Candlelight & Carols Service: Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 6:30 PM | Christmas Eve Service: Friday, December 24, 2021 at 6:30 PM

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday Morning Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am (10am Log in). This Sunday’s service will feature Derek Roe, M.Div. in the pulpit and two special music offerings from Section Leader Ashlyn Brown and Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai.

Zoom Meeting Link:

https://zoom.us/j/94635708633?pwd=NE9CdGtTWk5ndGRzRnQ2TTVrQmlZZz09

Meeting ID: 946 3570 8633

Password: 879535

The service is posted late Sunday afternoon at: https://vimeo.com/firstunitedchurch

Candlelight and Carols

Light your candles and prepare to attend our special Candlelight and Carols service.

Sunday, December 13th at 5:00pm on Zoom (link below)

During Advent 2020, it is gift to experience both the familiar and the new. This service will combine readings, musical offerings and prayers that invite you to once more consider the inbreaking of God through the birth of Jesus. Special music will include:

• Special prelude and postlude by Hansol Kim on organ

• Choir hymn arrangement of Harold Darke’s In the Bleak Midwinter sung by our section leaders with Hansol Kim on organ

• Special piece by the Bell Choir arranged by Andy Fak

• Violin solo by Anna Raphael

• Virtual choir project with First Presbyterian’s choir featuring Rollo Dilworth’s arrangement of Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

A special offering will be taken to benefit My Sister’s Closet.

While we will not all be physically together, the candlelight from each of our houses combined with music and reading will make for a warm, meaningful evening. Please make sure to join us, and invite the special people in your life.

The service will be recorded and be available on First United’s Vimeo channel later Sunday evening.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/94635708633?pwd=NE9CdGtTWk5ndGRzRnQ2TTVrQmlZZz09

Meeting ID: 946 3570 8633

Passcode: 879535

Dial in: +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799

First United’s Drive-Thru Nativity

Imagine the innumerable ways the Christmas story has been shared over the last 2,000 years. In 2020, we are inviting the Bloomington community to drive through our church grounds and hear the story anew – safely from their car – December 13th thru January 6th, anytime! Here’s what to expect:

• Enter our drive from Third Street, any time of the day or night

• Get connected: At the start of your visit scan the QR code (use a QR app or your phone camera) or load firstuc.online/nativity in your phone’s web browser.

• OR Pick up a written copy of the messages from the flyer box before the first stop

• Stop at each of five scenes featuring key moments from the biblical stories surrounding the birth of Jesus.

• For each scene, you will have a scripture reference, a brief exploration of the biblical story and familiar carol. Each scene will also have a moment especially for children.

• Deepen your experience by listening to a short meditation by First United’s Senior Minister Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai.

• Drive through as many times as you like, and invite your friends and neighbors to stop by as well.

Midweek Advent Services

Short services (15-20 min) with readings, prayers, and music to help you focus on the coming of Jesus into the world. Two opportunities for each week’s themes:

  • Outdoor In-person in the courtyard Wednesdays @ 12:30pm (Dec 16 & 23)

Masks required, singing only by soloist

  • Sign up at:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090F49AEAB28AAF58-midweek

  • Zoom Service Thursdays @ 5:30pm (Dec 17)

Enjoy from the comfort of home. Tune into the FirstUC Zoom channel: https://zoom.us/j/94635708633?pwd=NE9CdGtTWk5ndGRzRnQ2TTVrQmlZZz09

Meeting ID: 946 3570 8633                       Password: 879535

Blue Christmas Service
While the holidays are meant to be a joyous time of year, we often find ourselves at our most low and vulnerable during the holidays. All are welcome to join in an evening of prayer and lament during the Blue Christmas service presented by the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC).
When: Friday, Dec. 18th at 7:00pm
Where: on Zoom (prior registration is required)
To register or for more information: https://ikcucc.org/events/ikc-blue-christmas/

Christmas Eve Virtual Service

Mark your calendars and plan to celebrate Christmas Eve with your First United family and friends on Thursday, Dec 24th @ 5:00pm. A special offering will be collected to benefit The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (www.poorpeoplescampaign.org).

CONNECTION AND CARE

Reaching Out by Mail

The Committee on Community Development would like to encourage you to reach out to church friends. How about sending a Christmas card through the mail? Let folks know you miss seeing them or just send a day-brightener greeting.  

Need a directory? Contact Lisa in the office: info@firstuc.org or (812-332-4439) to request a printed or e-mailed copy of the directory.

If you need ideas of who might really enjoy receiving snail mail, contact Laura Kao (Team Cards) or Sarah Burton (Ministers of Care): laura_b_kao@hotmail.com or burtonsp@indiana.edu

Hanging the “Paper” Greens

People of all ages are invited to create paper chains in lieu of traditional greens. Choose paper that is meaningful to you (or in need of recycling), and feel free to write your prayers on them. Chains will be accepted through December 18th and hung before each Sunday’s service. Zoom in Sunday morning to see how far our chains have reached!

Drop off: Look for a long plastic box outside under the drive-thru portico entrance to the Narthex.

Pick-up of chains: If you need your chains to be picked up and delivered, contact Siri Loescher at sannloescher@gmail.com

First United’s Special COVID-19 Fund Applications

If you have a relationship with First United Church, you may apply for assistance for economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact Sharon McCann at 1041sharon@gmail.com for an application form and instructions to apply for Covid-19-related assistance.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS

Off-Topic Scripture Circle (formerly Lectionary Discussion)

Want to read and discuss the week’s scripture readings with friends before church in a casual setting where you will never be asked to leave your brain or your heart at the door? We have the place for you! Click below to join us, Sunday mornings 9-10am.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84002403978?pwd=N0sxS093T1JobkVxTVVGRlFBdVUwUT09

Meeting ID: 840 0240 3978

Password: 122688

Tuesday Virtual Café and Adult Discussion

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join us at 10:00am each Tuesday for conversation and a weekly adult discussion group led by Derek Roe. The group is currently exploring the video series Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad presented by Prof. Mark Muesse. We hope to see you there!

Discussions range over many topics, and it’s a great way to keep in touch with church friends during social distancing. We’ll end somewhere between 11:30 and noon.

1.  From your laptop or desktop computer https://zoom.us/j/309686166?pwd=OVZ2VXFUSDV6R2IwM0xTMTd4TEVCdz09 OR

2.  From your landline telephone or cell phone: (253) 215-8782 then enter the Meeting ID: 309 686 166# Password: 399499

UPDATES ON FIRST UNITED OPERATIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Deadlines for Announcements and Newsletter

If you would like an announcement included in this weekly church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday prior to its release.

If you would like to contribute an article to the January edition of “First News,” please send your information to Lisa by Friday, December 18th.

Upcoming Office Closures

The church office will be closed December 21st-25th due to Lisa Stanger’s vacation days and the Christmas holiday. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai or Mary Peckham if you need assistance during this time.

“Bring Forth” Stewardship Drive

While our 2021 Stewardship Pledge Drive officially wrapped up in November, helping us formulate our 2021 budget going forward, pledges and giving are gratefully accepted year-round. You can give by two methods, returning a pledge card, or pledging online using this link: https://tinyurl.com/1stUC21pledge  We are grateful for your support at any level, and hope to hear from everyone in the congregation. 

Rev. Petersen-Mutai’s Contact Info

You may have heard that someone has created a fake gmail email account claiming to be Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai. Please do not respond to any email that seems to be sent from her asking for “a favor.” The matter is being addressed, and you may once again contact her by email at revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org or by phone/text at 812-727-4414.

From the COVID-19 Task Force

Sunday church services and most meetings will continue virtually through at least December. The Task Force met on November 10th and with current conditions, advises no changes.

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT!

Virtual Christmas Concert

Former longtime member Susan Nelson, now in Atlanta, invites all those seeking more opportunities to hear the music of the season to tune in to a virtual concert. Join The Atlanta Master Chorale virtually on December 11th at 7:30pm for a full broadcast of their 2019 Christmas concert “Where Music Touches Spirit” https://www.youtube.com/atlantamasterchorale.