Based on the latest Monroe County data and weighing the impact in our local community, all church activities, including worship, will be offered online only. We hope to return to in-person activities on Sunday, February 6

QUICK LINKS

  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning & Evening Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am and Sunday, December 19 @ 6pm (Longest Night Service); Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here (no meeting 12/28/2021)
  • Drive-Thru Nativity – December 19-January 6; Click here
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
  • “Rooted in Love” Online Pledge Card – Click here
  • Afghan Refugee Donation Sign Up – Click here

DON’T FORGET

Help Head Start Families Have a Happy Holiday!

Thank you to all who took a tag or more from our Head Start Christmas tree! Please wrap and label gifts and bring them to the church office by this Sunday, December 19th or place them under the tree when you come for worship. Your generosity is very much appreciated!

Community Longest Night Service

This Sunday, December 19th, at 6pm, we will hold a hybrid Community Longest Night Service (click here to join via Zoom webinar). We will welcome members of the Bloomington community to join us in our sanctuary for a service of prayer, reflection, and remembrance planned and facilitated by folks from First United, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Bloomington, First Presbyterian Church, and Canterbury House (IU’s Episcopal campus ministry). There will be music, silence, and meditative activities as we hold space for those who are grieving this time of year.

First United’s Drive-Thru Nativity

This Christmas season, we are once again inviting the Bloomington community to drive through our church grounds and hear the Christmas story anew as we offer a drive-thru nativity experience December 19th—January 6th. You are welcome to drive through anytime during the season; access the messages, scriptures, and music online by clicking here. Please Contact Mitchell Farmer if you are interested in helping with set up.

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

Kentucky Tornado

The Indiana-Kentucky Conference Disaster Preparedness and Response Ministry Team (IKC DPRMT) has been involved in frequent meetings with the KY Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) as they assess the situation in KY following deadly storms. Mayfield and Bowling Green have been hit hard, and the IKC team is gathering information about how we can help in those and other areas. To prepare the team to act, you are invited to donate to the IKC DPRMT. Click here to donate through PayPal. Where it says, “Add special instructions to the seller,” please type in “DPRMT” so your donation gets to the right people.

Transitions

We are grateful for the ministry that Derek Roe has provided to us and our children at First United Church. He will be leaving his position with First United Church at the end of January and moving on to new opportunities. We celebrate with him as he transitions into his next stage of ministry and offer our heartfelt prayers and support. We are also beginning our search for a new Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries and would appreciate the congregation’s input. Please complete this form to help the Board of Christian Education and the Hiring Committee in this process. Thank you! You may also access the form from the following web address: https://forms.gle/TXzhvN8fqr5aeDEG7

Displaced Immigrant Support Program

There are still tags on the refugee support tree (listing clothing items, sizes, and the ages of the children) located in the Narthex; please stop by to pick a tag or two. While clothing is not for Christmas, it would be helpful to have everything donated by December 26th (as we anticipate the family will arrive that week). Clothing and food needs will be ongoing so there will be opportunities to donate in coming months. For other household items, please click here to view the online sign-up sheet. Items can be deposited on tables in the Narthex and near the Fellowship Hall entrance on Sunday mornings or dropped at the church office during office hours (M-F, 9am-12pm; 1pm-4:30pm). Larger furniture items can be stored in Fellowship Hall behind the newly set-up brown partitions, if needed. Please text or call Cindy Neidhart at 812-322-7375 if you have any questions.

Financial support is also needed and appreciated. A special giving section on the church donation page has been set up as one way to give; click here to access. Individuals may also write checks to First United with “DISP” in the memo line. The Christmas Eve special offering has also been designated by the Board of Outreach to provide funding for this program.

Also, because the Afghan family we will be welcoming is already working with Exodus (based out of Indianapolis), we will partner with Exodus to resettle the family here in Bloomington rather than working through the State Department’s Support Circles program. We are appreciative of the additional support Exodus will offer our congregation as we begin this meaningful program. Please contact Dave Meyer (DISP Chair; dwm@davemeyer.org) for more information or to express your interest in helping.

Office Closures and Vacation

The church office will be closed for regular hours while Lisa Stanger is away on vacation Monday, December 20th through Friday, December 24th and on Monday, December 27th (Christmas holiday observed). Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai should you need assistance during that time. If you would like an announcement included in next week’s church email, please have your item to Rev. Petersen-Mutai by noon on the Tuesday before.

Mark Your Calendars: Food Drive!

Plan now for another food drive on MLK weekend, Saturday, January 15th from 10am-2pm. You are welcome to continue bringing food donations to church and place them on the food pantry shelf by Fellowship Hall kitchen. We’d love to have a record-breaking food drive at the start of 2022 as representatives from MCUM will be with us during worship on Sunday, January 16th. Please consider how you can help us reach that goal!

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit, a message from Derek Roe, M.Div., for the young and young at heart, and beautiful musical offerings from Hansol Kim. The Fultz Family will lead us in the lighting of the fourth Advent candle (the candle of love), and Emily Caldwell will offer a special reflection on love. Marge Steiner will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Laurie Eynon, Keith Gerber, and Dave Meyer will offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary, and Dedric Dennist will greet those joining us via Zoom. The floral arrangement is provided by Fiora Pizzo in honor of Anthony and Patricia Pizzo. And Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible! For those with hearing challenges, please remember to pick up an audio pack in the Narthex as you enter the Sanctuary.

Thank you for continuing to mask and distance while in the church building as we find our way through this continuing pandemic and keep the most vulnerable among us safe! The full Reopening Policy can be accessed here. Any questions or concerns regarding the policy should be addressed to the Church Council.

Join the Zoom Webinar by clicking here

Dial-in number: (312) 626 6799; Webinar ID: 828 3681 0281

The service will be posted on Monday afternoon on First United’s Vimeo channel (where you can access all of our previous worship services).

Donate online at: firstuc.online/donate

Christmas Eve Worship

Mark your calendars and plan to celebrate Christmas Eve with your First United family and friends on Friday, December 24th at 6:30pm. Join us in person or via Zoom (or later through Vimeo) as we encounter the familiar story of Christmas as told in the Gospel of Luke, raise our voices in singing beloved carols, and once again pass the flame from candle to candle. A special offering will be collected to benefit our Displaced Immigrant Support Program.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS 

Children’s Learning Time

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to a time of learning, fun, and crafts during the last half of the service. The kids will go to Room 2 with their teachers right after the Children’s Time during the service and may be picked up there (or on the playground, weather permitting) by their adults at the close of worship. Masks and distancing are required. Safety (in general, but specifically regarding the pandemic) is our top priority. Guardians are welcome to visit the classroom! Please note there will be no CLT on Sunday, December 26th, and children are invited to remain in the sanctuary for the duration of the service, which will be full of Christmas music and a message to engage worshipers of every age.

We would love to have a few adults interested in helping with the classes sign up to help teach on a rotating schedule to enrich the program for the kids. If you are interested but have questions, please reach out to any member of the Board of Education or Derek Roe.

Books for Your Christmas List!

We’ll be offering two new book-based educational offerings at First United starting in January 2022.

  1. In an effort to become more accessible to our congregation members and friends, our Racial Justice Book Club will shift its meetings to the first and third Thursdays of each month, 12pm-1pm after the start of the new year. These lunch & learn conversations will take place via Zoom and focus on exploring “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee as we participate in the Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity (BMA F4RE) spring 2022 book read.
  2. Additionally, as a follow-up to Rev. Petersen-Mutai’s brief introduction to Process Theology offered this past summer, First United members and friends are invited to read and discuss “Process Theology: A Basic Introduction” by C. Robert Mesle. Gatherings will be held via Zoom on Tuesdays, 6pm-7pm (January 11th thru February 22nd).

Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai if these titles don’t show up under your tree, and you would like help purchasing a book.

Off-Topic Scripture Circle

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! Those who are interested and able to gather in person are invited to gather in Room 6, and those who would like to join us online via Zoom can do so here. See you Sunday morning, 9am-10am!

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Our Tuesday morning group is over halfway through a 12-session video lecture series: “History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon” led by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. This study focuses on how the books of the New Testament were selected and passed down to us as scripture. Join us in person or online at 10am-11:30am each Tuesday for a time of informal conversation followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. Previous participation not required. For those interested and able to gather in person, we’ll be in Roger Williams Hall; those wanting to join online via Zoom can do so here. The group will not meet Tuesday, December 28th.

CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

2022 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 Care Available and Help Needed
Young children (under age 5) are welcome to spend time on Sundays from 9:15am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Our paid caregivers are in the process of being re-certified for CPR and First Aid. Masks are required indoors for all nursery workers, volunteers, and children over age 2 (see the latest church COVID policy for details). One of our paid caregivers has had to resign from the position, so we are currently in search of another qualified adult to add to our staff. Derek Roe is the contact person for nursery scheduling and questions and may be contacted at faithformation@firstuc.org.

Contact Information