- 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 (needed 08/20)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 08/13 & 08/20)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 08/13 & 08/20)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 08/06 & 08/20)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 08/06)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play TONIGHT!
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, Friday, August 4th, 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.
Happy 100th Birthday to Lora Johnson
Longtime member Lora Johnson will turn 100 on August 5th. If you would like to send Lora birthday wishes, her address is 2320 Covenanter Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401.
First Sunday Food Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on the marked table in the narthex. This Sunday, August 6th, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. As always, all of the collected human 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.
Children’s Learning Time
Children’s Learning Time (CLT) is starting back up this Sunday, August 6th. Each Sunday morning, children age 5 and up will begin in the Sanctuary with their families and proceed to Room 2 with their adult leads following the Children’s Time. Many thanks to Noel Koontz and Sandra Meder for leading CLT this Sunday.
We continue to welcome and encourage additional adults to join our teaching rotation to enrich the program for the kids. Lesson materials and supplies are provided, and we have seasoned leaders to help you get acclimated. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to Molly Koontz, Pastor Jessica, or any member of the Board of Education.
Members and friends of First United are invited to gather for fun and fellowship as the Kersten family hosts a Back-to-School Sunday Funday on Sunday, August 13th, 2pm-4pm. Gather at the Kersten’s home for lots of fun and games and be prepared to get wet as they will open up their pool! (Bring your swimming gear and sun protection.) Please RSVP to Pastor Jessica by Thursday, August 10th, if you think you’ll attend so she can give the family a good idea of how many they’ll be hosting. Their address is 4140 West Estate Court, Bloomington. See you there!
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Meal Train for Sam Troxal
Our church family member Sam Troxal is recovering from a successful colon cancer surgery. His daughters are keeping a close eye on him and have set up a meal train for Sam. Please click here for more information.
Blessing of the Backpacks
All those who are beginning a new school year this August are invited to bring their backpacks to worship next Sunday, August 13th, as we bless the backpacks and, more importantly, the bearers of those backpacks during the service.
Pastor’s Pop Quiz Correction
In the August First News, Pastor Jessica asked: Which of the 14 letters regularly attributed to Paul do scholars believe were actually written by him? When the first response came in, she realized she’d made a typo! There are actually only 13 letters traditionally attributed to Paul, though he is also a prominent character in the Acts of the Apostles. Sorry for any confusion as you are getting to know your Paul!
Volunteer with Community Kitchen
First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We currently volunteer there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our next shift will be on August 17th. To volunteer for this month or subsequent months click here to access our online sign up or contact Laurie Eynon (email@example.com or (812) 336-1219). Thank you!
Monthly Sermon Talk Backs
Our next sermon talk back will take place after worship on Sunday, August 20th. 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.
Special Offering for Stone Belt
Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, August 20th, a special offering will be received to support Stone Belt, and Carole-Anne Hossler, who has been involved with Stone Belt for a very long time—as a parent of a special needs son and as an advocate and board member—will join us in worship to share about their powerful work. Stone Belt supports thousands of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, helps them to positively impact the community in myriad ways and serves as a leader in the field.
First United will be participating with a booth at Bloomington Pride on Saturday, August 26th. Volunteers are needed for 1-hour segments (keep an eye on upcoming email announcements for how to sign up) 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!). Contact any member of the Board of Outreach with questions.
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 Emily Mathes for offering the May “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.
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.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This first Sunday of the month, we will gather at God’s welcome table and celebrate communion together. Note: Communion elements (bread and wine/juice) will be served in the pews for those gathering in the sanctuary; online worshipers are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of the service. Kim Yaussy Albright and Sara Cole will serve those gathering in person (sign up here to help).
The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; and she will offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Kim Yaussy Albright will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Michael Shell will lead us in song, and Emily Mathes will offer special music. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Dave Meyer and the Koontz family will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. 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
Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals
All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. Both choirs will resume rehearsals in late August: Vocal Choir in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm and Bell Choir in Roger Williams Hall on Thursdays at 6:15pm.
The choirs don’t work for you? All those who are musically inclined are encouraged to offer your gifts of music during worship as special music. Please contact Eric Meineke or Pastor Jessica to arrange your special musical offering.
Covenant Group Revival!
Are you looking for a space where you can connect with others from First United and explore topics that interest you? Do you have a topic in mind that you would be interested in exploring with others in a small group? MeRC is reviving Covenant Groups (est. 2013) and is looking for 1-2 people or couples interested in hosting a monthly small group, beginning in September. Hosts can determine the best day and time for their group, and the topic/theme that interests them (or consult with Pastor Jessica for ideas!). Molly & Noel Koontz will be hosting a monthly Covenant Group geared toward families with kids and are happy to answer any questions you may have about hosting. Please contact Molly Koontz at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15th if you would be interested in hosting or have questions. More information about group topics and schedules will be forthcoming!
Mark your calendars and join us for First United’s Welcomefest 2023 from 11am-2pm on Saturday, August 19th. We’ll be offering food, fun, and fellowship to our wider Bloomington community and to one another. Additional details (including opportunities for volunteering and donations) forthcoming. Check out our virtual flyer here on Facebook and share, share, share!
The Joy of Hosting
We continue to offer support to weekly coffee hour hosts and encourage everyone to sign up to host—it’s easy, fun, and a great way to serve your church family with a one-time commitment. Sign up as buddies or families, invite someone you’ve been wanting to get to know, use the occasion to showcase a family recipe or try out a new one. Sign up to host by clicking here.
Displaced Immigrant Support Program
Our DISP team continues to await notification from Exodus regarding our next family sponsorship. When a new family is assigned to us there will be many new challenges as well as new joys. 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? If so, you may give anytime by designating your gift as “DISP” or online here. If you’re considering joining the DISP team, please contact Dave Meyer (email@example.com) or Hopi Stosberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get connected and learn more.
First United’s Feminist Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet after worship on Sunday, August 13th in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom to discuss “The Change” by Kirsten Miller—a suspenseful story with great pacing, memorable characters, and an engaging voice. This is fierce anthem against misogyny featuring three very different women who discover that middle-aged changes bring a whole new type of empowerment. One of the women is dealing with a life in an empty nest, another is watching her lucrative career and marriage implode, the third is an unhappy business executive—until each woman realizes she has the ability to channel her menopausal changes and discover newfound magical powers. Mysteries ensue and using their new talents the three women take matters into their own hands in this feel-good, supernatural, witchy drama. A Good Morning America book club pick. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, email@example.com.
“Poverty, by America” Book Read
First Unitedis offering a reading group focusing on Matthew Desmond’s “Poverty, by America” as a part of the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity book read on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (August-October) at 12pm-1pm. Though the group began meeting via Zoom (click here to join) on August 3rd, new participants are still welcome. The schedule is as follows: August 17th (Chapters 1 & 2—The Kind of Problem Poverty Is & Why Haven’t We Made More Progress?); September 7th (Chapters 3 & 4—How We Undercut Workers & How We Force the Poor to Pay More) and 21st (Chapters 5 & 6—How We Rely on Welfare & Howe We Buy Opportunity); and October 5th (Chapters 7 & 8—Invest in Ending Poverty & Empower the Poor) and 19th (Chapter 9—Tear Down the Walls & Epilogue).
Does First United’s book group not work for your schedule? Additional faith communities will be leading book groups as well that will meet at different times and in different modalities and will be open to all. Choose the one that works best for you!
- 5:30pm-6:30pm on Tuesdays,August 15th and 29th, September 12th and 19th, and October 10th and 17th. Contact Ruth Aydt (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested.
- will offer a group meeting via Zoom at 7pm-8pm on Wednesdays, September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, and October 4th and 18th. Contact Ellen Mills (email@example.com) if interested.
- will offer an in-person group at 6pm-7pm on Mondays, September 25th, and October 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd. Contact Sue Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join 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
You are invited to join us in person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we explore the final six sessions of a 36-session adventure exploring “The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch” presented by Dr. Molly Worthen. After a time of informal conversation, we engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the story of Christianity as it transformed from the end of the Middle Ages into the diverse global religion of today. On Tuesday, August 8th, we will explore “Prophetic Religion in Modern Africa.” Previous participation and perfect attendance are not required. Those interested and able are welcome to gather in Roger Williams Hall; those choosing to join online via Zoom can do so here.
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.
As of June 30th, total income is at $168,000 or 52% of budget. Total expenses are at $163,000 or 46% of budget. Cash flow has become decent enough that we have been able to resume regular giving from the Outreach budget. Beyond the budget, in June, we raised $891 for our church’s own Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP), and in July, we raised $503 for First United’s Love Fund. As always, we are so very grateful for all who thoughtfully give as they are able to the church’s operations and mission!
Online Directory Available!
An online church directory is available for all members of First United! You may access the directory by clicking on “Member Directory” from the “Member Area” drop-down menu located at the top of any page of the church website. Contact Lisa in the office for your sign-in credentials (you are encouraged to change your password after logging in for the first time).
- 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
- Mitchell Farmer, Church President – email@example.com; 812-459-3985 (Cell)