- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Mondays @ 10am; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 04/23, 04/30, & 05/07)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 04/23, 04/30, & 05/07)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 05/07)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Sermon Talk Back
This month’s sermon talk back will take place after worship this Sunday, April 23rd. You are invited to head down to Fellowship Hall to grab a drink and a snack and say “hello” to some church friends, and then gather near the fireplace to engage in informal conversation spurred by the day’s sermon. Share with fellow congregants how the sermon connected with you and your life and ask any questions of clarification or curiosity and be enriched by their sharing. Pastor Jessica will be available to address questions, elaborate further on the day’s message, and share additional thoughts she may have had while preparing her sermon.
Southeast Association (UCC) Annual Spring Meeting
The Southeast Association Spring Meeting will be held this Sunday, April 23rd at 3pm (registration at 2:30pm) at St. John UCC Cumberland (11910 Prospect St, Indianapolis, IN) and via Zoom (click here to join; open at 2:45pm). If you would like electronic versions of the agenda and reports, please contact Pastor Jessica, and she will send them to you.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
The 2023 Nominating Committee continues our work—Mary Peckham and Sam Troxal (Co-chairs), with Barb Clark, Julia Lebeau, Enrico Lunghi, and Michael Shell representing their boards. We are still prayerfully seeking to fill board vacancies; while we are grateful to have had nominees for the positions of Vice President, Clerk, and Assistant Treasurer offer their service, we still need members for the Boards of Building & Grounds (1 or 2 3-year spots), Education (3 spots for 1, 2, and 3 years), and Worship (2 3-year spots). Please consider thoughtfully whether you might be able to fill one of these spots that are so vital to the running of our congregation, as well as a great way to get to know your church and your community better. You can nominate yourself or suggest that we approach someone you think has gifts to offer; no one is formally nominated without their knowledge and full consent! Please ask us about our work and about these opportunities to serve our faith family!! And, in the spirit of letting each of you know that we see you and all you have to offer, if we approach you, know that if the time is not right for you this year, a seed is being planted for the future. Contact Mary with questions.
First Sunday Food Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex. This month, on Sunday, May 7th, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. As always, all of the collected food and cleaning/hygiene items will go to Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), located in the Crestmont neighborhood of Bloomington, and pet food will go to Area 10 Agency on Aging. Click here to for a list of MCUM’s ongoing needs; note their special request for pasta, breakfast items, Rice-a-Roni, canned meat, crackers, Jiffy Mix, dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, cleaner, baby wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels.Thank you for your donations to meet ongoing community needs.
Youth Group Co-op Hike @ Griffy Lake
Youth in middle and high school (grades 5-12) are invited to come out for hiking and connection with each other and the great outdoors at Griffy Lake 2pm-3:30pm on Sunday, April 30th; meet at the boathouse (3400 N Headley Rd, Bloomington). Everyone is encouraged to bring a water bottle (some snacks will be provided) and skin protection (whatever that looks like for you!). Please RSVP to Pastor Jessica by Thursday, April 27th if you/your youth plans to attend and if you would be interested in carpooling.
As of March 31st, total income is at $93,000 or 29% of budget; however, this includes a withdrawal of $40,000 from the endowment, which is 33% of the approved maximum withdrawal for this year. This was necessary to maintain cash flow, which was dangerously low for the first two months of 2023. Total expenses are at $91,000 or 25% of budget; however, we are behind on budgeted Outreach giving due to the cash flow concerns. Catch-up contributions for Outreach would increase expenses over income for the first three months. However, our extra-budgetary Outreach giving each month is very good. In January, we raised $588 for the church’s Love Fund. In February, we raised $350 for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. And, in March, we raised $337 for the Nurse Family Partnership. Thank you for your continued generosity!
Reader’s Choice Book Group
The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, May 8th at 1:30pm in the home of Jean Peters (2455 Tamarack Trail, Apt. 104 Meadowood). The book for discussion is “The Tale Teller,” by Anne Hillerman. Joe Leaphorn may have retired from the Tribal Police, but he finds himself knee-deep in a perplexing case involving a priceless artifact—a reminder of a dark time in Navajo history. Joe’s been hired to find a missing biil, a traditional dress that had been donated to the Navajo Nation. His investigation takes a sinister turn when the leading suspect dies under mysterious circumstances and Leaphorn himself receives anonymous warnings. Their case takes a complicated turn when Bernie finds a body near a popular running trail. The situation grows more complicated when the death is ruled a homicide, and the Tribal cops are thrust into a turf battle because the murder involves the FBI.
The book group will not meet during the months of June and July. At the August meeting, they will decide on upcoming books to read. All are welcome to join!
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet on Sunday, May 14th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. We will read and discuss “Behave” by Andromeda Romano-Lax—the story of Rosalie Rayner an ambitious young wife and mother. In 1920, when she graduated from Vassar College, Rayner was ready to make her mark on the world. Intelligent, beautiful, and unflappable, she won a coveted research position at Johns Hopkins assisting the charismatic celebrity psychologist John B. Watson. Together, Watson and Rayner conducted controversial experiments on hundreds of babies to prove behaviorist principles. They also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them both their jobs—and recast the sparkling young Rosalie Rayner, scientist and thinker, as Mrs. John Watson, wife and conflicted, maligned mother, just another “woman behind a great man.” This novel offers a provocative fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose work influenced generations of Americans, and whose legacy has been lost in the shadow of her husband’s. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).
Pizza & Play
Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play on Friday, May 5th, 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ll enjoy a time of informal, unprogrammed fun and fellowship in Fellowship Hall and surrounding areas, both inside and out (weather permitting). As the name implies, pizza, drinks, and dessert will be provided, so please let Pastor Jessica know by 5pm Thursday, May 4th if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all and account for any dietary needs.
We had our 50th Merger Anniversary Potluck on April 16th. It was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came out and to all those who cooked, brought items, and cleaned up. Our next event will be the 20th Naming Anniversary Potluck (with Songwriting Festival/Sing-along) on Sunday, June 11th (also the date of the Congregational Meeting!) after worship. The date that we changed our name from First Baptist Church-United Church of Christ to First United Church was May 18th, 2003. Please join us as we commemorate one more great anniversary! And, consider how YOU will be part of making this wonderful event a grand celebratory success! Email or call Rebecca Keith to join the fun: email@example.com or 812-325-0145.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. The service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Laurie Eynon will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in singing throughout the service, and our wonderful Vocal Choir will offer special music. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Kim Yaussy Albright, Ted Wininger and Linda Smith will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary (sign up here to help), while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Finally, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, Sara Cole and Rebecca Keith will host coffee hour following worship.
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 by clicking here
Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals
All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. The vocal choir rehearses in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm. The bell choir will resume their regular 6:15pm Thursday evening rehearsals in Roger Williams Hall this Thursday, April 27th.
BMA F4RE Support of Fairview Elementary School
The Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity (BMA F4RE) subgroup invites all those who are interested and able to join in supporting their two partner PTOs at Fairview and Templeton Elementary Schools. The following opportunity to volunteer with Fairview has been shared by their PTO president:
What: Help with their Annual Field Day
When: Friday, May 12th, 9:30am-3:15pm; Time Slots needed: 9am-1pm (PreK-2nd grade); 12pm-4pm (3rd-6th grade)
Where: Fairview Elementary School, near the playground
How: Anyone interested in volunteering should email Aaron Biggs (PTO President) directly at fairviewwildcatsPTO@gmail.com as you will need to have a quick background check done (all free and required by MCCSC)
Impact: Your volunteering gives teachers more time to prepare and teach their classes as they have historically accounted for most of the volunteers for this event.
“Racially Restrictive Bloomington” Presentation & Conversation
All are encouraged to gather together in Roger Williams Hall on Sunday, May 7th, after worship (starting about 11:45am) to learn about “Racially Restrictive Bloomington.” Nate Johnson and Keith Gerber (members of the Bloomington Faith Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity subgroup, facilitated by Pastor Jessica) will share findings regarding racially restrictive housing covenants in our community having diligently researched over 400 properties in cooperation with other BMA F4RE members and the Monroe County Recorder’s Office and History Center. Click here to access some of their findings.
MeRC at Work
Your hard-working Member Relations Committee is constantly creating opportunities for welcome, fun, and fellowship in our church family. Be sure to join us for our Fifth Sunday Potluck on April 30th after worship. This will be a pitch-in in Fellowship Hall, and ALL are invited—to come (with or without a food item), to help set up/staff/clean up, to EAT and socialize. Invite a friend, bring family, celebrate community with us!! Questions? Want to help? Contact Mary Peckham firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Coffee Hour Every Sunday!
The Member Relations Committee (MeRC) is encouraging our congregation to offer simple fellowship after worship every Sunday. You can sign up here, and click here to view revised instructions. Fellowship is vital to a strong community and easy to support with the gift of minimal time and effort. Malissa Sparks or Mary Peckham can answer any questions you may have. And, a reminder that, while hosts are free to supplement items if they wish, all food, drink, and serving supplies are provided by the church.
The Hope We Have: IKC-UCC Annual Gathering
You are invited to participate in this year’s Annual Gathering of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) June 1st-3rd at Zion UCC (603 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46202) featuring keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer and Preacher the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson!
If you sign up to volunteer for General Synod (June 30th-July 4th; see below) you can sign up for this year’s Annual Gathering for only $65! A reminder that MIDs attend for free, banquet only attendance is $35, retired clergy are $65, and the regular registration is $130. You can also register for a Boundary Training which will be offered on Thursday from 12pm-4pm for an additional charge of $50.00. Click here to register and learn more! And, please talk with Pastor Jessica if you are thinking of attending as we have funds to assist with registration.
UCC General Synod Volunteer Opportunities
The 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ will convene in Indianapolis June 30th-July 4th, 2023. Yes, you read that correctly, the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) will host this biennial meeting of the wider church! And, the IKC needs your help to extend an extraordinary welcome to our siblings in faith from across the country and around the globe as they gather together in our home conference. Learn about volunteer opportunities and share your interests by clicking here. Sign up to serve as a volunteer here.
With Synod taking place so close this time around, you are encouraged to consider attending this meaningful event as a guest and getting to know this part of our wider church family better whether you are interested and able to volunteer or not (though volunteering will certainly help with the registration fee; think $275 for regular full registration compared to $65 if you volunteer!). Visit the UCC’s General Synod website here to learn more about what’s in store for General Synod 2023.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with members and friends of First United each Monday morning at 10am 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 meet via Zoom only in an effort to be more accessible; join the Zoom meeting here.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue to explore the 36-session video series “The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch” presented by Dr. Molly Worthen. These weekly gatherings are a great opportunity to connect with First United friends though informal conversation (first 30 minutes) followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. While we’d love to see you every Tuesday, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation. See you there!
Children’s Learning Time
Each Sunday, kids in kindergarten and up are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 after Children’s Time during the morning worship service. Many thanks to Sandra Meder and Sabine Lammers 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 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Emily Mathes and Jessica McIntosh will ensure our little ones are safe and engaged in fun activities during worship this Sunday. We are always looking for additional volunteer assistants to help in the nursery occasionally. Contact Molly Koontz if you are interested and with any questions.
First United Songwriting Festival
First United will host a songwriting festival on Sunday, June 11th in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of our church merger and the 20thAnniversary of our name change. Help us celebrate these milestones as you put your love of First United into song. Take a favorite tune and give it new First-United-inspired words or write a completely original song music and all. Not sure about taking this on alone? Ask a First United friend or two to partner with you! And don’t forget to call on the great musical resources we have in so many talented members and friends of our faith community including but surely not limited to our Music Director, Eric Meincke. Please have submissions in by May 1st so the choir can start learning the songs in preparation for a performance/sing-along event on June 11th in conjunction with a celebratory potluck following our Congregational Meeting.
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – email@example.com; 812-727-4414 (Cell) (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-332-4439 (Office)
- Eric Meincke, Music Director – email@example.com; 501-837-2708 (Cell)
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – email@example.com; 812-325-0145 (Cell)