo in memory of Marie Ann Izzo, who passed away Feb 1, 2018. The lovely arrangement was created by his daughter Olivia.  
Getting to the Heart of the Matter (in six words more-or-less):
A Congregational Experience
Sunday, March 1, noon – 3:00 pm in the Undercroft Gallery
The objectives of this congregational gathering are two-fold
1) To offer an opportunity for congregants to articulate and share their thoughts and feelings (in six words more-or-less) about what this congregation is and can be, for themselves, for each other, and for the larger community.  (This is the “experience” part.)
2) To generate a congregational covenant that can become part of Sunday morning liturgy, expressing the foundational and aspirational identity of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh.  (This is the “product” part.)
Facilitated by Rev. Connie Grant; sponsored by the VIM (Vision Identity Mission) Team and the Transition Team.  Lunch will be provided for participants. 
Please register
here by February 23.
An “experience” not to be missed!  Be there or be square!
Ministerial Search Update
We have been assigned a Transitions Coach from the Central East Region of the UUA, and we will soon proceed with the process of nominating and electing a Ministerial Search Committee.  Kathy Kerns, from Kent, Ohio, will be our guest speaker at the Sunday service on March 22.  At an informational meeting following the service, we will introduce the nomination and election process and Kathy will answer questions about the search.   
Plan to attend the service and meeting on March 22, and watch for further details! 

Please SAVE THE DATE for the First Unitarian Church Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 17, 2020, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. in the Undercroft Gallery.
At this meeting, the congregation will elect new members of the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee. As part of the process of preparing to search for a new settled minister, the Board will also be asking the congregation to approve amended church bylaws.
We are a self-governing congregation. No "higher-ups" tell us what to do - we make our own decisions, and the Annual Congregational Meeting is where we do it. Mark your calendars now so you don't miss it!
The women's Alliance has funds from the Irene Hanes Mowy Semple fund to add to the church Sanctuary. Instead of a florist's bouquet each month, we have divided the money between four or five Sundays a month for the last year. They are arranged by volunteers.
Dedicated flowers are also invited; to buy a bouquet for a loved one to honor a special occasion. Call Chris Michaels: 412-731-8450 or At least two weeks advance notice is required so she can cancel the Women's Alliance flowers and send a specific dedication to the order of service. 

UU Pittsburgh Community Singers 
Contact Director Kris Rust for more information: 412-352-8488

We are so proud of the Community Singers for taking part in the Let Freedom Sing Concerts last weekend. You really helped make it a great occasion!

We are resuming our regular Tuesday rehearsals this week.  And this coming Sunday morning, Feb 2, we will sing "Oh Freedom," "In Bright Mansions," and "True Light" in the service at First Unitarian.

Other events of interest.  Attendance encouraged.

Feb 2, Sunday, 6 pm - The Deryck Tines Gospel Chorale @ City of Asylum on the Northside, 40 W. North St. 15212.  Reserve your free tickets:

The Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh

We start 2020 with a world premiere by Federico Garcia-De Castro. The program will also include the Pipa Concerto by Lou Harrison featuring Yang Jin as soloist, and special guest Afro Yaqui on the second half of the program.
02/07/20 @ 7:30 pm

Incidental Chamber Players, in collaboration with the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, has announced the details of its 2020 chamber music concert series ELEMENTS curated by flutist Brittany Trotter.
Each concert in this five-concert series is curated by one of its members featuring music that speaks to their personal histories or “elements” of their identities. Dedicated to their mission of highlighting music that has been unjustly forgotten or ignored, the program includes works by living, BIPOC, women and LGBTQ+ composers from Pittsburgh, this country, and the world.

The season-opening begins on February 17, 7 pm at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. Curated by flutist Brittany Trotter, the concert will feature music from Gene Pritsker, David Earl, Halim El-Dabh, and Valerie Coleman. Tickets ($15 for adults, $5 for students) may be purchased at the door. For more information about the concerts may be found at

ELEMENTS I — Monday, February 17, 7 pm
Works by Valerie Coleman, Gene Pritsker, David Earl and Halim El-Dabh.

ELEMENTS II — Monday, March 16, 7 pm
Works by Pablo Gómez-Estévez, Jonathan Pina, Hilario Gonzales, and Darwin Aquino.
ELEMENTS III — Monday, April 20, 7 pm
Works by Valerie Coleman, Janet Beat, Alex Temple, and Erwin Schulhoff.
ELEMENTS IV — Monday, May 18, 7 pm
Works by Rebecca Clarke, Sergei Prokofiev, Franz Schubert, and Mark Fromm.
ELEMENTS V — Monday, June 15, 7 pm
Works by William Grant Still, Jennifer Higdon, Laurel Zucker, and Darius Milhaud.

Ongoing on Sundays after church
FOR THOSE WHO ENTERED PHOTOS IN THE PHOTO EXHIBITION: The photo exhibit has been dismantled. Photos have been put into clear envelopes and are ready for you to take home. They are in a box in the Undercroft Gallery. Please check off your name on the list beside the box when you take your photo. Your matted photo will fit into a standard 11 x 14 frame if you want to frame it.


Sankofa Legacy presented by Women Of Visions

Artists Reception on Sunday, Feb 2, 12:00 - 2:00

"About to embark on their 40th Anniversary Women of Visions, once again embraces the Sankofa bird, African symbol of “looking back to look forward.” Gathering wisdom from the past to make the path forward more productive is a theme which stimulates the creative energy, and informs the work by this diverse group of women. Their talents cover every medium including fiber, painting, ceramics, sculpture, film and mixed media. This exhibition presents only a sampling.”
Founded in 1981 and incorporated in 1995 as a non-profit, Women of Visions was formed as a need to recognize the art of African American Women, providing exhibition opportunities, mentoring, and professional development in the arts not usually obtainable or available. To that end, the organizations mounts collaborative shows with other arts groups and individuals, and builds relationships to create visibility both in Pittsburgh and beyond.

Adult Religious Education
Doing the Work – Workshops on Understanding Racism and White Privilege
You are invited to join Pittsburgh Freethought Community/First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh workshops on understanding racism and white privilege. We have scheduled six sessions that will include lecture, discussion, and multi-media presentations along with assigned readings. The purpose of this series is to develop the understanding and ability of white people to do the work of dismantling racism. We ask that participants commit to reading the assigned material. We strongly encourage participants to attend all sessions; each session, however, covers a separate topic and will be open to all.

All sessions will take place in the Undercroft Gallery at First Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

Session #2 - A Historical Analysis of Racism - February 9, 2020, 1 to 3 PM
Racism has been upheld by myriad policies and laws over the history of our nation. Laws that have been enacted with the intent of ending racism and discrimination have been ineffective.

Session # 3 - The Invention of Whiteness - February 23, 2020, 1 to 3 PM
Where did whiteness come from? Who is white and how do people get to be labeled white? How does whiteness function? How do we perpetuate the value assigned to whiteness?

Session #4 - Disadvantage and Advantage -  March 8, 2020, 2 to 4 PM (Note time change!)
If black people are disadvantaged by racism, who is reaping those advantages? We will identify some of the advantages white people receive, discuss what it might mean not to have them, and imagine what a fair society would be.

Session #5 - Doing Anti-racism -  March 22, 2020, 1 to 3 PM
Good intentions are not enough. What stops white people from engaging with others about racism? Can white people be sensitive to the pain of oppressed people without centering their own experiences or feelings?

Session #6 - Wrapping Up and Moving Forward - April 5
1 to 3 PM

Each of us has power that we can use to oppose racist policies and customs. Participants will reflect on the discussions and suggest anti-racist actions.
To sign up for the workshop, please send an email to one of the facilitators:

John Hooper -
Liz Hrenda -
Mary Schinhofen –
A detailed description of each session along with assigned readings will be emailed to each person who registers for the workshop.


UUA 2019-20 Common Read:  An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States

A book discussion group for the UUA common read this year will begin meeting in January, on the 3rd Sundays of each month, from 12 - 1:30 pm!  Interested in joining?  Please email Erica  

New Common Read General Discussion Group Feb. 23, March 29, and April 26
This second group is a general discussion group for anyone unable to join the first one above.  We will meet in the Schweitzer Room for 3 guided study sessions Feb. 26, March 29, and April 26 @ 9 - 10:15 a.m.  This event replaces the FORUM on those dates.

  9:00 am Sundays in the Schweitzer Room
The Sunday morning lecture series held at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh features presentations given by distinguished individuals from our congregation and from local universities, organizations, businesses, and government.  With a long-standing tradition in Unitarian Universalist churches across America, FORUM has been integral to First Unitarian of Pittsburgh since 1916.

February 2 Erika Strassburger Pittsburgh City Council Member, District 8
February 9 Aradhna Dhanda CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh
February 16 TBD  
February 23 Erica Shadowsong UUA Common Read: An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
View all the adult lifelong learning content posted on our website, click here.

Young Adults Religious Education 
Young Adults Small Group, every Wednesday @ 6 - 8 pm (*NEW TIME)
 The goal of the circle is to aid us in integrating care and inspiration of the spirit in regular, individual practice.  Each "session" is independent and not sequential, so you can attend whenever you like.  We explore things like building your own theology, creating a credo statement, books of interest, and other topics. 

Children and Youth Religious Education 
 OWL Resumes THIS Sunday, 2/2 @ 5pm!
Welcome back, OWL participants!  We will meet this Sunday from 5 - 8 pm. A reminder will be sent out by email.
We are trying something different for dinner in the new year!  Each participant please pack and bring something to eat; we will be providing some additional healthy sides.

2/2, 2/9, and 2/23 Children & Youth take Pictures for the Khasi Hills UUs! @ Family Social Hour in the Schweitzer Room 
Anne Van Cott and Nancy Latimer will be taking photos of children and youth after class/church on February 2, 9 and 23 and having them write a note on the back to Khasi Hills students that will be put in cards for teachers and students that she will be taking on her Pilgrimage to India.  She will also be teaching students to play Chinese Jump Rope and as part of fostering communication and exchange, a video will be taken to be showed to our students.  Then she will video Khasi Hills students to show to our students, along with other activities as part of RE.  (Photos are given only to our teachers and students, not used for Facebook, web site, or other PR). 
For just a little background, our church has been sponsoring the Annie Margaret Barr Secondary School since 2002 and before that, there was a partnership between two religious education programs!

Scout Sunday!  2/9
During our multigenerational service on February 9th, we will take a moment to recognize those involved in scout activities!  You are invited to wear your uniform (but not required) to be recognized.  We will invite scouts to stand and applaud them.

High School (9th - 12th Grades) Youth Group - Now Every Sunday Morning!
 The high school youth will now meet regularly on Sunday mornings, during the Religious Education hour.  
1 - 2 adult advisors needed 1/month!
Can you spare a Sunday morning a month or so, to be with the high school youth?  We could use 1 - 2 more adults who can supervise the youth so that they can meet consistently on Sundays.  The youth pretty much run themselves, but they are required to have adult supervision!  If you think you can help, and have or can obtain background clearances, please let Erica know ASAP.  This would be a huge help, as we currently do not have enough adults for the youth to meet every Sunday.

Chalice Lighting in the Service! 
We are restarting a tradition of having families light the chalice in our services!  If you are interested in having your family light the chalice on a particular date, please let me know!  I often ask families who are present the day of, but scheduling is also possible.
Family-Friendly Social Hour and Snacks on Sundays are Back! 
Families are invited to the Schweitzer Room to socialize.  A healthy, simple snack and some drinks will be provided for the children, an alternative to the downstairs’ fare.  Some simple activities will be provided.  For those who want coffee and/or more variety of snacks, you can go down to the Undercroft and then bring them up to the Schweitzer with you. 

Meet and Greet for newcomers and current members – First Sundays 
Stop by the Membership Table on the first Sunday of each month in the Undercroft Gallery at coffee hour to meet and greet current and new church members and interested visitors!!
Build connections with each other and welcome those who are new to our church and interested in UU values. 
Also, for existing members, get your picture taken for the on-line church directory and learn how easy it is to use our new on-line database!!

Introduction to Unitarian Universalism – Third Sundays
Drop in to find out more about the history, varied theologies, and organization of Unitarian Universalism.  Led by church staff and representatives of the Membership Team.  Third Sundays of the month, noon – 12:45 pm in the Library (on the lower level).


Women's Alliance meets informally in the Schweitzer Room on the first and third Thursdays of every month for coffee or tea at 10:00 a.m., followed by a 30-minute business meeting at 10:30 a.m., and a unique program of guest speakers from 11:00 a.m.—12 p.m. Please bring your own brown bag lunch. All are welcome!

February 6th, our speakers will be Pete McQuillin, and Laura Faessl, who manage the Penn Forest Natural Burial Park. The park was founded in 2011 by long-time UUs, Pete and his wife, Nancy Chubb. It is Pennsylvania’s first exclusively green burial ground. And as such, it is committed to creating a beautiful burial park where nature is at the forefront. For additional info prior to the presentation at 11 a.m. on February 6.

Men's Group
It's time for our February, 12, 2020 Gathering of Men.  We don't always have to have a serious discussion - let's have some fun.  February 12th, Jim Reitz will show two (2) TED talks.  The Art of Misdirection  and  Brain Magic.  Both variations on magic. We "might" even learn something from them.  Wednesday - Feb 12th  - 7:30 - 9:00  -  Priestly Room.  Direct questions to Jim Reitz


Join us on February 15, 2020, from 10:00 until 3:00 in the Undercroft Gallery as we attempt to complete a quilt top in five hours.  We need people to sew, cut, iron and deal with the logistics of creating the quilt top.  Members of our group will be coordinating the work efforts.  Drop-in for a bit or stay all day.  You’re also welcome to bring your machine and work on your own project alongside a quilting community.  Contact Barb or Shelley with any questions about the event

 Covenant group Opportunities  
If you are interested in joining a new covenant group, you can complete an interest form from the church website, complete a paper form found in the rack at the Ellsworth entrance or contact:  

Every Sunday after services
Curious about what is happening around our church? Interested in connecting with others? Visit the Undercroft Gallery after the service. You can learn about upcoming activities, opportunities to get involved, & the latest art show. Purchase gift certificates for the Giant Eagle (and help the church) or purchase olive oil from Palestine. Help yourself to a snack and chat with someone you may not yet know. Welcome!

Church Sponsored Activities and Community Events
Khasi Hills Partnership Team
Adults, youth and children are invited to write greetings to students and teachers of our school. Anne Van Cott will be taking them with her to India when she leaves on her Pilgrimage on February 27. She is pictured in the center along with the Khasi Hills team.

We will be inviting people to sign cards for teachers on February 9 and 23 during Social Hour. 

When you see Anne around the church, do wish her well. There will be a congregational blessing on February 23 to send her off with good wishes.

Green Sanctuary Team 
Note that the Green Sanctuary Team meeting scheduled for February 9 is canceled so that we can attend the Pittsburgh IP&L conference.
Sunday, February 9, 1 to 5 pm, PA Interfaith Power and Light Annual Conference, The Long Journey —From Extracting the Past to Cultivating the Future, at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The plenary speaker is Colette Pichon Battle, Esq., founder and Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, promoting the just transition and ecological equity for communities of color on the front lines of climate change. This event is happening simultaneously in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Scranton, and will likely involve some videoconferencing. We are looking into the group registration option. If you do want to register now, you can do so as an individual from our congregation.

Environmental Justice Exchange (EJEx) Presentation  
Jamilah Lahijuddin, Hill District Consensus Group
First Unitarian Church, Schweitzer Room Saturday, February 15, 1 to 2:30 pm
1:00 Presentation, 1:30 Discussion, 2:00 Refreshments
Barbara Litt
Sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Team and the Serve Council, in collaboration with New Voices Pittsburgh's EJEx and the Hill District Consensus Group
The EJEx is an opportunity to create a more robust and intersectional ecosystem of stakeholders who center the voices, experiences and leadership of Black communities in our struggle to uproot environmental racism and to build healthy communities. White-led environmental organizations have the opportunity to work with Black-led & people of color-led social justice organizations over the course of the 8-week program. Green Sanctuary Team co-chairs Barbara Litt and Peg Schmidt have been participating in the EJEx, exchanging with Jamilah Lahijuddin, of the Hill District Consensus Group
The Hill District Consensus Group builds the leadership and power of low-income and working class residents of the Hill District to advance racial and economic justice in our neighborhoods, our schools and our city. Through grassroots organizing, budget and policy advocacy, and implementing our community plans, we are building a community of hope, justice, and opportunity – a community where all residents have access to living wage jobs, family-supporting benefits, affordable housing, high-quality education, and a voice in the decisions that affect our lives.
The First Unitarian Church Green Sanctuary Team aims to integrate the Seventh Principle (Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part) into the daily lives of our members and friends through: Education, Sustainable practices, Celebration, Actions that promote environmental justice locally, globally, and between present and future generations, and Actions that promote systemic change resulting in a healthy environment for all. We strive to model the Seventh Principle in the congregation and for the community. We also support and participate in the larger community's efforts to do the same. 

 Habitat for Humanity at First Unitarian Church  
Saturday, February 15, from 9 AM to 3 PM
First Unitarian is kicking off the new Decade with a work party on Saturday, February 15 from 9 AM to 3 PM. Show the love to a family a day after Valentine's by helping make a home safe and efficient. It is a rewarding "duty" that makes the spirit soar! Often thought to be the best way to spend a Saturday. Contact Marty Lieb at to reserve a spot. No skills necessary, bring your lunch and extra water, wear closed-toe shoes. Expect a great time!!

First Sundays. First Unitarian Church has a regular monthly commitment to cook and serve a meal at the EECM Shelter on the first Sunday of each month. If you or your group would like to help please contact Mary at or 412-421-5516.

Community Table schedule for Winter, 2019-2020:

 Feb 2- last names C-D
Feb 9- last names E, F, G
 Feb 16- last names H-K
 Feb 23- last names L-M
March 1- last names N-Re
 March 8- last names Ri-S
 March 15- last names T-Z
 March 22- last names A-B
 March 29- last names C-D

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.

All the food at our Community Table during social hour is from member donations. (There is no church budget for food.) Please pick up something for the social hour when you go to the supermarket. You needn't wait for your assigned date to bring a donation of easy to serve finger food, which we will very gratefully accept and serve.
Need an answer to a question and don’t know who to ask?  Want to pass along some feedback and not sure who to contact?  Reach out to your Board Ombudsman Ebe Emmons.  Ebe will coordinate with staff, committees, and the board to get an answer or pass along feedback.  Ebe can be reached at
Copyright © 2020 First Unitarian Church, All rights reserved.

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First Unitarian Church · 605 Morewood Avenue · Pittsburgh, PA 15213 · USA

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