- 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
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 12/04 & 12/04 evening, 12/11)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 12/11 &12/18)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 12/04 & 12/11)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play
Members,families, and friends are invited to come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area Friday, December 2nd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided for this Pizza & Play time; please let Pastor Jessica know if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all. These gatherings will be offered on the first Friday of each month, so mark your calendars now. And, feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!
Monthly Food Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex. THIS Sunday, December 4th, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need to help with this critical community need during the winter months. As always, all of the collected 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. And, note their special request for meal helpers like Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, Chicken Helper, and Rice-a-Roni.
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. This Sunday, the children will begin in the classroom and then join the rest of the congregation to celebrate communion. They will once again spend some of their time together rehearsing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” in order to sing it during the Candlelight & Carols service (December 4th at 6:30pm) and morning worship next Sunday, December 11th. Many thanks to Noel Koontz and Emily Mathes 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.
In accordance with our newly revised bylaws, a Budget Hearing, during which the 2023 proposed budget will be presented for comment and revision, will be held immediately following worship THIS Sunday, December 4th. All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend. Those joining worship via Zoom will be invited to become “panelists” so they can be seen and heard during the hearing.
Candlelight & Carols
Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our special Candlelight and Carols service THIS Sunday, December 4th at 6:30pm. We embrace the Advent Season with a joy-filled evening of carols and candlelight, readings and reflection, community and cookies. The service will be sprinkled with special music provided by the Choir, the Children’s Choir, and the Bell Choir. As is our tradition of generosity in the celebration of Advent, a special offering will be taken to support First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program as we work together to welcome and provide a circle of support for displaced immigrants. This service will be available virtually through the regular worship link. All are welcome – in person and virtually. Please join us and invite the special people in your life. And, all are invited to bring a dessert to share during a reception following the service.
Community Kitchen Cookie Sale
The Community Kitchen will be selling cookies for $20 per dozen. Orders are due by THIS Sunday, December 4th, and will come with four snickerdoodle, four chocolate chip, and four chocolate crackle. Order at monroecommunitykitchen.com/events.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet next Sunday, December 11th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in at an offsite location and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. We will read and discuss “The Company We Keep” by Frances Itani. Hazzley is at loose ends, even three years after the death of her husband. Hazzley posts a notice on the community board at the local grocery store to start a conversation group. Four people turn up for the first meeting: Gwen, a recent retiree in her early 60s; Chiyo, a 40-year-old fitness instructor; Addie, a woman with a close friend who is seriously ill; and Tom, an antiques dealer and amateur poet who comes to the first meeting hoping cake will be served. The book was published in 2020 and is set in Ontario. Itani is a Canadian writer who has won the Commonwealth Prize and was awarded the Order of Canada which recognizes Canadians who have made a difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in their field. For location, Zoom, or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).
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 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.
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.
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.
DISP – Settling in with our New Family
The Displaced Immigrant Support Program is very excited to have begun sponsor work with our second family. José, Dara, and their daughters join the Bloomington community from Honduras. They arrived in Bloomington in early November and have been settling into their new lives here. Our DISP team has ensured early transition needs are met (like housing, food, and warm clothing) and are working with Exodus to enroll the children in school and acquire the necessary documents, public services, and medical attention. DISP volunteers have brought the family to the grocery store, park, My Sister’s Closet (thanks to Sandy Keller for all her work there), Healing Hands (an outreach of City Church), the public library, and have upcoming plans to attend IU sporting events. While Dave Meyer, Cindy Neidhart, and Keith Gerber were traveling, a huge thank you goes out to the DISP team members for the time they have spent on the initial welcome of this family: Hopi Stosberg, Diana Lambdin, Rebecca Nunley, Rebecca Hoke-McCall, and Dave Edgerton. Opportunities for our wider congregation to get involved and support the effort will be forthcoming, and financial donations to DISP are always welcome and very much appreciated (give via check or online at www.firstuc.org/giving). Please contact Hopi Stosberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This second Sunday of Advent, we will light the candle of Peace. The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit, and she will preside at the communion table. Those gathering in person will be served by Kim Yaussy Albright, Sara Cole, and Lisa Kwong. Those joining worship from home are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the service.
Sara Cole will 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. Keith Gerber and Ted Wininger 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. Fiora Pizzo will provide a beautiful floral arrangement, in honor of her parents Anthony and Patricia Pizzo and our church traditions. Finally, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick 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 at: firstuc.org/giving/
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.
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 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. Don’t have a card? Pick one up from a table near the Sanctuary entrances/exits, in the church office, or by contacting Malissa Sparks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
They are extremely excited to bring People’s Market to our Fellowship Hall and start a new partnership with our church. They encourage all First United members and friends to attend the Saturday markets and/or order from their online CSA for pickup or delivery. 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!
Junior & Senior High Youth Group Co-ops
First United youth (grades 6-12) and their friends are invited to participate in two new 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. On Sunday, December 11th, 5:30-7:30pm, junior and senior high youth are encouraged to gather at First United for a joint Christmas party!
Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 9:30am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Lena Stosberg and Molly Koontz 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 will take 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. Those joining worship via Zoom will be invited to become “panelists” so they can be seen and heard during the meeting.
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 – 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
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – email@example.com; 812-325-0145 (Cell)