The First Unitarian Church VIRTUAL Annual Congregational Meeting
Sunday, May 17, 2020, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The First Unitarian Church Annual Congregational Meeting will take place via Zoom video conference!
Please make sure that this event is flagged in your calendar. The participation of every voting member of the congregation is extremely important.
Business to be conducted at the meeting will include:
• Endorsing 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.
Voting during the meeting will be by anonymous electronic ballot. Voting members who are unable to participate in the meeting via Zoom or do not wish to vote electronically using a link sent to their email address will have the option to vote by absentee ballot.
Please stay tuned for more details via email within the next few days.
Your church building is still here, still beautiful, as this photo taken by Stuart Hastings last month attests. Even more importantly, your church community is still here and still beautiful.
On Sunday mornings at 10:30, staff members and volunteers gather—a few of us in the building and a few of us by recorded video—to create a worship service. It’s been gratifying to receive notes from congregants letting us know that you find these services meaningful. One note said “It must be difficult to do in an empty sanctuary.” Brian Junker replied “The sanctuary was not empty, because you were there” along with more than a hundred others.
We’ve begun social time by Zoom at 11:30 on Sunday mornings. I send out a Zoom link by email on Saturday afternoons (together with the YouTube service link and attached order of service) to members, friends, and a mailing list of people identified as recent visitors. (Please email me if you have not been receiving these messages but would like to.) Participants in social time are sent to virtual “breakout rooms” for a half hour of conversation with a small group of people who check in with each other and respond to a discussion question.
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 call through the church account, please contact me. Whether or not you are part of an organized group, please continue to reach out to each other by phone and by email.
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!
If you or someone you know in the church community has a temporary financial need that might benefit from the minister’s benevolence fund, known as Marion’s Purse, please let me know.
A number of congregants have volunteered to help with errands or other needs; please contact me or a member of the Pastoral Care Team to volunteer or to request assistance. And one congregant offers this service: Farm fresh organic eggs delivered to your door step weekly. Support a local farmer and enjoy the best eggs you've ever tasted! Delivery to Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Greenfield and surrounding areas. Call or text Kelly at 412-760-2599.
As ever, please contact me at Constance.L.Grant@gmail.com or (847) 840-8542 if you have pastoral needs or other concerns.
Holding you in mind and heart,
Rev. Connie Grant
Credo-Building Workshop Tuesdays May 12 - 16, 3:30 - 5:00 pm by Zoom What do you believe in, not just in your head but in your life? As Unitarian Universalists, we formulate our belief statements in terms of credo (“I believe”) not creed (“we believe”), and our “beliefs” are meaningful as they are reflected in our lives. Our stories are among our sacred texts, and we are responsible for developing our own beliefs in light of our own experience and conscience. This workshop is designed to help participants figure out what they believe about some theological questions such as the meaning of life and death; the nature of human beings; and our place in the universe. Led by Rev. Connie Grant. Email Constance.L.Grant@gmail.com to register
Three - Session Virtual Book Discussion on An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States on Thursdays, May 14, 21, and 28 @ 7pm with Erica Shadowsong. This book is the UUA Common Read (https://www.uua.org/read) ***Registration is required.
A minimum of 6 registrations is required for the class to take place. Please email email@example.com if you would like to register. Thank you!
Anti-racism workshops continue
The series of anti-racism workshops offered by the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Freethought Community will continue as one-hour virtual sessions using Zoom.
The schedule for the next four sessions is below. In order to participate, please register for individual sessions at pghfreethought.org
so we can provide you with registration information.
This Sunday, May 10, 1 to 2 PM. Anti-Racism Workshop - Anti-Blackness: anti-blackness is foundational to our identities as white people, resulting in conflicting feelings that lead to irrationality and fragility. We will refer to Robin DiAngelo's work in White Fragility. There will be a presentation followed by a discussion.
Sunday, May 24, 1 to 2 PM. Anti-Racism Workshop - Racial Triggers for White People: whiteness accrues privilege and surrounds itself with protection. To have honest conversations about racism we need to get past these protective barriers. We will refer to Robin DiAngelo's work in White Fragility. There will be a presentation followed by a discussion.
Young Adults Religious Education
Young Adults Small Group Weekly Meetings on Zoom
Please join us for our weekly meeting at 7:00pm on Wednesdays.
We are currently going through a program called Spirit In Practice, which explores spiritual practices for Unitarian Universalists.
The May 13th meeting of the Men's group will be from 7:30 to 9:00 with a ZOOM gathering. We want to check in to see if everyone is safe. Our meeting "may" just last an hour, we'll see how the time goes. IF you were not on the list of men to whom I emailed instructions on how to join us and you are interested, send me an email. For information contact Jim at J5650R@comcast.net.
Covenant group Opportunities
Consider joining or creating a virtual covenant group.
If you are interested in joining or creating a new covenant group, you can complete a Covenant Group interest formor contact Alice Bright : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Share the Plate message on Sunday, May 17 will include a brief personal greeting from our India partners, Nangroi Suting and Barri Mukhim. They are the power couple that advances our school and village, and both have visited here since our partnership began in 2003. With stay-at-home in effect throughout India, our teachers are working extra hard remotely using Whats App to prepare our high school students for exams. They need our emotional and financial support more than ever, since having high student scores is what will allow government funding to kick-in for our new high school.
We have been sponsoring two teachers with a yearly salary of $4800. Sponsorship funding is already a bit low having raised $5,500 toward the goal of $9600, which means we still need to raise $4,100. We know that many have financial hardships due to the pandemic, so if you are in such a circumstance we understand and our thoughts are with you. We still hope many can give to help continue our much needed support. Questions? Contact Karen Litzinger, 412-977-4029.
Many members of our congregation have been sewing reusable and washable face masks to help their family, friends and neighbors do what they can to be safe.
If you need a mask or two, please email Julie Childers of the Pastoral Care team at email@example.com with your request, including your street address, so we can mail or deliver a mask to you.
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:
□ Providing a meal for an individual or family
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 412-992-1888 Jan Carlino: email@example.com Phone: 412-727-0200 Julie Childers: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 412-726-3590 Jim Cunningham: email@example.com Phone: 412-256-0205 (Co-Chair)
Kathy Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 412-639-8012 (Co-Chair)
Bob Sullivan: email@example.com Phone: 412-952-7772 Rev. Connie Grant: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 847-840-8542 (Church Office: 412-621-8008)
The April 24-25 2020 Annual Meeting of UUPLAN was ZOOMED across the commonwealth as our current COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings prevented gathering in person. Participation was ~110 at both the Friday evening and Saturday sessions, exceeding that in person at the 2019 meeting. The YouTube videos of the 2020 meeting and other information can be found at https://www.uuplan.org/. The keynote speakers on Saturday morning, Rob Boston of America United addressing separation of church and state, and Rev. Shawna Foster of Denver discussing the use of love with power in combating the CO government’s attempt to remove school breakfast for thousands of students from poor families, were excellent. The legislator’s panel on Saturday afternoon, “Perspectives on Bringing Personal Morality to Government”, provided varied perspectives on current issues and how they are addressing them through their positions as state senators and representatives in Harrisburg. The transcripts of all the proceedings are available on the UUPLAN website and are well worth your listening. The 2020 Annual Report is available at https://www.uuplan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-Annual-Report.pdfand documents what has been happening around the state with the Justice Teams. There is a section in the report on “PA UUtheVOTE” that provides an overview of how UUPLAN is supporting both non-partisan and partisan electoral work. Look for these activities to ramp up during the coming summer.
If it feels like this primary season has been eclipsed by other concerns, perhaps these LWVGP forums can provide a better sense of the some of the races. I am interested in watching 3 of them with my incumbents & their challengers-it is good to be better informed, our choices are important! (Becky Studer)
VOTING INFORMATION AND CANDIDATE FORUMS:
LWVGP VIRTUAL Candidate Forums. Listed below by date are the forums which will be conducted on Zoom and posted to the LWVGP Facebook page shortly afterwards. https://www.facebook.com/lwvpgh/ YOU DO NOT have to have to have a Facebook account to access the forum videos.
Forum List in Chronological Order: Noted is the start time of the recording of the forum. Facebook posting of the forum will appear within 24 hours or as soon as possible.
Wed. May 6, 7:00, PA House 36, Jessica Benham, Mark Johnson, Heather Kass, and Edward Moeller Tues. May 12, 7:00 PM, PA Senate 43, Sen. Jay Costa and William Brittain Thurs. May 14, 1:30 PM, PA House 20, Rep. Adam Ravenstahl and Emily Kinkead Thurs. May 14, 7:00 PM, PA House 34, Rep. Summer Lee and Chris Roland Mon. May 18, 2:00 PM, PA House 30, Marco Attisano and Lissa Geiger-Shulman Tues. May 19, 7:00 PM, US Congress 18, Rep. Mike Doyle and Gerald Dickinson
Mail-in ballot applications will be accepted through Tuesday, May 26, 2020. If a voter has already applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot, they do NOT need to reapply.
In Pennsylvania, you now have two options for mail ballots. You may either choose a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot to request, complete and return to your county election office.
Absentee ballot – If you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which still requires you to list a reason for your ballot.
Mail-in ballot – Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason.
In order to request either ballot type, you must be registered to vote. Please visit Check Your Registration Status to review your registration information
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