- – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- – Mondays @ 10am; Join Zoom Meeting here
- – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- cripture Reader sign up – Click here
- – Click here (needed 12/24, 12/25 & 01/01)
- – Click here (needed 01/01)
- – Click here (needed 12/25 & 01/01)
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All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend our regular Congregational Meeting THIS Sunday, December 18th at 11:40am (immediately after worship). The proposed 2023 budget will be presented for consideration, comment, and approval by the congregation; see the Council approved budget proposal by clicking here. A quorum of 47 members is required to take action on the budget. Due to many holiday gatherings taking place at this time, we understand that you may not be able to join us for this important meeting in person. If this is the case for you, you are strongly encouraged to join via Zoom at 11:40am (via the regular worship link here); any participants who join via Zoom will be invited to become “panelists” so they can be seen and heard during the meeting. To see the proposed 2023 budget click here
Opportunity for Christmas Outreach
Thank you to all who took up the Board of Outreach’s invitation to play Santa this Christmas by providing gifts for our current and previous DISP families and four children from our wider community whose family find themselves in financial need this holiday season (through Pantry 279). If you did take a tag or tags from the Christmas tree in the Chancel, please return the gift(s) (wrapped or not; if wrapped, please be sure the tag with the recipient’s name is visible) to the church building by THIS Sunday, December 18th so they can be delivered before Christmas.
If you are interested in buying some warm pants for a 6-year-old boy, please contact Hopi Stosberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let her know, and she will get you details. Also, there are some other (helpful but not essential) gifts that could be gotten in support of our 279 family or our DISP families, so if you wish to do a little extra gifting cheer, please let Hopi know and she can hook you up! Thank you again for your generous support!
Let’s Play BINGO!
All returned cards have been evaluated for the most BINGOs! Winners will be announced, and goody bag prizes will be awarded during this Sunday’s December 18th Congregational Meeting.
First United Prayer Group
Due to illness our Sunday morning prayer group will not meet this Sunday. Thank you to those who took part in this exploration and joined together in praying for our congregation and its members and friends over the past several weeks. And, thank you to Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall for facilitating this group.
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.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Church Office Closed
The church office will be closed December 26th through January 2nd due to vacation and holiday time off. Please contact Pastor Jessica if you are in need of emergency assistance during that time. Please get any announcements you would like included in the December 30th email and January 1st bulletin to Lisa by Wednesday, December 21st.
Consider Indoor Masking
Due to the rise in respiratory illnesses at this time, all who gather in the church building are encouraged to consider voluntarily masking and maintaining distance in an effort to keep one another safe and healthy. Vaccination continues to be strongly recommended.
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. We will not meet December 26th or January 2nd.
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. We will not meet Tuesday, December 27th. See you there!
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This fourth Sunday of Advent, Lewis and Patty Williams will lead us in lighting the candle of Love. Additionally, the service will also 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. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and our wonderful bell 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, Keith Gerber, and Lisa Kwong will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, 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. Alice Myers will provide a beautiful floral arrangement, wishing a happy birthday to her great granddaughter Adelyn Faith Myers. And please do remain for the Congregational Meeting following worship followed by a time of connection during Coffee Hour graciously hosted by Hopi Stosberg and the Gutierrez family.
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
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.
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 last Sunday, December 11th—January 6th. (Contact Mitchell Farmer if you are interested in helping with set up.) Here’s what to expect:
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 houses the People’s Cooperative Market (an intersectional anti-racism farmers market and artisan vendor space that focuses on food justice work) in our Fellowship Hall each Saturday. 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! And, this Saturday’s market will include an appearance of Black Genderqueer Santa!
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 (email@example.com) with any questions
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 Rebecca Keith 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 9:30am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Emily Mathes 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.
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)