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Worship This Week!

at First Unitarian Church

Blessing of the Animals (Rev. Abbey Tennis & Hannah Capaldi)
10am, Sanctuary
Bring your (well-behaved and/or crated) pets to receive a blessing in this intergenerational service celebrating our relationships to the non-human community of life. Pictures of shy or departed pets, stuffed animals, or other symbolic animals are invited to receive a blessing too!

Historical Tour of First Unitarian Church
Sunday, following service
Meet at bust of Joseph Priestley, west wall of Sanctuary. There will be a 45-ish minute guided tour to all parts of our great historic building, designed to you an understanding of the architecture and decoration of the church, designed in 1883 by Frank Furness. Our guide, Richard Frey, is a professional guide who has been studying the church since he joined 47 years ago.

Upcoming Events

Coffee with Hannah
Our new Minister for Faith Formation, Hannah Capaldi, wants to meet you! To chat over coffee with Hannah, make your way to the church during the following time slots:

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2-3:30pm

  • Wednesday, September 11, 6:-7:30pm

  • Sunday, September 15, 1-2:30pm

Fringe Festival in the Parish Room
September 12-14, 8-9pm
“Stripping the Yellow Wallpaper,” a new play devised by our own Valerie Flower and a small ensemble of fierce performers, runs from September 12-14 in the Parish Room.  This theatre work is a contemporary twist on “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the semi-autobiographical feminist ghost story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that first illuminated the horrors of facing mental illness alone.
Pay what you wish ($10 – $20).

Got Stuff? Got Good Stuff? The Fall Porch Sale, with Goodies to Go!
Saturday, September 28, 10am-2pm
Contacts: Luana Goodwin ( & Kitty Jauregui (

We're asking you to pick out your best items (art pieces, sporting goods, jewelry, accessories, toys and games, household items, records and CDs, holiday decor, ad infinitum—but please, no clothing or books!), and donate them to our Porch Sale.  We're also asking you to donate your time, energy, and sweat to this fundraising event. Your chance for a further pledge—this time of your effort. Items may be dropped off any time the week of September 23. And finally - Surprise! - Ben Franklin has offered to stop by (he was really a Unitarian at heart) and visit with the helpers and customers! So come and help, donate some good stuff for the sale, and get the inside scoop from old Ben about those French madams!

Summer services are held at 10am in our air-conditioned Parish Room. After September 1, we will return to our 11am services in the Sanctuary for the duration of the church year!

  • September 1. Improv as Spiritual Practice: Making It up as We Go (David O'Connor)
    The rules that govern good improv play are worth exploring as a way to live in community with others. Let's play together and see what sticks!
    At First Unitarian Church, David O'Connor is a worship associate, member of the Mission Vision team, an organizer of the Improv group, and probably best known as parent to Zach and Maddy. David is a founder and facilitator of Philly Agile Learning Community, a school for self-directed education based at First Unitarian Church. David came to Philly 16 years ago to earn an MFA in Directing from Temple University, and since has directed plays all over the city before finding ways to use theater and improv to improve community.

Groups & Gatherings

at First Unitarian Church

Coordinating Prayer Shawl Ministry
Do you enjoy organizing or knitting, crocheting, sewing?  The Prayer Shawl Ministry is looking for you! Prayer Shawls are given to congregants who are living through difficult times, major transitions, or celebrating joyful happenings. In Prayer Shawl Ministry's two years, we have had an incredible impact on our community. Recently, though, our founder and coordinator has gone off to graduate school and she leaves a vacuum. With her departure, we need some coordinating help. No artistic talents required. Coordinating involves one to three hours a month (tracking the shawls made/delivered, emailing contributors, arranging delivery, potentially scheduling periodic meetings after church for us all to get together).
If coordinating isn’t for you but you want to start your first prayer shawl, it’s simple. All skill levels are welcome. Mentoring is available.  Use any stitch/pattern of your choice for your shawl and work at your pace. It will then be blessed after a service and delivered to the recipient. For more information or questions contact Anne Slater or Kathy Bell at

Meals Needed for Congregants
As you may know, congregants have been providing dinners for Marisa McClellan and Scott McNulty following the birth of their twins, Declan and Sammy. The calendar is open for the coming week! For more information and to sign up, click here

The Women's Book Discussion Group
We will meet on Monday, September 9, at the home of Jennifer Miescke with Suzanne Riesman facilitating the discussion. The book we will be discussing is Becoming by Michelle Obama. RSVP to Jennifer at or (608) 212-7126. If you wish to plan ahead, our October 7 meeting will be discussing Circe by Madeline Miller. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about our lively group, we'd love to meet you. Please contact the coordinator Christine Carlson at  

First U Improv
Parish Room, Second and Fourth Tuesdays, 6pm - 8pm
Contact: Jo at 408-636-8383, or David at 215-760-5782
Join us for a fun and free weekly community improvisation group! All ages/ abilities and drop-ins welcome! Come take risks, be silly, and maybe try something new, all in a safe, supportive environment. Find us on Facebook: First U Improv.

Other Announcements

at First Unitarian Church and Around

Civil Conversations Facilitator Trainings
Wednesday, August 28, 5:30-7pm & Friday, September 27, 9:30-11am
Rev. Alison Cornish, our Affiliated Community Minister, is offering a series of virtual workshops through Interfaith Philadelphia that will give participants the skills to organize Civil Conversations in their congregations, workplaces, and communities. These sessions offer community leaders and "bridge people" techniques for grassroots civil conversations that support a thriving religiously diverse democracy. Feel free to contact Rev. Alison Cornish with any questions at For more information and registration, click here.

Science Fair in Griffin Hall
Saturday, August 31, 6PM
Come join Extinction Rebellion for a science fair, a tardigrade parade, and live music! We're honoring the tardigrade to remind us all that we'd like there to be more than just tardigrades left on the Earth in a generation or two. Science demos, snacks and live music! Pay what you wish and snacks are available on a sliding scale donation. Would you like to host a science table Visit to fill out an application.

Greater Philly Cluster Summit
October 19, 10am-3pm, Main Line Unitarian Church
Leaders, Ministers, Staff, and Members of the 14 Cluster congregations are invited to attend to explore and determine the organizational structure and future of the Cluster. Mark Bernstein will facilitate the mtg, and Pat Infante (CER) will provide an overview of regionalization/clusters. For more details and to register, click here.


The Greater Philly UU Cluster (GPC) ( is comprised of 14 nearby UU congregations and is actively connecting these congregations to share our message, grow our faith and strengthen congregations. 

Check out the GPC Google calendar for more events:
If you don't see your church's upcoming events listed, contact your GPC representative to add them.

Accessibility Project Update
As a result of two site visits to experience first-hand a vendor’s proposed lifts, there was a decision to bring additional vendors into the procurement process to address quality issues. Further reviews of the plan highlighted the need to research solutions to address usability, ongoing maintenance and support and safety requirements. The staff despite these latest challenges continues to be highly committed to ensuring as feasible as possible an ADA-compliant, well-functioning solution. An updated report will be available at the end of September noting the latest findings coming out of additional site visits and research. Should you have any questions about the project please feel free to call Norman Fouhy (Business Administrator) or Nic Tenaglia (Building Superintendent) at (215) 563-3980

Beacon Newsletter
The July-August issue of the Beacon can be found at the Welcome Table outside the Parish Room, the brochure display in the Lobby, and online

Sign up to Usher this Summer
Our Usher Team is a fun, vital part of the ministry of First Unitarian Church. Joining the Ushers is an easy way to get to know people in the congregation and be a part of the service! To sign up, use this online form.

Board of Trustees Update
All are welcome to attend! Meetings generally occur on the third Tuesday of every month, beginning at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Tuesday, September 17.

May 2019 Board Update for the Congregation

Click here to see upcoming and past agendas and reports.

Thanks to all who have already pledged—we are 90% of the way to our goal of $250,000, but still need $25,000! If you haven’t pledged yet, please do so now. Pledge brochures are available around the church, including in the pews. Mail in your pledge card, drop it in the plate when it passes on Sunday, or pledge online at

Have An Announcement?
Please email all announcements to The deadline for submission is Tuesday at 12pm, for inclusion in that week's E-Beacon and order of service.

Sunday Parking

We encourage congregants to get to church using SEPTA - we are one block from the 22nd St Trolley Station and easily accessible via the 7, 9, 21, 31, 42, 44, 48, 124, 125, and 128 buses. Google Maps provides easy directions via SEPTA - just plug in your starting address and click the train icon. Stay green!

Should you decide to drive, we have special permission for parking in two locations:

Street Parking

  • Parking Permit - printable!
  • Valid ONLY 9:00AM - 2:00PM on Sundays.
Greenfield Elementary School Lot
  • Parking Permit - printable!
  • Monday-Friday after 5:30 PM; Saturday and Sunday anytime

Hospitality & Light Treats for Coffee Hour
Contact the Membership Ministry at with any questions.
Please bring cookies or some other light dessert for our Coffee Hour.  Good coffee and something sweet encourages friendly conversation--and provides a special welcome for visitors.

Copyright © 2019 First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, All rights reserved.

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