March 19, 2020
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Update March 19, 2020

Dear First Unitarian Church Community,

On Sunday, March 22, our worship service will be streamed from the sanctuary on YouTube!  Please go to at 10:30 am.  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. (The service will remain accessible for only a short time thereafter.)

The Ministerial Search informational session with your Transitions Coach from the Central East Region of the UUA is still scheduled for Sunday, March 22 from noon – 1:00 pm, and will be held by Zoom call.  Information on how to access this call, limited to 100 participants, will be sent to members by email on Friday, March 20.  The search process for your next settled minister will be reviewed and the process for selecting your ministerial search committee will be outlined.

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.  If your group needs help setting up a Zoom call, please contact Rev. Connie Grant at or (847) 840-8542.

One thing that doesn’t change during this time is the need for your financial support of your church.  Expenses go on even as rental income is suspended.  Your Board of Trustees is committed to continuing compensation of your staff during this difficult time for all. Please continue your pledge payments and perhaps even give a little extra if it is possible for you to do so.  

Another thing that doesn’t change is our need for connection with each other and with this community.  Please stay in touch.

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


Rev. Connie Grant

This Weekend at First Unitarian Church
Worship Celebration News

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Matters Now?

Livestreamed on YouTube at 10:30 am

The world has changed and continues to change. Some say it will never be the same again. What matters now? A hopeful message. Homily by Rev. Connie Grant; story told by Erica Shadowsong, Director of Lifespan Religious Education; Music by Ellen Gozion, Instrumental Music Director, and Nicole Myers, cello.

Parking Policy
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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. 


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: 412-992-1888
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)

 Covenant group Opportunities  
Consider joining/ creating a virtual covenant group.
If you are interested in joining a new covenant group, you can complete an interest form from the church website or contact:  


Church Sponsored Activities and Community Events
Dear Red Cross Supporter
As the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact our communities, we need your help ensuring we have a sufficient blood supply to support hospital patients inPennsylvania and across the country.The American Red Cross hashad a staggering number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives cancelled as more workplaces, college campuses and other venues send people home and encourage social distancing.Disruptions to blood donations can lead to shortages and cause delays in essential medical care. As ofMarch 16, about 2,700 blood drives, representing approximately 86,000 fewer blood donations, have been canceled in the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns.Here in Pennsylvania we have seen 116 blood drives canceled resulting in over 3,600 lost donations. As concerns about the coronavirus pandemic rise, we need your help to communicate three vital messages to the public:
•Donating blood is a safe process and people should not be concerned about giving or receiving blood during this challenging time.
•More healthy donors are needed to give now to prevent a blood shortage.
•Keep scheduled blood drives, which will allow donors the opportunity to give blood. As anemergency preparedness organization, the Red Cross has also taken additional steps to ensure the safety of staff and donors at each Red Cross blood drive.
•We are now pre-screening all individuals by checking their temperature before they enter any Red Cross blood drive or donation center, including our own staff and volunteers.
•At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterilecollection sets for every donation, and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
•Additional spacing has been implemented within each blood drive set up to incorporate social distancing measures between donation beds and stations within theblood drive.
•The average blood drives are only 20-30 people over several hours and are not large gatherings.
The Red Cross is also working to ensure we can continue to carry out other aspects of our lifesaving mission, including providing critical disaster relief services. We are working with public health officials to ensure the safety of local communities and our workforce, while still providing the help and hope they need should disaster strike. We’re asking the American people to give blood during this challenging time, and we are asking you as a leader to help communicate this critical need. Those who are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give bloodare urged to make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by visiting or calling
1-800-RED CROSS.

Please let me know if you have questions about this critical need. Thank you for your leadership during this time and for your help in sharing this message. Sincerely,Patricia Waldinger Guy TrianoRegional CEORegional CEOGreater Pennsylvania RegionEastern Pennsylvania Region


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, 

Elements Series
As you are certainly aware, events around the country are being cancelled at this time in response to the Covid-19 virus pandemic. Out of concern for the health and well-being of our audience and musicians, the Incidental Chamber Players will be postponing our Elements Series through June 15th. We will be looking for new dates in the future, when appropriate. We thank you for your continued support and understanding through this difficult time


David Fitzpatrick
Executive Director
Incidental Chamber Players


Hello, all! 
With many gatherings moving to virtual spaces, I will be using the church website religious education pages to keep people updated on
RE and Adult Faith programming in real time.  Please check there frequently; and if you have a question, send me a message!

The church website is  

Sincerely, Erica

Dear families, volunteers and youth,
These are interesting times we're living in!  I'm hearing a lot of talk about the world changing, and how our lives may change permanently - or for a long while - as we face this coronavirus situation.
Church staff are taking this opportunity, as many other congregations and organizations are, to get creative and explore ways to be in community together, be ministered to, and worship that make use of the multitude of virtual tools available to us.  We are, in fact, having a virtual service this Sunday morning!  More information will be coming on that.
This being new territory, I want you to know that you all are in my thoughts, as I know you are in each other's, and I am going to do my best also to find ways to stay connected with you all and boost our religious education in the many ways we can.  It may not be too polished at first, but I am going to be sending a general "lesson" or message out to RE families, like this, each week for the time being so that we all have some things on which to reflect. 
Here are some thoughts I wanted to share with you today, with the Vernal Equinox being tomorrow and the all the virus talk we're hearing!

The following is one of my favorite laugh-out-loud stories.  I hope you enjoy it!

Nasruddin and the Melons (Or, A Different Kind of "Virus")
Nasruddin was a famous wise man and trickster who loved to tell jokes.  He would tell stories, but the people didn't believe his tales. He went home to think of a story everyone would believe, and swore he would only leave that room when he had such a story. After a while, he found himself disturbed by children's noise outside in street. He decided he's play a trick on them to get peace, by going outside and telling them, "In market at other end of town - they are giving away free melons." Sure enough, the children ran off, leaving Nasruddin in peace to think. As children ran others who saw them asked why.  When they heard about the free melons, more started running - children - adults ran - soon the whole town ran. An old man happened to run by Nasruddin himself, and when Nasruddin asked why he was running, he told him. Nasruddin thought, "Perhaps there really are free melons." And he ran off, too, showing that the only people who can tell really good stories must believe them themselves!

-and beware the contagious nature of gossip!

All About the Spring Equinox

Celebrating Ostara

Ways to Help People in Need & Resources to Share (Pittsburgh)

I personally really like the idea of the virtual tip jar on this list; check it out if you have a chance!  Many opportunities for families to work together for social action in our communities.
Have ideas, resources or questions to share?  Please feel free to send them along!

Blessings to you all in this time; stay healthy, and have a good rest of the week!


Adult Religious Education

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.

Online Information to access the webinars will be sent upon registration.
All webinars will be 2–3 p.m. Eastern.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Examining Public Health Workers’ Perceptions toward Response Expectations in Disasters: Climate Change Considerations
In the face of climate change, an expanding array of disasters and emergent public health threats has raised operationally relevant research questions about the willingness of public health and other healthcare workers to fulfill organizational expectations in disaster response and recovery. This webinar will describe the latest research on public health and healthcare workers’ perceptions toward fulfilling disaster response expectations against the backdrop of an ever-broadening array of threats to population health relating to climate change, including emergent infectious diseases and more frequent severe weather events. The presentation will include evidence-informed interventions based on mixed-methods research, for boosting responders’ willingness to perform role expectations amid climate change-related disaster scenarios.
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 from 6pm - 8pm on Wednesdays.

  Click on the following link on Wednesday, 3/25, when you are ready to join:

1st U YA Meeting

Children and Youth Religious Education 

Youth!  Let's plan a virtual meeting!
Youth, make sure to give some input on our GroupMe text group, and let's see if we can find a time to regularly meet!  If you are not in the GroupMe, please email me and let me know. ( The GroupMe is for youth and advisors specifically.)

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:

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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