- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Final Sunday gathering, April 17 @ 9am and first Thursday gathering, April 21 @ 5:30pm; Join Zoom Meeting here (same link for both)
- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Living the Questions 2.0; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 04/17, 04/24, and 05/01)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 05/01)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Easter Egg Hunt and Coffee Time
After a Covid-induced hiatus of several years, the Member Relations Committee in cooperation with the Board of Education will host an egg hunt this year before the Easter worship service on Sunday, April 17th at 9:45am. This year’s hunt will have a different flavor than years past with scavenger hunts and prize bags worked into the mix! In addition to the hunt, muffins and coffee will be served in Fellowship Hall starting at 9:30am. We very much hope to gather with as many of you as possible to celebrate Easter and this opportunity to be in community.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
Beginning Thursday, April 21st, you are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Thursday evenings, 5:30pm-6:30pm to check in and explore the week’s lectionary scripture readings in a casual setting where you will never be asked to leave your brain or your heart at the door. We will meet via Zoom only (at least for the first couple of months) to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.
The final Sunday morning gathering will be held this Sunday, April 17th, 9am-10am. Those who are interested and able to gather in person are invited to gather in Room 6, and those who would like to join the Zoom meeting can do so by clicking here.
Living the Questions 2.0
First United members and friends are invited to engaging in Flight 1 of Living the Questions 2.0 throughout the season of Easter. This seven-week study will be offered in a hybrid format on Tuesday evenings, 6pm-7:30pm beginning Tuesday, April 19th (final session May 31st); those wanting to gather in person will do so in Roger Williams Hall, while those preferring an online option can join the Zoom meeting by clicking here. Each session will include the viewing of a 20-minute video segment during which contributing theologians will speak to the selected topic with regular breaks for conversation. Additionally, participants will be provided with reading materials to consider prior to each weekly meeting.
Living the Questions 2.0 (LtQ2) is an open-minded alternative to studies that attempt to give participants all the answers and instead strives to create an environment where participants can interact with one another in exploring what’s next for Christianity and features insights from an array of thought-provoking and engaging theologians. LtQ2 seeks not to provide easy answers, but to be a resource for people who are in the midst of a life-long conversation about the mysteries of faith and life. Please contact Pastor Jessica if you are interested in participating in this exploration and questioning of faith.
Book Launch for Lisa Kwong
You are encouraged to show your support for our own Lisa Kwong as she launches her forthcoming book Becoming AppalAsian. The official book launch will be presented by Ivy Tech Bloomington Library this Thursday, April 21st, 7pm-8:30pm at the Ivy Tech Bloomington Ferguson Academic Building (Main Campus; Library D123; 200 Daniels Way). Register here. Lisa will be reading selected poems from her new book Becoming AppalAsian published by Glass Lyre Press.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Our Afghan Guests
These days Ahad is getting lots of support for his job searches, Brishna is happy to be meeting more women of the church, and the children are enjoying school and pre-school. The family really enjoyed the Sunday Funday at church last month!
The Displaced Immigrant Support Team is made up of nine dedicated people from First United. The following are just some of the many contributions that they make or have made on behalf of the young Afghan family that the church co-sponsors with Exodus Refugee Immigration. We are lucky to have such a caring and committed congregation.
- Pastor Jessica serves as the lead for networking Brishna with other mothers her age to generate friendships and connections.
- Ted Wininger drives the youngest, Emraan, to/from daycare multiple times per week.
- Keith Gerber also drives family members but also takes Ahad grocery shopping weekly.
- Amber Kent provided a key Cook Medical job contact and a sowing machine (on loan) for Brishna.
- Rebecca Nunley provided bike helmets for the kids and an employment contact at IU Health Bloomington Hospital and help with IU Health community health classes.
- Diana Lambdin is providing important companionship with Brishna on a weekly basis, and she and her husband Frank have donated swimming classes at the Y for the kids.
- Hopi Stosberg provides all things school and pre-school for the kids. She managed the enrollment in Rogers ES for Heela and now has Emraan in Head Start (with key assistance from Kim Yaussy Albright). Hopi also provided a bike for Ahad for transportation and arranged for its refurbishment.
- Cindy Neidhart provides medical appointment support for Brishna and takes her to regular appointments related to her pregnancy. She led the effort to get their apartment furnished at the start.
- Dave Meyer fills in the gaps and coordinates the efforts of others and maintains communications. He is also the lead on Ahad’s efforts for full-time employment and family financial literacy.
The Board of Education invites you to join us for a one-hour Climate Change Justice Forum in the sanctuary on Sunday, April 24th immediately following the church worship service (approximately 11:45am-12:45pm). While this will be an in-person event with interactive pieces, folks can stay on the Zoom webinar (from worship) and listen to the presentations (however, there will be no opportunity to interact beyond the chat function). Please bring a snack or packed lunch to enjoy after the service if needed. Dr. Ben Brabson, a climate scientist at Indiana University, and Madi Hirschland, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Creation Care Partners in Bloomington, will discuss the science behind climate change and practical steps we can take in our own lives. We hope you can join us!
Southeast Association Annual Meeting
The Southeast Association (UCC) will be joining together for their annual meeting on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 1pm. The meeting will take place in-person right here at First United and via Zoom (join by clicking here). In addition to regular business, the meeting will feature presentations on disaster preparedness, eviction ministries, UCC General Synod preparations, and the Indiana-Kentucky Conference Antiracism Task Force. All are welcome to attend! Please contact Pastor Jessica with any questions.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will be a joyous celebration of Easter! While Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai will still offer an Easter message, copious amounts of music will offer us an opportunity to give greater expression to our Easter joy. Wayne Allen will offer a special opening piece and the children will sing their annual Easter anthem! Both the First United Bell Choir and Vocal Choir will offer their gifts of song. And, that is all in addition to the beautiful music led by Hansol Kim and Sam Grace. Andy Fak will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. And, Laurie Eynon will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary; she could use some extra support (sign up here)! Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. And, Sarah and Jerry Burton will provide a beautiful floral arrangement to enhance the worship space. Finally, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible.
Join the Zoom Webinar by clicking here
Dial-in number: (312) 626 6799; Webinar ID: 828 3681 0281
The service will be posted on Sunday evening on First United’s Vimeo channel (where you can access all of our previous worship services).
Donate online at: firstuc.online/donate
Youth Participation in Solidarity Sleepout
First United youth are invited to join together to support Beacon’s Solidarity Sleepout April 22nd-23rd (see more details just below). First United members and friends who are not able to sleep out yourself but want to support the effort are encouraged to support First United’s youth as they participate in the sleepout. You can give by accessing the First United Youth team page here; support one or all of the registered team members!
Beacon Solidarity Sleepout
First United is honored to host this year’s Beacon Solidarity Sleepout on Friday, April 22nd, 7pm-Saturday, April 23rd, 8am, as dedicated adults, teens, and children will be sleeping out to raise critical funds and awareness for people experiencing homelessness in Monroe County. With sleeping bags, tarps, and tents, participants can choose to gather on the grounds of First United Church or sleep in their backyards, on their living room floor, etc.
All ages are welcome. Adults and teen participants are asked to register at givebutter.com/sleepout2022, choose a personal fundraising goal, and ask friends and family to sponsor them as they sleep out.
The net proceeds from the event will support Beacon’s overnight shelter, Friend’s Place, the only nonreligious, year-round emergency shelter for homeless adults in the region. Friend’s Place is a sober shelter for Monroe County residents, providing hope and support as people find their way back home. Combined with Beacon’s housing and employment assistance, Friend’s Place has become one of the most successful shelters in Indiana.
First United members who are considering participating in this year’s sleepout are also encouraged to consider serving as an official First United representative offering a warm welcome and abundant hospitality while participants gather on our grounds. Please contact a member of the Board of Outreach if you are interested.
Indiana-Kentucky Conference Annual Gathering Banquet
IKC Annual Gathering Planning Team is in need of help from Conference congregations to supply food items for the Annual Gathering Banquet. A Sign-Up Genius site has been set up for those who willing and able to donate the needed items. Please click here to see what items are being requested and to sign up to help. Specific drop off dates and times will be communicated at a later date, but please plan to deliver to Frieden’s UCC (8300 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46217) the week of May 30th, 2022. Becky Moore, the Annual Gathering coordinator, will be in touch with those who sign up to communicate details about drop off locations and times for your items. She can be reached at email@example.com for any questions or correspondence. Thank you for your willingness to help in any way to make this Annual Meeting Banquet a truly abundant and joyful feast!
CLT and Nursery Care
Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) during the last half of the service. Many thanks to Ted Wininger (our interim Lead CLT Teacher!) and Lena Stosberg for leading CLT this Sunday. Interested in joining our CLT assistant teacher rotation? Contact Molly Koontz.
Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 9:15am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Allie Gentry and Katie Silvester will ensure our little ones are safe and engaged in fun activities during worship this Sunday. We are still looking for additional volunteer assistants to help in the nursery occasionally. Contact Molly Koontz if you are interested and with any questions.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue a 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation.
During their March 16th meeting, Church Council voted to make masking optional for Sunday services, Sunday Bible study, and other small group meetings, but we will continue requiring masks for the nursery and Children’s Learning Time (CLT). This change was effective immediately. Social distancing is still to be observed, and vaccination continues to be strongly recommended for all who are eligible.
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this unknown terrain together. Please be in touch with Rebecca Keith, Church President, or other members of the Council with any questions regarding this change in our policy.
First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. Thank you for your help!
If you would like an announcement included in next week’s church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday before.
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – email@example.com; 812-727-4414 (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sam Grace, Music Director – email@example.com
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – email@example.com; 812-325-0145 (Cell)