- 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 04/09, 04/16, & 04/23)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 04/23)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 04/23)
- 50 Anniversary Potluck sign up – Sunday, April 16th – Click here
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
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 TONIGHT, April 7th, 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.
The children will be singing a new piece for Easter morning worship THIS Sunday, April 9th: “Because You Live, O Christ” Here is what you need to know:
- After the Easter Egg Hunt that morning, children should meet in the choir room to warm up and get ready at 10:15am.
- We will sing during the prelude and then the kids can sit with their folks.
- Little ones that have been in the nursery are invited too!
MeRC at Work
Your hard-working Member Relations Committee is constantly creating opportunities for welcome, fun, and fellowship in our church family. Invite a friend, bring family, celebrate community with us!! Questions? Want to help? Contact Mary Peckham firstname.lastname@example.org. In April, please join us for:
- . 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.
First United’s Feminist Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet THIS Sunday, April 9th, at 12pm, in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for an hour-long lively discussion on “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join. You may check out our book club’s Pinterest listing: http://pinterest.com/reginammoore/feminist-book-club/ which has our group’s past selections. You don’t have to have an account to see our picks. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, email@example.com.
Reader’s Choice Book Group
The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, April 10th at 1:30pm in the home of Nancy Martin (1047 E Sassafras Cir, Meadowood). The book for this month’s discussion is “Hiding in the Spotlight” by Greg Dawson. If you like to read, come join the group at any or all of its meetings at 1:30pm on the second Monday of each month.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Celebration of Life
A service celebrating the life of Ken Sparks will be held in the Sanctuary next Friday, April 14th, at noon. The family will receive friends from 10am until the time of the service.
2023 Be More Award Recipients
This week the City of Bloomington announced the recipients of the 2023 Be More Awards, which honor exceptional community volunteers and promote volunteerism and civic engagement in our community. We join the city in offering our gratitude and praise for church members Harold and Brenda Fiscus, recipients of the “Be More Dedicated” award. They are being honored for their lifetime of dedication to the community through their work with Opportunity House. Congratulations, Harold and Brenda! And, thank you for all your dedicated volunteering at First United too!
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Your fellow congregant Lisa Kwong has been selected to give the 2023 statewide keynote for Ivy Tech Community College’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Her speech, “The Complexity of Identity: An AppalAsian Poet’s Journey,” will take place on Wednesday, April 12th, 12-1pm (Eastern Time), on Zoom. A second-generation Chinese American, Lisa will discuss her journey from growing up in Appalachia to becoming a published author. Her experiences illustrate the importance of staying true to oneself despite the expectations that Asians Americans face every day. You may register by clicking here.
First United Scholarships
Thanks to the generosity of several of our families, the church has scholarships available for those who are graduating from high school and for those pursuing higher education in certain fields. There is a general information form that all applicants need to fill out. It also gives information about the requirements for each scholarship. You can find it here. To apply for the Walling/Troxal Endowed Scholarship Fund, an additional form is required; it can be found here. All application materials are due on April 15th.
For more information, or hard copies of these applications, please talk to any member of the Board of Christian Education.
- Derrick Ping Memorial Scholarship: Applicant must be an active participant in the life of First United Church who demonstrates outstanding character through service to the church, community, or his/her family.
- Weigand Family Scholarship: The scholarship is to be used to support college tuition costs of graduating high school seniors at First United Church.
- The Walling/Troxal Scholarship: The award requires a beginning or continuing undergraduate or graduate student be engaged in studies in education or a closely related field. Preference will be given to applicants who are studying the arts in connection with education, are members of FUC, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, are the child of LGBT parents, or are a long-time supporter of/ally to LGBT people.
Newsletter, Announcements, and Congregant Monday Musings Deadlines
Members and friends of First United are invited to prepare a “Monday Musing” to be shared with the wider congregation via email on the third Monday of each month. Many thanks to Lisa Kwong for offering the March “Congregant Monday Musing.” Please contact Pastor Jessica and/or Lisa Stanger if you would like to share your thoughts and ideas through this avenue, and they will help you get it scheduled.
The First News deadline is Monday, April 17th. If you would like to have an article included in the May newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.
And, 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.
One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
One Great Hour of Sharing is a special mission offering of both the American Baptist Churches (USA) and the United Church of Christ. This offering supports disaster, refugee, and development ministries both domestically and abroad. We will collect this special offering during worship on Sunday, April 16th. Click here to learn more about the impact your donations to this special offering make. If you are unable to join us for worship on April 16th, you may contribute by sending a check to the church office or by giving online here (through the UCC) or here (through the ABC-USA).
Sermon Talk Back
This month’s sermon talk back will take place after worship on 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. This opportunity is offered in person only.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will be a joyous celebration of Easter! 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. Sara Cole will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. We will be treated to special music offered by our Children’s Choir and adult Vocal Choir, and Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in singing throughout the service. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Keith Gerber and Phyllis Eads 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.
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
Share Your Favorite Hymns
Pastor Jessica’s invitation to share the hymns that you love, that enrich your faith life, that inspire and comfort you is still open! This invitation is for old-timers, new-comers, and everyone in between, because it is together that we are First United. In addition to sharing the name of your beloved hymns, you are encouraged you to share a bit about why and how they are meaningful to you. Additionally, in your communication to Pastor Jessica, please indicate whether you would be willing to have your first name and last initial shared on the church bulletin board that is already coming alive with your hymn favorites. Share hymns via email, text, or conversation (phone or in person). Or write your hymn on the bulletin board in the hallway. As evidenced the past couple of Sundays, Pastor Jessica is committed to actually providing you opportunities to sing your favorite hymns on Sunday mornings further enriching our experience of worship together.
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 is on hiatus and will resume their regular 6:15pm Thursday evening rehearsals in Roger Williams Hall on April 27th.
Volunteer with Community Kitchen
First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We are going resume volunteering there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our next shift will be on April 20th. This is a good way to build community within and outside of our church. To volunteer this month or subsequent months, contact Laurie Eynon (firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 336-1219); she will sign you up or put you on the call list, whatever works for you. Thank you!
First United Composting
First United Church, through a donation from a member, plans to sign up for a self-serve drop-off composting service provided by Earthkeepers Bloomington Compost. A composting bucket will be kept in the church kitchen to collect leftover food scraps from coffee hour, potlucks, Pizza & Play Fridays, etc. Unlike the typical backyard compost setup, Earthkeepers takes ALL organic waste—meat and dairy included—along with food-soiled paper products like napkins and pizza boxes. If it grows, it goes! Look for future announcements asking for weekly volunteers to take the compost to a nearby drop-off cabinet.
Displaced Immigrant Support Program
When DISP met recently, we discussed whether we are ready to sponsor a new family and agreed that we are. When a new family is assigned to us there will be many new challenges as well as new joys. We need more church volunteers to help as well as additional funds to support new refugees. Funds for the displaced immigrant program are independent from the regular church budget. Do you have a gift of time or treasure that you can share to help a new family feel welcome and gain capability in our community? Contact Dave Meyer (email@example.com) or Hopi Stosberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
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.
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 Sabine Lammers and Emily Mathes 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. Molly Koontz and Lena Stosberg 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.
We have two exciting events coming up to celebrate some milestones at First United Church. The date of the First Baptist Church (ABC-USA) and Christ United Church (UCC) merger for our congregation was on Palm Sunday, April 15th, 1973, and the date that we changed our name from First Baptist Church-United Church of Christ to First United Church was May 18th, 2003. So, we have two great anniversaries to commemorate!
- 50th Merger Anniversary Potluck after worship (entertainment, too!) on Sunday, April 16th (Sunday after Easter)
- 20th Naming Anniversary Potluck after worship (with Songwriting Festival/Sing-along) on Sunday, June 11th (also the date of the Congregational Meeting too!)
Plans are underway, and YOU can be part of making these wonderful events a grand celebratory success! Email or call Rebecca Keith to join the fun: email@example.com or 812-325-0145, you can now sign up for the April 16th potluck here.
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 April 16th (if you would like assistance with transcribing the music or need any other assistance from Eric) or 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.
Nominating Committee Formed
The 2023 Nominating Committee—Mary Peckham and Sam Troxal (Co-chairs), with Barb Clark, Julia Lebeau, Enrico Lunghi, and Michael Shell (representing their boards)—is now meeting. We are prayerfully seeking to fill officer and board vacancies—Vice President and Assistant Treasurer, plus Board of Building & Grounds (1 or 2 3-year spots), Board of Education (3 spots for 1, 2, and 3 years), and Board of Worship (2 3-year spots). 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.
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Cell) (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – email@example.com; 812-332-4439 (Office)
- Eric Meincke, Music Director – firstname.lastname@example.org; 501-837-2708 (Cell)
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – email@example.com
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-325-0145 (Cell)