- 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 02/12, 02/19, & 02/26)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 02/19)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Reader’s Choice Book Group
The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, February 13th at 1:30pm in the home of Nancy Martin (1047 E Sassafras Cir, Meadowood). The book for this month’s discussion is “Switchboard Soldiers” by Jennifer Chiaverini. If you like to read, come join the group at any or all of its meetings at 1:30pm on the second Monday of each month.
BMA Meet Up
The Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance (BMA) will hold its regular bi-monthly meet up on Wednesday, February 15th, 11:30am-1pm via Zoom (click here to join). Connect with people of faith throughout Bloomington, and hear from Faith 4 Racial Equity (F4RE, a subgroup of BMA facilitated by Pastor Jessica) about racially restrictive housing covenants. A sub-team of the group (including Keith Gerber) has been diligently researching almost 400 Bloomington properties for several months and are ready to share their findings. Click here to access some of their findings, and learn more about BMA on their website here.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Ash Wednesday Worship
Join your First United family as we begin the season of Lent sharing a simple meal and service on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, at 5:30pm in Roger Williams Hall. We will begin with a meal of soup and bread, followed by a contemplative service with Taizé music, meditative prayers, and the imposition of ashes. Additionally, Pastor Jessica will be offering “Ashes to Go” at IU’s Sample Gates earlier in the day, 11am-1pm.
Youth Group Game Night!
First United youth in junior high and high school (grades 5-12) and their friends are invited to come out for a game night with youth from First Presbyterian, Trinity Episcopal, and St. Thomas ELCA. We’ll meet at First Presbyterian (221 E 6th St, Bloomington) on Sunday, February 26th. Junior high youth will gather for food, fun, and connection from 4pm-5:30pm, and high school youth will gather 5:30pm-7pm. Please RSVP to Pastor Jessica by Thursday, February 23rd if you plan to attend and share any dietary restrictions.
A Ministry of Presence
First United is an intergenerational community, and a number of our aging members or those with other health challenges are not able to join us in person for worship or other activities. These members have served the church well over the years, and Pastor Jessica and the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) are seeking your help in now serving them. We envision initiating a visitation ministry offering to share in communion and conversation with these long-time members who continue to be an invaluable part of our community. Interested in sharing your gift of presence in this way? Want to learn more? Contact Pastor Jessica.
A Caring Congregation
We all encounter challenging times in our lives, and your First United family wants to offer you the support you need when those times arise for you. Help us do just that by let us know if you become sick or injured, if you go to the hospital, or if you experience a loss or hardship. Your friends at First United will gladly reach out with a card, a call, or a visit, provide meals for you and your family, or offer care and support in a completely different way that you will find comforting, helpful, and supportive. Health care facilities cannot share personal information with just anyone these days (thank God!), so we will need to hear from you. Not able to make a call or send a note? Ask one of your friends or family members to contact Lisa Stanger or Pastor Jessica to keep us in your loop!
UCC and ABC Earthquake Response
The UCC is issuing an appeal to assist those affected by the devastating earthquake in Syria/Turkey this week. Read more here and find the link to a donation page at the end of the article or click here (designate “International Emergency” using the drop-down menu) to support this response.
The ABC-USA also grieves this tragedy and calls us to support relief efforts though giving to One Great Hour of Sharing. Read more here and click here to give (select “One Great Hour of Sharing” from the drop-down menu).
UCC General Synod Volunteer Opportunities
The 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ will convene in Indianapolis June 30th-July 4th, 2023. Yes, you read that correctly, the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) will host this biennial meeting of the wider church! And, the IKC needs your help to extend an extraordinary welcome to our siblings in faith from across the country and around the globe as they gather together in our home conference. Learn about volunteer opportunities and share your interests by clicking here.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. The service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Michael Shell will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and Sam Troxal will offer the gift of special music. Mary Peckham 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 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. Lisa Kwong will provide a lovely floral arrangement, celebrating love in all its wondrous forms! And, Diana Lambdin will host coffee hour following worship (with a birthday cake for Dara!). Finally, 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 by clicking here
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. The bell choir is on hiatus and will resume their regular 6:15pm Thursday evening rehearsals in Roger Williams Hall on April 27th.
Monthly Sermon Talk Backs
This month’s sermon talk back will take place after worship on Sunday, February 19th. You are invited to head down to Fellowship Hall to grab a drink and a snack and say “hello” to some church friends, and then gather near the fireplace to engage in informal conversation spurred by the day’s sermon. Share with fellow congregants how the sermon connected with you and your life and ask any questions of clarification or curiosity and be enriched by their sharing. Pastor Jessica will be available to address questions, elaborate further on the day’s message, and share additional thoughts she may have had while preparing her sermon. This opportunity is offered in person only.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with 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 Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue to 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!
Children’s Learning Time
Each Sunday, kids in kindergarten and up are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 after Children’s Time during the morning worship service. Many thanks to Molly Koontz and Sandra Meder 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 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Jessica McIntosh 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.
Support Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to some of the organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, February 19th, a special offering will be received to support Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. “The Hub” exists to ensure that all people have access to healthy, whole foods; Megan Betz will share about the impactful work of “The Hub” during worship that morning and join us for informal conversation and questions during coffee hour. Thank you for your generous support of this meaningful ministry!
And, thanks to your support of January’s special offering, our Love Fund now has an additional $588 to serve our neighbors with emergent needs. Thank you!
Women’s Coffeehouse @ First United
First United’s Cindy Stone and Rebecca Keith are partnering with two local women’s groups to put on a Women’s Coffeehouse as a fun way to put the welcome mat out for visitors and prospective church members – especially for our local LGBTQ+ friends. If you’d like to help with the event on the hosting side, email Cindy at email@example.com.
Planning is still in process, yet here are some basics:
- Performers? Invited women from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies; Carolyn Vandewiele from Sparks & WHFB’s Womenspace will Emcee
- Audience? Everyone’s invited — every gender, every age, every sexual orientation, every race/ethnicity, every every!
- What? Women sharing their music, comedy, drumming, and dancing!
- When? Saturday, February 25th, 7:30pm
- Where? Fellowship Hall at First United
- Cost? $5.00 per person at the door (more if you can, less if you can’t), with proceeds being shared only by the church and the performers
Our Honduran Guests
There are many great things happening with the family of Honduran refugees that the church sponsors. The family has moved and is making their new apartment their home. Thank you to all that helped with this move and contributed household goods and furniture! Movement is also being made on the employment front with Dara having started work at McDonald’s, and Jose preparing to start in a custodial position within weeks. Additionally, the kids continue to flourish in school, and the family is growing in social connections and having fun in the community. And, we often see Dara, Jose, Jasary, and Keren in church on Sunday as they enjoy attending our services. This wonderful family is extremely capable. Increasingly the DISP team is offering just guidance on navigating local Bloomington life, and we are preparing to transition from co-sponsorship to friendship.
February Kindness Month
It’s not too late to pick up a Kindness Month Calendar as you recommit to sharing kindness with others. Pick up a hardcopy Kindness Calendar from the bulletin board in the hall outside of the Sanctuary to get some great ideas of small things you can do each day in February to show kindness to individuals and our world. Or, access the full Kindness Calendar online here. And, view and share via Facebook here to spread the love even further and keep an eye out for daily Facebook reminders.
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.
2022 End of Year Finances
The total budgeted income for 2022 is $327,800, and expenses for 2022 total $363,800. This is a $36,000 deficit. Despite operating on a deficit budget for several years, we have often ended the year with a small surplus in income over expenses that could carry over into the next year. This is the first time we have ended with a deficit. We have made some adjustments to the 2023 budget that bring expenses more in line with projected income, but the budget still relies on drawing down the endowment, and there remains much more to be done in order to make our financial situation sustainable. Thank you for your continued support as we work to prioritize expenses and seek new sources of income.
Nursery Worker Wanted
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)