- 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 12/25)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 12/11, 12/18, & 12/24)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 12/18)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Quarryland Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert
Join the Quarryland Men’s Chorus this weekend as they try to decide whether it’s more fun to be Naughty or Nice! They will offer a selection of holiday favorites as well as many soon-to-be favorites THIS Saturday, December 10th, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11th, at 3:00pm in our gorgeous Sanctuary. Tickets are available at the door or from a chorus member at $15/adult and $5/student with ID. Our own church president, Rebecca Keith, will appear as a special soloist…is she going to be Naughty, Nice, or a little of both? All who attend will be entertained by the same unique blend of musicality, brotherhood, and mission that has been the hallmark of the QMC for the past 20 seasons.
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet THIS Sunday, December 11th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. They will read and discuss “The Company We Keep” by Frances Itani. For Zoom, or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).
Junior & Senior High Youth Group Co-ops
First United youth (grades 6-12) and their friends are invited to participate in two cooperative youth groups to connect with friends, new and old; engage in a wide range of games and activities; relate faith to actual life (questions welcome!); AND EAT FREE FOOD! This ministry is being offered cooperatively by First United, First Presbyterian, Trinity Episcopal, and St. Thomas ELCA. THIS Sunday, December 11th, 5:30-7:30pm, junior and senior high youth are encouraged to gather at First United for a joint Christmas party!
Additionally, families with youth are encouraged to fill out the following surveys to share your thoughts on the direction this cooperative endeavor should take into the future. Click here for junior high, and here for senior high.
First United’s Drive-Thru Nativity
This Advent/Christmas season, we are once again inviting the Bloomington community (which of course includes all of you!) to drive through our church grounds and hear the biblical Christmas stories anew as we offer a drive-thru nativity experience starting THIS Sunday, December 11th—January 6th. (Contact Mitchell Farmer if you are interested in helping with set up.) Here’s what to expect:
- Enter our drive from Third Street, any time day or night
- Get connected: At the start of your visit scan the QR code (use a QR app or your phone camera). The messages will also be available on our church website through a dedicated link entitled “Nativity 2022.”
- OR Pick up a written copy of the messages from the flyer box before the first stop.
- Stop at each of five scenes featuring memorable moments from the biblical stories about the birth of Jesus.
- Each scene includes a scripture reference, a brief exploration of the biblical story, a familiar carol, and a moment especially for children.
- Drive through as many times as you like and invite your friends and neighbors to stop by as well.
First United very own version of BINGO! is drawing to a close, so be sure to get involved in the life of the church and get your squares covered! Each square contains a way you can be engaged with or serve First United. If you do something listed in one of the squares on your Bingo card, you get to check it off. The game lasts until THIS Monday, December 12th. Turn in your cards to the church office or in an offering plate by Wednesday, December 14th; all returned cards will be evaluated for the most BINGOs and be eligible to receive one of the goody bag prizes. Winners to be announced and prizes to be awarded during the December 18th Congregational Meeting.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Opportunity for Christmas Outreach
The Board of Outreach invites you to consider playing Santa this Christmas by providing gifts for four children from our wider community whose family find themselves in financial need this holiday season. We are happy to partner with Pantry 279—a food pantry conceived, built, and run by 10 Girl Scouts from troop 69-279 in 2015 and housed in Trinity Lutheran Church in Ellettsville—to offer a bit of joy and surprise for this family on Christmas morning. Additionally, we have the opportunity to offer some holiday cheer to our current and previous DISP families. And, you can do just that by choosing a tag or tags (listing a gift requested by the children/family) from the Christmas tree in the Chancel THIS Sunday, December 11th; then return the wrapped gift(s) to the church building by next Sunday, December 18th so they can be delivered before Christmas. Thank you for your generosity!
A DISP Thank You!
Thanks to your generosity, $846.00 was collected through the special offering received during the Candlelight and Carols service last Sunday to support the work of our Displaced Immigrant Support Program now and into the future. Financial donations to DISP are always welcome and very much appreciated (give via check or online here). Opportunities for our wider congregation to get involved and support the settling in of our current family of four will continue to be shared as they develop. Please contact Hopi Stosberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Newsletter and Announcements Deadlines
The First News deadline is Monday, December 19th. If you would like to have an article included in the January newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.
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.
Christmas Eve and A Cozy Christmas
Gather together with your First United family for a celebration of Christmas Eve on Saturday, December 24th at 6:30pm. Encounter the familiar story of Christmas as told in the Gospel of Luke, raise your voice in singing beloved carols, and pass the Christ light from candle to candle. A special offering will be collected to benefit Beacon: Solutions for People in Poverty.
Then, pull on your favorite Christmas sweater or don your holiday pjs, and join your First United family for “A Cozy Christmas” on Sunday, December 25th at 10:30am. Together we’ll share a time of storytelling and song celebrating the joy of community and gift of God’s unbounded love.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This third Sunday of Advent, the Fultz family will lead us in lighting the candle of Joy and teach us a special candle lighting song. The service will also feature the Children’s Choir offering an encore performance of “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit. Sara Cole will once again present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and our wonderful vocal choir will offer their gift of song. 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 and Lisa Kwong 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, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, our worship space will feel a bit more jolly with the addition of poinsettias purchased by various First United members and friends. And, please do remain for a time of connection during Coffee Hour graciously hosted by Mary Peckham.
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
First United Prayer Group
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, once said, “When I pray coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.” In that spirit, a group has formed to study various forms of prayer, from lectio divina to contemplative to intercessory and beyond, and also to practice prayer as a spiritual discipline for faith formation. All are invited to join this prayer group, which will meet in the Chapel, each Sunday morning through December 18th at 9:15am for 45-60 minutes. Please contact Rebecca Hoke-McCall (email@example.com) with any questions.
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, and the bell choir meets on Thursdays at 6:15pm in Roger Williams Hall.
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.
People’s Cooperative Market
First United now houses the People’s Cooperative Market in our Fellowship Hall each Saturday. The People’s Cooperative Market is an intersectional anti-racism farmers market and artisan vendor space that focuses on food justice work. They also operate their own pantry called People’s Open Pantry (POP), a zero-barrier pantry at New Leaf, on Saturdays, 11am-1pm.
Their Saturday markets from now until the new year will be Winter Holiday markets with plenty of artisan goods available for gift giving along with fresh local groceries, hot tamales, pastries and other fresh baked goods, and free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate every week! The market space is a social space where community happens. All are welcome to join on Saturdays in Fellowship Hall, 10am to 2pm!
This year’s Harvest Ingathering was bountiful as donations totaled 487 pounds of food to be distributed by MCUM. Thanks to all who helped by bringing food, to the volunteers who assisted with food drive, and for those who helped with food display and take down. The Board of Outreach thanks all who provided food donations this past month.
Children’s Learning Time
Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 after Children’s Time is offered during the Sunday morning worship service. Many thanks to Ted Wininger and Molly Koontz for leading CLT this Sunday and to Rebecca Keith for organizing the children’s choir. Interested in joining our CLT assistant teacher rotation? Contact Molly Koontz.
Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 9:30am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Jessica McIntosh 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.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Monday mornings 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 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!
Following the December 4th budget hearing, Church Council is taking the congregation’s requests and suggestions under advisement to prepare a final budget to be presented and voted on during our regular Congregational Meeting immediately after worship on Sunday, December 18th. All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend. A quorum of 49 members is required to take action on the budget. Those joining worship via Zoom will be invited to become “panelists” so they can be seen and heard during the meeting.
Growing a Community of Love and Acceptance
This year’s official Stewardship Season came to a close on Sunday, November 20th with a celebratory offering of commitments to financially support First United’s ministries in the upcoming year. We know time can go by more quickly than expected and sometimes we need a bit more time to make such decisions. So, if you have not yet submitted your commitment card, you may do so online at firstuc.online/GROW2022 or by mailing in or bringing your physical card to worship any Sunday. Please contact Lisa if you need a paper pledge card.
While there are many ways to support the congregation, our annual stewardship season provides a chance to think in an intentional and prayerful way about the choices we make with our money in support of the church. Because of YOU, we are growing more fully and wholly into the community of love and acceptance God invites us to be!
2023 Offering Envelopes and Direct Deposit
For those who would like them, offering envelopes are available on a table outside of the Sanctuary entrance closest to the chancel; you are welcome to pick up a box! Alternatively, if you would like to give to the church through direct deposit, please contact Lisa in the office to make sure she knows you would like to give in this convenient way and has your updated information.
Nursery Worker Needed
First United is seeking an additional nursery worker to staff our church nursery on Sundays from 9:30am-12pm. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying, please send a resume or letter of interest to Molly Koontz at Molly.Koontz@yahoo.com.
- 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)