- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Thursdays @ 5:30pm; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 08/21 and 8/28)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 08/28)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Church Potluck & Leadership Retreat
Join with church friends and family for a church-wide dinner potluck at 5pm THIS Saturday, August 13th. Prior to the potluck, 12pm-4pm, all members of our standing boards and Church Council are invited to engage in a Leadership Retreat as we learn, grow, and look at our future together. The wider congregation is then invited to bring dishes to share or a personal picnic beginning at 4:30pm, and we will sup together at 5 o’clock. Hope to see you there!
Upcoming Mission Moments
Be sure to join us for worship this Sunday, August 14th, when Lesa Hofferth will join us for worship to share about the important work of Area 10 Agency on Aging, whose food pantry is located in our building. Then, next Sunday, August 21st, our own Sandy Keller, founder and director of My Sister’s Closet, will offer brief comments during worship regarding their powerful work and then offer a more in-depth exploration and a time for questions in a session after worship (gather in Roger Williams or join via Zoom by staying on the Zoom webinar); we will also take up a special offering for My Sister’s Closet during the service that day. You won’t want to miss these wonderful opportunities to learn more about two important organizations that we continue to support in a variety of ways as a congregation (including a portion of our Outreach budget).
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet on this Sunday, August 14th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. The book for this month’s discussion is “Once There Were Wolves” by Charlotte McConaghy. A novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands. Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska. Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. The wolves surprise everyone by thriving. Part mystery and a message for our times on the challenges of our environment; it is the story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves in the wild that was once her refuge. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (email@example.com).
Coffee Hour THIS Sunday
You are invited to join together for conversation and light refreshments after worship this Sunday, August 14th. Many thanks to Mary Peckham for serving as this Sunday’s Coffee Hour host (a helper is still welcome!).
All are invited to consider hosting one of our bimonthly coffee hours after worship on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Food, drink, and serving supplies are provided by the church, though hosts are free to supplement items if they wish. Clear instructions regarding setup/cleanup and guidelines for serving snacks are posted in the kitchen and will be emailed to each volunteer. Click here to sign up to volunteer to host Sunday, August 28thor a subsequent Sunday. Your Member Relations Committee thanks you for considering this act of service—supporting this fellowship opportunity is meaningful, does not demand a lot of time, and can be kept very simple.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Our Afghan Guests
There is great transportation news for the Arman family! Since the family doesn’t own a car or and no one has a driver’s license, transportation for the father (Ahad) to his work on the west side of town has been very difficult. The church solved this commuting issue with the purchase of an electric bike that is being “rented” (loaned) to the family until better transportation can be found. The Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) team will (re)use the e-bike into the future.
In further good news, Ahad passed the BMV written driving test, after several attempts. The BMV does not offer the test in Dari so he had to take it in English. Now, Ahad will be able to get a driver’s license in six months after driving practice.
The family is moving on Friday, August 26th to a new apartment. The DISP team is also moving the pile of home goods in Fellowship Hall to Exodus for use with other refugee families at the same time. We need your help! If you can help by lifting some boxes or moving some box springs on that date, please contact Dave Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org). We need some younger and stronger folks to help with this important milestone.
Ways to Support Recovery Efforts in Eastern Kentucky
While the Disaster Ministry of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) focuses on long term recovery, they invite church to be a part of the immediate response by sending financial donations. Please do not send any items at this time; warehouses can become overwhelmed with items they do not need. Financial contributions are best at this point in the recovery as the funds can be disbursed to the areas needing help and used to provide the greatest need at any given time. Also, the funds will help the communities recover from the economic strain they are experiencing.
Here are some options to make financial donations shared by the Disaster Ministry of the IKC:
- Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
- If you go to the ikcucc.org website, there is also an option to donate through PayPal. See this website for donation instructions. If you go this route, please designate “IKC-Kentucky Recovery Fund.” to the “Add special instructions to the seller” note field.
One of our congregation members also shared a list of resources to assist flood victims in Appalachia. You are invited to consult the list here.
Reader’s Choice Book Group
During their August meeting, participants shared a variety of books to explore over the course of the year ahead. The books selected for the coming months are: “The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland” by James Madison for September 12th and “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” by Mitch Albom for October 10th. 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.
First United will be participating with a booth at Bloomington Pride on Saturday, August 27th. Volunteers can sign up for 1/2-to-1-hour segments online click here or on a sheet located in the church narthex. Volunteers are needed for set-up at 12noon, for clean-up at 8pm, and to talk with folks at the booth from 1:30pm-8:00pm. Our table will be under a tent to provide protection from the weather (rain or shine!). For questions or further information, contact co-chairs Keith Gerber or Kim Yaussy Albright, or any member of the Board of Outreach. Please consider representing First United as the opening, welcoming, and affirming congregation we are!
Seeking a Musical Mind
First United has received applications from some excellent candidates in our search for a new Music Director. After holding multiple interviews, we are now moving forward with in-person auditions. We’ll keep you posted on when these will occur as you are invited to come to sing with the choir or to observe and offer your feedback. Please contact Mary Peckham, Rachel Caswell, or Pastor Jessica with any questions.
Sermon Talk Backs
Our monthly sermon talk backs, during which worship participants are invited to remain after the service for a moderated discussion on the sermon to discuss what they heard and what questions remain, will make a glorious return in August! Beginning on Sunday, August 28th, we will once again offer folks an opportunity to engage in these rich conversations with one another and Rev. Petersen-Mutai one Sunday each month. In-person participants will gather in Roger Williams Hall, while online participants can simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar (you will be made a panelist so you can be seen and heard).
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. In addition to a Mission Moment by Lesa Hofferth of Area 10 Agency on Aging, this Sunday will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message for the young and young at heart. Sara Cole will once again present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. And, the incomparable Hansol Kim will lead us in song 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, Ted Wininger, and Emily Mathes (and Kenny, of course!) will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dave Meyer will welcome all who join via Zoom. Sam Troxal will provide a beautiful floral arrangement in memory of Donovan Walling. Finally, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Looking forward to worshiping with you!
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
Do the Dash! – Global Ministries Mission Dash 5K
Did you know that if you “Do the Dash” you can help olive tree farmers in Palestine plant more trees? “Dashers” can also assist people in five coastal villages of Bangladesh find a way to grow food, despite the growing amount of saline in their soil, a byproduct of rising seas. These are just two projects that the Global Ministries (a joint witness in mission between the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ) Mission Dash 5K will help fund through participation in the August virtual event focusing on climate justice. You are invited to “Do the Dash” by completing a 5K anytime in August — and in many ways. Learn more and register to “Do the Dash” here.
Members and friends of First United are invited to gather for fun and fellowship Sunday, August 21st, 2pm-4pm (and the third Sunday of each month). Plan to join us for Sunday Funday as we come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area. A light snack will be available for each Sunday Funday. Feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!
BMA Faith for Racial Equity
You are invited to join the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity (BMA F4RE) committee for their regular meetings on Thursday, August 25th, 12pm-1pm (and the second and fourth Thursdays of each month). Click here to join the meeting on Zoom. The committee is currently focusing their work on 1) assembling a map of Bloomington’s whites-only properties and neighborhoods in order to visualize just how much housing in Bloomington was once whites-only by policy and 2) connecting with Monroe County schools and their Parent-Teacher Organizations to address resource disparities. Please contact Pastor Jessica if you are interested in getting involved with this important work as she is the current facilitator of the BMA F4RE committee.
CLT and Nursery Care
Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 during the last half of the Sunday morning worship service. Many thanks to Noel Koontz and Mary Peckham 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. Lena Stosberg 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.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we embark on the final third of 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 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.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
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 in an effort to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.
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 (email@example.com) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. While the hiring team has received materials from a number of applicants, none have yet seemed to be the right fit. Thank you for your help!
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – email@example.com
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – email@example.com; 812-325-0145 (Cell)