DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME THIS YEAR BEGINS ON SUNDAY, MARCH 8 AT 2 A.M.
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!
Dear First Unitarian Church members and friends,
You have likely been reading and hearing about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) throughout the country and the world. Church staff and leaders are closely monitoring recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health departments, and we will do all we can to keep us all as safe as possible.
One thing I will do is to eliminate shaking hands with congregants as you leave the sanctuary on Sunday mornings or at other times. Perhaps we can exchange a namaste, a peace sign, or other no-touch interchange!
This is a good source of information, with links to the CDC and other websites: https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Health-Department/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19.aspx
Basic recommendations include:
Getting a flu vaccine, since influenza and other upper respiratory diseases are still of concern.
Staying home if you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. (At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.) You might also want to consider staying home to limit your exposure if your health is fragile.
Avoiding shaking hands.
Practicing cough and sneeze etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow or sleeve.
Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (At the church, soap and water are readily available, and hand sanitizer is on backorder. Surface disinfectant wipes are also available for your use and use by staff.)
At this point the threat level in this area appears to be relatively low, but if the situation changes we will respond accordingly, including cancelling services and other activities if advised to do so. The Allegheny County Health Department and other sources have mentioned the possibility of recommending “social distancing tactics,” including closures and postponing large events if deemed necessary. If services and other activities were cancelled, we would post a notice on the home page of the church website and send an email message to members and friends.
We will do everything we can to keep us all connected with each other while prioritizing health and safety. If you would like to talk with me about any of this or anything else, please be in touch by phone (cell 847-840-8542) or email (Constance.L.Grant@gmail.com).
And speaking of email, please continue to be cautious when responding to any email that appears to come from me. It appears that there has recently been another round of phishing emails asking for “assistance” in the form of gift cards. These are not from me!
We are here for each other, even as we face new challenges.
In faith and hope,
For all businesses and organizations, we are recommending that the CDC’s guidance is followed which includes actively encouraging sick employees to stay home or separating sick employees, emphasizing cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene, performing route cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces and providing disposable wipes for those surfaces to be used by employees.
While the threat level here remains low at this time, there is the potential for community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States. As such, ACHD is modifying its emergency response plans in preparation for a potential local case.
If there is community spread locally, there will be a coordinated effort with state and federal health agencies to implement procedures to help stop the spread. These potential measures may include social distancing tactics such as school closures and postponing large gatherings.
People most at risk of contracting COVID-19 are those who have traveled to places where the virus is occurring. Certain people will have an increased risk of infection – such as healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of persons with COVID-19. Some people are at risk for more severe outcomes, including the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
While the risk of this virus to the public is low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow or sleeve.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
Avoid shaking hands; consider touching elbows instead if you believe personal contact is necessary for a greeting
Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.
March 15 “All the Ages We Are” What does life look like when you’re 16, or 32, or 80? Madeleine L’Engle said that “The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.” Perspectives on “aging.” A multigenerational service led by Erica Shadowsong, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, and Rev. Connie Grant. Music by the Incidental Chamber Players and youth musicians Anika Agrawal and Anju Aiyangar; Ellen Gozion, Instrumental Music Director.
March 22 “A Spiritual Backpack for the Journey” Our lives are filled with different types of journeys. Your church has been on a journey toward your next settled minister. As you contemplate the next steps, what are the challenges ahead? What do you want to put in your backpack to take with you on this journey?
Kathy Kerns, guest speaker, is our Transitions Coach from the Central East Region of the UUA, providing consultation as we continue on the path toward finding a new settled minister for First Unitarian Church. Kathy is a member of the Kent UU church, where she is currently in training to be a Commissioned Lay Minister. She has served in many different leadership roles at her church, including serving on a ministerial search committee.
Music by Ellen Gozion, Instrumental Music Director.
Fellowship hour is changing!
The idea is that volunteer crews will make the coffee, bring the snacks, and clean up when the coffee hour is over. For the five Sundays in March, our Board of Trustees has volunteered to serve as Hospitality Crew!
For the next few Sundays, special activities are happening in the Undercroft Gallery after the service, changing the way coffee hour will work on those days:
March 8, Holi fellowship hour sponsored by the Khasi Hills Partnership
March 15, “Everybody’s Birthday Party” sponsored by the Family Ministries Team
Watch for more information about how future months’ hospitality crews will be formed. You will have the opportunity to participate!
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: 412-731-8450or firstname.lastname@example.org. At least two weeks advance notice is required so she can cancel the Women's Alliance flowers and send a yspecific dedication to the order of service.
MUSIC AND ART
UU Pittsburgh Community Singers This Sunday 9:30/ 10:30 Sunday service @ 1st UU Contact Director Kris Rust for more information:412-352-8488 email@example.com
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.
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.
March Art Exhibit March 12 - April 2
“The Colors of My World”
By Phiris Kathy Sickels
Phiris is an experienced artist whose extravagantly colorful works in watercolor are often abstract but clearly fun. The show will be hung on March 12 and can be seen all month.
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 theUndercroft Gallery atFirst Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213
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
2020,1 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org Liz Hrenda -email@example.com Mary Schinhofen – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 be onthe 3rd Sundays of each month, from 12 - 1:30 pm! Interested in joining? Please email Erica email@example.com
New Common Read General Discussion Group, 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 on March 29, and April 26 @ 9 - 10:15 a.m. This event replaces the FORUM on those dates.
Banished from Johnstown: Racist Backlash in Pennsylvania
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
Parent Support Small Groups
Are you interested in being in a small group with other parents who meet on a regular basis, similar to a covenant group? If so, Sign up here:https://forms.gle/sD9KhWabdxHs4KsY7
Reminder: OWL Upcoming *Saturday* Class Saturday, March 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm LUNCH BREAK 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
2019 Sparkly Egg Update - All Eggs Found!
It's official! The final three eggs were found. Two sparkly eggs were found last week by Simone Downs, and by members of the Young Adults group. Both eggs were situated on light fixtures in the ceiling; they could be seen if looking up at the right angle.
The GOLDEN egg was found this past Sunday by Gabriel Williams: CONGRATULATIONS GABRIEL! The Prize? A giant, yellow, stuffed Peep (non-edible). It did not take long for the peep to become air-born.
Just in time...Easter is just around the corner, and the sparkly egg challenge will start all over again!
Family Choir meets for dinner, fellowship, music, movement & fun every Tuesday, Sept-May, 5:30 – 6:30.
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.
The transitions gather-in will now meet at 11:00 a.m. on the second Monday of every month.
Please contact M.R. Kelsey for more information. 412-362-1514
It's time for our March 11, 2020 Gathering of Men.
Our leader will be Gordon Hargreaves. The topic will be BREXIT. Gordon recently offered this same presentation to Osher@CMU. It was so popular a 2nd class had to be arranged. Wednesday - MARCH 11th - 7:30 - 9:00 - Priestly Room. Direct questions to Jim Reitz J5650R@comcast.net.
The Family Ministries Committee invites you to
"Everybody's Birthday Party"
on Sunday, March 15!
On Sunday, March 15 there will be a Multi-Generational Service and then immediately following we will celebrate Everybody’s Birthday in the Undercroft Gallery (this will take the place of our usual fellowship hour and there will not be a Family fellowship hour that week either).
This event is exciting because it is a way for us to connect with one another. The concept is that there will be twelve tables set up, one for each month. People then go to the table that represents their birth month. A light lunch will be served and of course cake.
Suggested donations of $5 per person or $15 maximum per family can be made at the door.
Cluster Spring Gathering - UU the VOTE
March 21, 9 AM to 12 PM Our Cluster congregations will gather at the N Hills Church to learn WHAT WE CAN DO and HOW TO DO IT to 'UU the VOTE 2020'. There will be educational presentations, time for Q&A, opportunities to network, and sharing how we can get out the vote and support our UU Values in this election cycle. UU Church of the North Hills, 2359 W Ingomar Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
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.
Helping Each Other
Throughout the year, members of the church occasionally need a helping hand. The Pastoral Care Team asks you to identify ways you may be able to assist. We expect you would be called only a few times during the year. Please stop by the Caring Connections table on Sunday morning to fill out a Practical Assistance Volunteer form.
You’ll be asked to indicate which of these you may be able to help with from time to time:
□ Providing a meal for an individual or family
□ Memorial service food item
□ Memorial service kitchen assistance, set-up, or clean-up
□ Memorial service greeting/ushering
In the event of a need in the congregation, you may be contacted to see whether you are available to help at that time. Your help will be appreciated!
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).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
The Green Sanctuary Team meeting is this Sunday, March 8 at noon in the Priestley room.
Holi is celebrated throughout the Indian sub-continent in the spring as a festival of colors, love, forgiveness, happiness, and hopes for a good harvest. In India, the festival includes much frivolity, the use of prolific colors, and role reversals. The Khasi Hills Partnership Team will celebrate Holi on Sunday, March 6th with the congregation at the conclusion of the service and afterward in the Undercroft Gallery and with the children in the Schweitzer Room. We hope people will have fun as we increase awareness about the work of the school our church supports in India. Here we will have colorful food and some colorful decorations and butterflies to make to mark the occasion. Though Khasi Hills Unitarians do not celebrate Holi, the Partnership Team wants to bring this colorful festival to you as cultural holiday experience of India.
EECM SHELTER MEALS 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 email@example.com 412-421-5516.
Sharing the Plate!
Is there an organization you’d like to nominate to be the recipient of our third-Sunday Share the Plate offering? Please send your nomination to Tony Rutigliano (firstname.lastname@example.org) on behalf of the Serve Council. Please include the following information:
Name of organization
Website address or other sources of information
Is this a 501 (c) (3) organization (required)?
What is your involvement with this organization?
Why do you consider this an appropriate recipient for our Share the Plate offering?
Preferred month (if any)
Racial Equity Task Force Forming
Do you want to be part of an ongoing conversation, study, and action on the topic of race?
If you’d like to be part of our newly-forming Racial Equity Task Force, please contact Gail Pesyna (email@example.com) or Kirsti Adkins (firstname.lastname@example.org). As Rev. Connie noted in her sermon at the beginning of February,
Race is a difficult topic, often avoided for fear of saying something wrong or of offending someone. Or maybe just avoided for fear. We’re afraid of getting it wrong; but how can we work on getting it right? In these times it’s increasingly important to face the reality of where we are as a society and to do something concrete about it. And maybe that starts with focused conversation that leads to action in our individual lives and in our larger community.
The annual Empty Bowls dinner at Rodef Shalom serves up a simple meal of soup and bread as a reminder that too many people throughout our region are facing hunger.
This year’s event is the 25th Anniversary!
As always, the event will feature artisan pottery for guests to take home; soups from your favorite restaurants; children’s activities; an auction featuring local artwork and activities. There are two times to join us on Sunday, March 15: 1 - 3:30 p.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 and $25 at the door. Children's tickets (3-12 years old) can be purchased for $10 in advance and at the door. Children 3 and under are free. Proceeds benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest.
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 email@example.com