- 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 02/25)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 02/11, 02/18, & 02/25)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 02/25)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Help Ourselves Fundraiser
Help Ourselves Mutual Aid of Bloomington will host a concert and art show in Fellowship Hall this Saturday, February 10th, beginning at 7pm. Help Ourselves engages in outreach with unhoused people in Bloomington. They serve meals at Seminary Park three times each week and gather and distribute clothing, hygiene, and camping items to folks in need of them. Learn more about Help Ourselves here and here.
Conversation with People’s Market
All are encouraged to participate in a conversation with church leadership and representatives of the People’s Cooperative Market immediately following worship this Sunday, February 11th. Last Sunday, Mitchell Farmer shared that our Council and Board of Building and Grounds has been in conversation with the People’s Cooperative Market regarding their request to erect a high tunnel (greenhouse) with hydroponic growing system on the church grounds (near the south parking lot). See Pastor Jessica’s Monday Musings from this week to learn more and plan to participate in the discussion this Sunday as we move forward with this exciting, impactful opportunity with the People’s Market!
Reproductive Justice Webinar
Access to, and discussion of, reproductive healthcare is not only a political concept, it is a religious one. This will be the focus of a special online event, “Changing the Conversation: The Theology of Reproductive Justice,” on Sunday, February 11th, 3pm-5pm, featuring the Rev. Rebecca Todd “Toddie” Peters; register here. Peters will explore the intersection of faith and issues of reproductive justice. This event is a collaboration between the National Setting of the United Church of Christ; Friends Congregational Church in College Station, Texas; the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley; and Texas Impact, a faith-based policy and advocacy organization that includes the UCC South Central Conference among its member institutions.
MCUM Cleaning & Hygiene Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to bring donations of cleaning and hygiene items each time you enter the church building throughout the month of February 2024 as we seek to replenish MCUM’s near empty shelves with these much-needed supplies. Because MCUM’s inventory is so low, many area families must go without them (SNAP benefits do not cover such items). MCUM’s wish list of cleaning and hygiene products includes: Shampoo, Conditioner, Razors, All-purpose cleaner, Wipes, Dish soap, Diapers (sizes 5 & 6), Laundry Detergent, Shaving Cream, and Sponges (they will accept other donations such as toilet paper and paper towels as well; no toothbrushes or toothpaste please). Also, be sure to join us in worship on Sunday, February 18th, as Camden Hill shares about MCUM’s impactful work in our community. Thank you so much for your assistance in meeting this critical need in our community!
Ash Wednesday Worship
Join us for an Ash Wednesday observance on February 14th at 6pm in Roger Williams Hall. We will begin with a simple meal of soup and bread, followed by a contemplative service featuring Taizé music, meditative prayers, and the imposition of ashes. We invite any cooks or bakers to share your talents on Ash Wednesday with an offering of soup or bread (contact Siri Loescher at 317-664-0247).
Serve Meal with Community Kitchen
We volunteer at Community Kitchen of Monroe County on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. You are invited to join us for our next shift this Thursday, February 15th. In addition to serving our wider community, this is also a good way to build relationships within and outside of our church. To volunteer this month or subsequent months click here to access our online sign up or contact Laurie Eynon (email@example.com or (812) 336-1219). Thank you!
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) continues to work with our 3rd refugee family, a brother and sister from Nicaragua (whom you’ve likely met in worship!). This family is presently in need of a blender. If you have a blender you are willing to donate or would like to volunteer your time directly with this new family, which might include assisting with transportation to or from appointments, cultural introductions, and general friendship and fellowship, please let us know. To learn more or to volunteer, please contact Dave Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hopi Stosberg (email@example.com).
New Members Joining!
Our faith community continues to develop and transform as we will welcome new members next Sunday, February 18th, during worship. While all those who participate in the life of First United are welcome and encouraged to engage in the full range of our congregational life together, becoming a member is one way of publicly displaying that commitment between the individual and community, and, don’t forget, it comes with the ability to vote in meetings! 😊 All are encouraged to join us for worship on the 18th to celebrate the growth of our community as we (re)commit to engage in mutual ministry with one another. If you are interested in becoming a member of First United, please contact Pastor Jessica.
Hotels for Homeless
The Board of Outreach recently learned that Hotels for Homeless (for whom we received a special offering last May) was out of funds to provide needed housing for the clients they serve; this is in large part due to offering emergency shelter for over 60 people during last month’s extreme cold (another stint of extreme weather is anticipated in the near future). Responding to this need, the Board voted to contribute $500 of budgeted funds to support this impactful work in our community. If you would like to contribute to Hotels for Homeless, you may do so directly (click here) or through the church (simply indicate “Hotels for Homeless” on the memo line of your check or on your envelope).
Emergency Winter Shelter
Representatives from First United have been participating in conversations with community partners regarding the need for additional shelter to support our unhoused neighbors in times of extreme cold. A meeting of multifaith partners has resulted in a plan to provide night accommodation for about 20 women and elderly men or those with medical challenges in the buildings of First Christian Church and First United Methodist Church when the temperature is predicted to be extremely cold. Any folks who are interested in volunteering to help with set up, clean up, check in, or overnight (approx. 3.5 hour shifts) should email the volunteer coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org to share their interest. In-person trainings for volunteers (lasting about an hour) are scheduled for Thursday, February 15th, 7pm at First United Methodist Church and Saturday, February 17th, 3pm at First Christian Church. A virtual asynchronous training will also be made available.
First United houses the People’s Cooperative Market in our Fellowship Hall each Saturday, 10:00am-2:00pm. The People’s Market is an intersectional anti-racism farmers market and artisan vendor space that focuses on food justice work. All are welcome to attend the Saturday markets and/or order from their online CSA for pickup or delivery; food is always made available to anyone in need.
Two special upcoming market days: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with People’s Market on Saturday, February 10th! Explore their Artisan Gift Market, featuring Valentine’s decorations, a special custom perfume event, hot food vendors, and more. Find the perfect gifts for your special someone! Then on Saturday, February 17th, celebrate Black Excellence at the People’s Market honoring the rich heritage and contributions of Black culture with guest speaker Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, author of “The Vice President’s Black Wife: The Untold Life of Julia Chinn.”
A Word about our Church Directory from Sara Frommer
If you’re lucky, and your information hasn’t changed for years, the new-ish online church directory might have your name and address, phone, email, and birthday. But even if nothing has changed, it won’t have whatever picture the old one had, because all the old ones have disappeared. Because I moved last year, I knew I needed to update my entry. I didn’t know that my new address would be in it but with a mistake.
I called Lisa in the church office during working hours to get the password, which has changed, so it’s not something you can do by yourself on the weekend. You won’t even be able to see what’s already there without that password. Lisa walked me through fixing it, and I had a little fun with the photo I chose.
Be like Sara and update (or activate) your directory entry! Members of First United may access the directory by clicking on “Member Directory” from the “Member Area” drop-down menu located at the top of any page of the church website. Contact Lisa in the office for your sign-in credentials (you are encouraged to change your password after logging in for the first time). Note: The change in passwords and loss of previously-used photos are due to changing our directory provider.
Midweek Lenten Worship
Join us for midweek Lenten services via Zoom (click here) at 5:30pm on Thursdays, February 22nd and 29th, and March 7th, 14th, and 21st. These services will offer worshipers an opportunity to pause in the midst of our busy weeks to reflect with the help of scripture, prayer, and song and to connect with our family of faith.
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; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community, and Noel Koontz offer a Testimony on Transformation as we continue our annual stewardship campaign. Lisa Kwong will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead and provide a beautiful floral display in celebration of Lunar New Year. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and the First United Vocal Choir will offer the gift of special music. Keith Gerber will offer a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary and could use some additional help (sign up here). And, Kyle Hetrick and Dave Meyer will welcome all who join via Zoom as they ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, Ted Wininger will bring refreshments to you in the Sanctuary so you can engage in the conversation with People’s Market after worship.
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
All who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry are encouraged to join our vocal choir and bell choir! No prior musical experience is required, but a foundational ability to read music is recommended. The Bell Choir rehearses on Thursdays, 6:15pm-7:15pm in Roger Williams Hall. And, the Vocal Choir rehearses on Thursdays, 7:30pm-9pm, in the Choir Room.If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Eric Meincke at email@example.com.
Keeping Up with Our Congregation
One of the gifts of being part of a community of faith is that we don’t face the ups and downs and middles of life alone. We invite you to share what is going on in your lives by contacting Lisa Stanger and/or Pastor Jessica so we can appropriately share information (with your permission) with our wider community of care that we might offer our support whatever you may be facing.
You are encouraged to offer your prayers and actions of support for:
- Vicky Keith (Rebecca Keith’s sister-in-law)
- Christopher Meincke (Eric’s brother)
- Michael Shell
- Jeanne and Norm Overly
Acts of Kindness Month Calendar
Our Month of Kindness is in full gear, but it’s never too late to get started! February is a great month to double down (or up) on a commitment to showing kindness to others. Pick up a pink Kindness Calendar outside of the Sanctuary (front or back) or in the church office to get some great suggestions for small things to do each day in February to show kindness to individuals and the wider world. Access the full Kindness Calendar online here. Also, you can view and share via Facebook here to help spread the love even more widely!
The Joy of Hosting
Our Member Relations Committee continues to offer support to weekly coffee hour hosts and encourage everyone to sign up to host—it’s easy, fun, and a great way to serve your church family with a one-time commitment. Sign up as buddies or families, invite someone you’ve been wanting to get to know, use the occasion to showcase a family recipe or try out a new one. Sign up to host by clicking here.
Online Lenten Class on the Historical Jesus
This series of five image-based classes (support the class with a donation as little as $0) will explore the challenge of Jesus, the Mediterranean Jewish peasant, to the evolutionary future of humanity with the world as Titanic and we its iceberg. Watch the pre-recorded video lecture for the week according to your own schedule, and then join Dr. John Dominic Crossan, Dr. Tripp Fuller, and a special guest for the livestream question and answer session each week (recordings will be available after)! Sign up here!
- PROLOGUE CLASS: Jesus’ Theater: Potential Anti-Semitism on Stage and Screen
Livestream Q&A — Tuesday, Feb. 20th @ 2pm
- WEEK #1: Jesus’ World: How is Global Peace to be Imagined?
Livestream Q&A — Tuesday, Feb. 27th @ 2pm, with Special Guest Brian Zahnd
- WEEK #2: Jesus’ Vision: How did Tradition Become Traction in Galilee?
Livestream Q&A — Tuesday, Mar. 5th @ 2pm, with Special Guest Brian McLaren
- WEEK #3: Jesus’ Execution: What Happened That Passover in Jerusalem?
Livestream Q&A – Tuesday, Mar. 12th @ 2pm with Special Guest Dr. Jennifer Garcia Bashaw
- WEEK #4: Jesus’ Vindication: How is that Exaltation to be Imagined?
Livestream Q&A – Tuesday, Mar. 19th @ 2pm with Special Guest – Dr. Diana Bulter Bass
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join members and friends of First United each Monday morning 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 person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we explore “The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity” presented by Dr. Hans-Friedrich Mueller. After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we meet the fascinating, ancient polytheistic peoples of the Mediterranean and beyond, their gods and goddesses, and their public and private worship practices, and come to better understand the foundational role religion played in their daily lives. Previous participation and perfect attendance are not required. Those interested and able are welcome to gather in Roger Williams Hall; those choosing to join online via Zoom can do so here.
Children’s Learning Time
Each Sunday morning, children in kindergarten and up will begin in the Sanctuary with their families and proceed to Room 2 with their adult leads for Children’s Learning Time (CLT) following the Children’s Time. Many thanks to Molly Koontz and Jennifer Fultz for leading CLT this Sunday.
We continue to welcome and encourage additional adults to join our teaching rotation to enrich the program for the kids. Lesson materials and supplies are provided, and we have seasoned leaders to help you get acclimated. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to Molly Koontz, Pastor Jessica, or any member of the Board of Education.
Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Lena Stosberg and Jessica McIntosh will ensure our little ones are safe and engaged in fun activities during worship this Sunday, joining with CLT to meet our Safe Conduct policy. 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.
Transformative Stewardship – Cultivating Hearts, Nurturing Community
Last Sunday, February 4th, we kicked off our annual stewardship campaign, Transformative Stewardship – Cultivating Hearts, Nurturing Community. Throughout the month of February, we will continue talking about the act of making commitments to support our church and community, be it through the contribution of time, talents, or financial resources. The campaign will feature various speakers during Sunday morning worship, mailings (keep an eye out this week!), and other initiatives designed to facilitate thoughtful reflection and foster a spirit of generosity. We’ll offer and bless our commitments for the year ahead on Commitment Sunday, February 25th.
We invite each and every one of you to actively participate in this season of generosity and throughout the year, recognizing that your pledges of time, talent, and treasure play a “key” role in sustaining and advancing the mission of First United Church. Let’s unite in making February a month of collective commitment and positive impact!
Anonymous Online Survey
Please take a moment to complete a very important anonymous survey here.This survey serves as a follow-up to earlier invitations, inviting your involvement in the strategic planning and visioning process for our church’s building and grounds. As a congregationally-led church, your insights play a pivotal role in shaping a collective vision for our faith community. We warmly invite you to contribute to this reflective visioning survey, with the congregation’s Star Word, “Transform,” guiding your thoughts.
2024 Offering Envelopes and Direct Deposit
We are using leftover 2023 offering envelope boxes for 2024. If you used envelopes this year, your number box will not be the same; please look for your name. Envelope boxes are available on a table outside of the Sanctuary entrance closest to the chancel. Whether you’ve used them before or this is your first time, 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.
- 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)
- Mitchell Farmer, Church President – email@example.com; 812-459-3985 (Cell)