We are committed to helping people deepen their lives of prayer, faith, and service. One way we do that is by offering a ministry of spiritual direction to both individuals and groups. First United’s Spiritual Director, Dawna Petersen, offers spiritual direction to friends and members of First United and to the larger Bloomington community. Individual direction sessions are usually scheduled once a month and last about an hour but may follow other rhythms as needed. Group direction sessions usually meet for two and one half hours once a month for nine to ten months and are limited to 3-5 people in the group.
A spiritual director serves as host, companion, midwife, witness – someone who helps a directee (sometimes with questions, sometimes just by listening) to integrate an awareness of God’s presence into his or her daily life. Spiritual direction is not really about being “directed.” Rather, it is about being encouraged and helped to notice the presence and direction of God’s Spirit within you and around you. Director and directee together seek direction with the holy. The director does not impose his or her ideas but accompanies and listens with the directee for God, the true director in the relationship.
Spiritual direction is a process of accompanying people on their spiritual journeys to help them cultivate their ability to notice and appreciate moments of holiness and to discern God’s movement in their lives, maintain an awareness of the interconnectedness of all things, and explore ways to be open to the holy both in challenging or difficult moments and in joyful ones.
Spiritual direction is not therapy, pastoral counseling, preaching, teaching, giving advice, fixing, or problem-solving; is a crucible of time set apart where the unique person and gifts of the directee are discovered, affirmed, and nurtured so they may be offered in loving service to others; is companionship, awareness, searching, resourcing, questioning, discerning, holy listening; is two people (or a group of people) looking and listening together for God’s presence; is asking, “What is happening in your life? Where is God in the midst of that? What is the invitation?”; is a place to reflect on our images of God and how they have changed or stayed the same; is an ancient contemplative practice that is being rediscovered in many communities of faith; is for anyone wanting to explore his or her spirituality; and is confidential and non-judgmental.
Spiritual direction encourages movement toward freedom, peace, commitment, compassion, and justice.
If you would like a companion on your spiritual journey or would like to explore and learn more, e-mail Dawna or call the church office. Your first one-hour session is complimentary; it is a time to get acquainted and for both you and Dawna to discern whether a spiritual direction relationship might be a right fit.Fees range from $35-65 per session for individual direction and $25 per session for group direction. No one will be turned away because of financial considerations.
The Love Fund provides funds for local people in need who struggle to meet financial obligations, including rent payments, utility and rent deposits, utility bills, prescription drug or medical costs, gas and grocery purchases, and auto maintenance costs. (Food and clothing are not available through the Love Fund but are available from many local agencies.) Gifts from the Love Fund are provided as one-time emergency assistance and are given via referral, not in cash.
Those who seek assistance from the Love Fund must have a referral from the Shalom Center, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Monroe County United Ministries, or a Township Trustee; the referring agency can call us on behalf of potential recipients. For more information about financial assistance, call the church office Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 812-332-4439.
The church library is open during office hours and before and after Sunday services. Our book collection is carefully curated by our librarian and the ministers and includes books for adults and children, fiction and nonfiction, current periodicals, books about nearly every facet of Christian life, several different translations and versions of the Christian Scriptures, and holy texts from other faith traditions.
The library is located in the main hallway, just to the right of the sanctuary. Feel free to browse the thousands of publications in the library or check out our librarian’s featured selections on the table across the hall from the library entrance. To check out a book, find the card on the book’s back flap, fill out your name and address, and drop the card in the box on the table in the library. Books may be kept for two weeks. Anyone can check out a book; we simply ask that books be returned promptly so everyone can benefit from our collection!
We honor all stages of the life cycle, including death. The Memory Garden is available for members and friends of First United who wish to be cremated and have their remains buried on church grounds. A person may prepay for a plot while making advance funeral preparations; plots may also be purchased after a death.
Plots in the Memory Garden measure one square foot. The cost of a plot is $400. Our ministers are available for funeral or memorial services. Contact our office manager for further details.