April 2, 2020
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Again on Sunday, April 5, our worship service will be streamed from the sanctuary on YouTube.  The link for this week’s service will be posted on the church website.  We hope you will join us at that time so we can be together in spirit even though we are physically distanced from each other.  

As you know, all programs and activities at the church are postponed until further notice.  Some church groups, including covenant groups, are meeting by Zoom.  If you have questions about this, contact your group leader.  

As ever, please contact Rev. Connie Grant at or (847) 840-8542 if you have pastoral needs or other concerns. 

This Weekend at First Unitarian Church
Worship Celebration News

Sunday, April,5 2020 

“Saving Souls or Spending Them?”

Live-streamed at 10:30 am 

Our Universalist forebears long ago rejected the doctrine that some people were predestined to eternal damnation, believing that a loving God would not consign anyone to eternal torment.  What meaning can “salvation” have for Unitarian Universalists? 

Rev. Connie Grant speaking.

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The First Unitarian Church Annual Congregational Meeting
The First Unitarian Church Annual Congregational Meeting will take place on Sunday, May 17, 2020, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please make sure that this important event is on your calendar!

Our hope is that the meeting can be held in the Undercroft Gallery. However, the Board of Trustees is making contingency plans to hold the meeting by Zoom video conference if necessary. 

Important business to be conducted at the meeting will include 

• Electing a search committee that will conduct the search for a new settled minister, and

• Electing three new members each to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

If we can hold the meeting in person, members who are unable to attend will have the option to vote by absentee or proxy ballot. If we need to hold the meeting by videoconference, all voting will be by absentee ballot. 

Please stay tuned for more details. Questions? Please contact Board President Martin Schmidt or Board Secretary Eleanor Mayfield

Call for Candidates for Nomination
For the 2020-2021 Church Year Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee
Your Nominating Committee (NC) is reaching out to you to discern who among us is willing and able to become a nominee for service on the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee for the coming church year.  We are seeking a total of 6 candidates who can agree to serve 3-year terms for these groups.  It will be an exciting time to deepen your involvement in leadership at 1st Unitarian.  We will be continuing our work with Rev. Connie, our Interim Minister, and will soon begin the process of recruiting and calling a new settled Minister. Consider whether you or someone with whom you have worked here at 1st Unitarian might be ready for these responsibilities. Board work involves people with many skills, but as the church Treasurer is now a Board Member, we should identify someone with interest and/or ability in financial affairs to succeed our current Treasurer when his term ends in May 2020.
Please contact any of the current NC members [Gretchen Aiyangar, Jen Layman, Rob Masterson, Bob Mitchell, Raeann Olander Murray, Susan Regan, Shelley Ross, Michael Safran, and Becky Studer] with your suggestions or questions. 


New realities

Just as you are, your minister and staff are learning how to live in this new reality in which we find ourselves.  We are learning technology, new to many of us, that helps us connect in new ways.  In all probability, this new technology will serve us well into the future, whatever the future may hold.

We are planning to continue livestreaming Sunday morning worship services via YouTube.  Watch for the link for this week’s service, which will be posted on the church website.

We are looking into hosting virtual coffee hour via Zoom conference following the service, using Zoom breakout rooms, and hope to have this in place for Sunday, April 5.  Watch for more information about this, too!

Many church groups, including covenant groups, are meeting by Zoom conference.  If you have questions about this, contact your group leader.  If your group needs help setting up a Zoom callthrough the church account, please contact me. 

If you are not already in a covenant group—or if you’d like to be part of a new one—please fill out a Covenant Group interest form or contact Alice Bright at

Please contact me if you are interested in being part of an Engagement Team, to help church members and friends connect with each other and with the church.  This would be particularly useful now, and would serve the church well into the future!

Some ways to receive a periodic dose of spiritual sustenance:


Life is full of hard edges and complicated choices. Braver/Wiser gives you weekly message of courage and compassion for life as it is. Every Wednesday, an original written reflection by a contemporary religious leader, and brief prayer, grounded in Unitarian Universalism.   Subscribe at

A Common Meditation for All Souls

A daily meditation from All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, intended “to help spark our moral imagination and set our moral compass as individuals.”  To sign up to receive a daily meditation via email, contact

The Daily Compass

“Inspiration for your spiritual expedition.” The Daily Compass offers words and images to inspire spiritual reflection and encourage the creation of a more loving, inclusive and just world. Produced by The Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation with no geographical boundary.  Subscribe at

During this time when so many are vulnerable in so many ways, there are those who try to take advantage. Under the guise of helping people obtain their economic relief funding or of alerting them to possible exposure to COVID-19, attempts are being made by email and other means to obtain sensitive information that will be used fraudulently.  Please be wary of responding to any unsolicited email!

As ever, please contact me at or (847) 840-8542 if you have pastoral needs or other concerns.

Holding you in mind and heart, with thoughts and prayers for wholeness and strength,


Rev. Connie Grant



April 12

“Why Does Jesus Matter?”  

Using reason, our Unitarian forebears developed new ways of thinking about the nature of God, of Jesus, and of humanity in general.  Why does Jesus matter to Unitarian Universalists today? 

Rev. Connie Grant speaking.

Hello, families and youth and volunteers!

Here is this week's blog.  It has something for everyone, and even a story (audio only).

Sincerely, Erica

Adult Religious Education
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States Book Discussion - This event is not a FORUM program; it is a separate event.

This event will be rescheduled for interested participants who have read or are reading the book!  If you would like to take part in this book discussion group led by Erica Shadowsong, please email her at with your interest.  Thank you!  

Join the Goodreads Church Forum for Book Discussions!
Now is the perfect time to join a discussion group with First Unitarian Church members...virtually!  Join the Goodreads Group created for the Common Read and other books members are reading.  
You can join at the following link:  [http://First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh Readers]First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh Readers
If the link does not work for you for some reason, go
to and search for "First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh Readers" on Goodreads. You may need to make a free account if you do not have one.
All webinars will be 2–3 p.m. Eastern.
Online Information to access the webinars will be sent upon registration.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Community-directed Research to Assess the Impacts of Excessive Heat on Health Outcomes
Often research originates at the university, then on some occasions, broadens out to engage the community. In this presentation, we will share the experience of the NOAA’s Carolinas Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) team and the Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC), who collaborated on a community-centered research project aimed at better understanding risk and vulnerability to heat-related illness and excessive heat health outcomes in the Carolinas. We will discuss early community engagement efforts around this topic, the development of user-centric tools to better understand and prepare for excessive heat, and how this type of approach led to illuminating research on the impact of excessive heat on pregnant women. Overall, this work reveals a need for a place-based study regarding the impacts of heat on human health. While exposure can be mapped, vulnerability to heat depends upon a variety of factors that are not necessarily evident at larger scales. Engagement with communities can lead to a better, more robust understanding of vulnerability to heat exposure and heat-related health outcomes.
Click on the link below to register for the webinar:

Young Adults Religious Education 
Young Adults Small Group   
Weekly Meetings to Resume on Zoom!
Please join us for our weekly meeting at 
7:30pm on Wednesdays.

  Click on the following link on Wednesday, when you are ready to join:
1st U YA Meeting

Children and Youth Religious Education 
Religious Education for Families - How you can stay connected
Currently, due to varying scheduling needs, we do not have any virtual programs scheduled.

However, a 
Parent Check In will be scheduled soon for the month of April.  

In the meantime, please be sure to:
  •  visit the Religious Education part of our church website!  If you want to stay up to date and make sure you don't miss anything, that will be updated several times a week.  (The Weekly eNews only comes out on Thursdays).  

Questions?  Requests?  Ideas?  Please don't hesitate to contact me!  eshadowsong@first-unitarian-pgh.orgText/Call: 484-471-9298.
Stay Connected 
Please visit our Staying Connected page to find the most recent information related to this ever-evolving situation. 

  Bringing the Digital Calendar back
Your help is needed! The digital calendar is being prepared with the hopes that everything will be functioning normally by Ingathering. Help in its creation by submitting a reservation form for the upcoming season. Use this opportunity to get together virtually to discuss meeting times, dates, and leadership. Reservations are needed from all groups.

 Covenant group Opportunities  
Consider joining/ creating a virtual covenant group.
If you are interested in joining a new covenant group, you can complete a 
Covenant Group interest form or contact Alice Bright :

Church Sponsored Activities and Community Events

Helping Each Other
During these trying times members of the church may 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 Contact a member of the team if you are able to help. 

You’ll be asked to indicate which of these you may be able to help with from time to time:

□ Transportation

□ Providing a meal for an individual or family

□ Shopping

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!

Pastoral Care Team Contact Information:

Christine Beregi: Phone:
Jan Carlino: Phone: 412-727-0200
Julie Childers: Phone: 412-726-3590
Jim Cunningham: Phone: 412-256-0205 (Co-Chair)
Kathy Miller: Phone:
412-639-8012 (Co-Chair)
Bob Sullivan: Phone:
Rev. Connie Grant: Phone: 847-840-8542 (Church Office: 412-621-8008)

After careful thought and recognizing the contagious power of COVID-19, First Unitarian Habitat group is going on break until May or June when the situation will be reevaluated.  The health and welfare of our group takes first priority.  There will be a time when we can come back in full force to help build or rehab a home for a family.  At that time, our volunteers will be welcome to participate in a safe Habitat environment.  Information will be released ASAP about the next Habitat work party. 
For more information email Marty Lieb at

Fortunately, in PA, we can now request a Mail-In Ballot, without needing to give a reason. With the Coronavirus uncertainty, the Post Gazette article in Sunday's paper, recommended we all apply for Mail-In Ballots. Here is a link to the article:  

Here is an excerpt from the article with information about how to apply. 
Voters have until April 21 at 5 p.m. to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot, and while absentee ballots require voters to disclose if they are — among other things — away at college or going out of town for work, mail-in ballots don’t.  

The mail-in ballot application can be completed online at with a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT-issued photo ID. Voters can also download and complete a paper application and send it to their county election office, or fill one out in person. 

When the primary ballot is finalized, the ballots will be sent to approved applicants.

It’s the best way to “ensure one’s vote is counted if concerned about heading to the polls,” said Charlie O’Neill, deputy executive director of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, 
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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