February 27, 2020
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This Weekend at First Unitarian Church
Worship Celebration
Sunday, March 1, 2020, @ 10:30 am

"Practical Theology"

With our diverse theological beliefs and spiritual practices, what do Unitarian Universalists have in common as we practice our religion?

Rev. Connie Grant speaking. 
 Music by Maddy Izzo, flute, and Daria Jarani, piano; Ellen Gozion, Instrumental Music Director.  

Parking Policy
Pastoral Care & Caring Community
Covenant Groups 
Social Action Council
Adult Self Study 
Music & the Arts
Young Adult & Campus Ministry
Church Happenings
Space Reservations & Rentals
Contact Us
Publicize Your Event

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! 

Church Sponsored Activities and Community Events

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 ( 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 ( or Kirsti Adkins ( 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. 

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.
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. 


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.

First UU member Suzanne Powell will be our speaker on March 5, from 11-12. She will be discussing the cultural and social aspects of gender identity - including fluidity and pronouns. Please bring your own brown bag lunch. All are welcome!

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

The Family Ministries Committee invites you to "Everybody's Birthday Party" on Sunday, March 15!
Join us in the Undercroft Gallery after service for a special social hour. There will be cake, games, singing Happy Birthday, and making/building friendships! Stay tuned for more information.

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

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:

□ Transportation

□ Providing a meal for an individual or family

□ Shopping

□ 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:  

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!

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 #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 be 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, 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.

Suggested books celebrating Black History Month 

  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.
Gun Violence:  Policy and Partnering Solutions
Rob Conroy

Rob Conroy of CeaseFirePA will present the scope of gun violence and proposed policy solutions to gun violence.  He will give an update on the status of gun control bills in the Pennsylvania legislature and what actions we can take to promote common-sense reform. 
CeaseFirePA is building a statewide network of communities taking a stand against gun violence. In cities and towns across Pennsylvania, individuals and organizations have already taken the first steps toward making their neighborhoods safer by launching their own local initiatives to reduce gun violence. CeaseFirePA is working to connect those leaders and magnify the voices calling for change.

If you are involved with a local effort to fight back against violence, please join us to help build the statewide movement for a safer Pennsylvania. If you would like to start a local effort, please contact us at or call (215) 923-3151, and we’ll provide the tools you need to get up and running.

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 

Erica will be off this Sunday, 3/1.
High School Youth Group - Upcoming Events!!!
This weekend is the central east region NostalgiaCON - Remembering the 2000s!  
Where:  @ the North Hills UU Church here in Pittsburgh!
When:  Friday, February 28, 2020 - 8:00 pm EST to Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 8:00 am
Registration and More information: 

TBD:  Fundraising plans for going to an Escape Room
TBD:  Painting the youth room

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:

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 
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.
Sanctuary Flowers 
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. 
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.

UU Pittsburgh Community Singers 
Contact Director Kris Rust for more information: 412-352-8488
March 8, Sunday, 9:30/ 10:30 Sunday service @ 1st UU

The few remaining photos are in a box in the Undercroft Gallery. The art committee will not be responsible for photos left after this Sunday.


Sankofa Legacy presented by Women Of Visions

"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.

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.

Coffee Hour Changes

Beginning in March, coffee 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 1, “Getting to the Heart of the Matter” sponsored by the VIM Team and the Transition Team, starting at noon with pizza for participants

March 8, Holi coffee 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!

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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