- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Intro. to Process Theology – Tuesdays (thru 03/01), 6pm; Join Zoom Meetinghere
- Racial Justice Lunch & Learn – Thursday, February 17th, 12pm; Join Zoom meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here (needed for 02/27 and 03/06)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed for 02/27 and 03/06)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed for 02/27 and 03/06)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
In-Person Activities Resume!
We are ecstatic to once again be able to join together in person for worship and the various activities we so enjoy coming together to engage in starting this Sunday, February 20th. We will continue to require masking and distancing, and those not able or comfortable gathering in person are welcome to join worship via Zoom (see above and below for the link). Children’s Learning Time (for children 5 years and older) will once again be offered in person in Room 2 this Sunday with Ted Wininger and Mary Peckham serving as teachers, and nursery care for our youngest ones will be provided by Katie Silvester and Lena Stosberg. See you soon!
Monroe County United Ministries
Be sure to join us for worship this Sunday, February 20th, as we extend a warm welcome to representatives from MCUM to First United. Mary Jean Holwager, MCUM’s Development Director, and Madison Silvers, MCUM’s Outreach Director, will join us for morning worship to share briefly about their essential ministries and then offer a more in-depth exploration and a time for questions in a 45-minute session after worship (gather in Roger Williams or join via Zoom by staying on the Zoom webinar). You won’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity to learn more about this important organization that we continue to support in a variety of ways as a congregation (including a significant portion of our Outreach budget).
Undies for MCCSC
Members and friends of First United are invited to join with those from other local churches to provide underwear and sweatpants for children and adults facing emergency situations. Donations of all sizes of underwear and sweatpants will be received in a collection box (located in the Narthex) now through February 28th. Trinity Episcopal will take all donations to Monroe County school (MCCSC) social workers who will distribute the clothing to various schools as needed. You may also donate by using one of these links: Target and Amazon (anything ordered on these links will be sent directly to Deacon Connie at Trinity Episcopal).
Newsletter and Announcements Deadlines
The First News deadline is this Monday, February 21st. If you would like to have an article included in the March newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.
If you would like an announcement included in next week’s church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday before.
Introduction to Process Theology
The next gathering of the group exploring “Process Theology: A Basic Introduction” by C. Robert Mesle will be held this Tuesday, February 22nd, 6pm-7pm. We’ll read and discuss Chapters 14-16. All meetings are held via Zoom (click here) on Tuesdays, 6pm-7pm (thru March 1st).
NEW THIS WEEK
Displaced Immigrant Support Program
Our sponsored Afghan family is doing well. Ahad has nearly completed his first 7-week term in IU’s intensive English program. Daughter Heela loves her kindergarten class at Rogers-Binford Elementary School, and son Emraan is enjoying his preschool experience twice per week. Brishna is settling in and enjoying her Afghan cooking and baking in their cozy apartment. Soon, Ahad will begin looking for work and will benefit from any employment contacts that he can make through First United Church. Now that the family is getting their basic needs met, they are reaching out to our church family to improve their spoken English and socialization. Last week, Marge Steiner met the family with a DISP team member for an hour of friendly conversation. If you’d like to spend an hour as part of a “conversation enrichment pair,” please let Dave Meyer (DISP Chair; firstname.lastname@example.org) know so that he can schedule it.
And, of course, your financial support is greatly appreciated and continues to be needed. A special giving section on the church donation page has been set up as one way to give; click here to access it. Individuals may also write checks to First United with “DISP” in the memo line. Please contact Dave Meyer for more information or to express your interest in helping.
Climate Change Webinar
The ABCRGR Creation Collaborative is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, February 24th, 7pm, “Climate Change, Creation Care, and Environmental Justice,” with guest speakers from Green the Church, an organization standing at the intersection of the Black Church and Environmentalism. Information, speaker bios, and online registration can be found here.
Get Your Ashes Here!
First United will host a brief service of worship in the Chapel as we begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, 6pm. The service will include a time for prayer, the reading of scripture, and the imposition of ashes.
If you are not able to join the evening service and would still like to receive the ashes, Pastor Jessica will be offering “Ashes to Go” with progressive Christian colleagues (through a newly formed partnership, The Open Table Collective) at Sample Gates, 11:30am-1:30pm.
COVID Memorial Installation and Service
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Bloomington welcomes the community to experience the COVID memorial installation set up in their sanctuary. The installation seeks to make tangible the enormity of loss experienced throughout the continuing pandemic acknowledging the over 900,000 lives lost to COVID in the US alone. You are invited to contribute to this installation made up of rolls and rolls of paper with numbers written 1000 at a time by requesting a roll and instructions with what number to begin with and when to end; contact Pastor Jessica if you are interested.
Additionally, a multifaith COVID memorial service will be hosted at the UU Congregation (First United is involved in the planning) on Wednesday, March 23rd, 6:30pm as we mark two years of living in a global pandemic.
Prose Reading and Book Launch for Lisa Kwong
You are encouraged to show your support for our own Lisa Kwong as she is featured during an upcoming First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic and launches her forthcoming book Becoming AppalAsian. The Writers Guild at Bloomington is presenting the prose read and open mic on Sunday, March 6th, 3pm-5pm at Morgenstern’s Bookstore (849 S Auto Mall Road). Lisa will be reading new work-in-progress and previewing prose poems from Becoming AppalAsian. Susan Lepselter will also be a featured reader. Come early to sign up for Open Mic!
And, mark your calendars for the official book launch presented by Ivy Tech Bloomington Library on Thursday, April 21st, 7pm-8:30pm at the Ivy Tech Bloomington Ferguson Academic Building (Main Campus; Library D123; 200 Daniels Way). Register here. Lisa will be reading selected poems from her new book Becoming AppalAsian published by Glass Lyre Press.
Hats off to My Sister’s Closet!
My Sister’s Closet was the recipient of the inaugural Act of Change Award (2022) presented by the IU NAACP for the tremendous work they continue to do in our community. The award was graciously received by Founder and Executive Director of My Sister’s Closet and First United member, Sandy Keller. Congratulations on a well-deserved acknowledgement!
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; she will also offer a special message for the young and young at heart. As mentioned above, we will also have a special mission moment from MCUM representatives. As always, beautiful music will be led by Sam Grace and Hansol Kim, and Maisah Outlaw (accompanied by Hansol Kim) will offer a special music piece. Eric Metzler will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Lewis Williams, Keith Gerber, and Malissa Sparks will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, and Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. A beautiful floral arrangement will be provided by Marge and Jim Faber in thanks for the opportunity to worship and see fellow worshippers through Zoom. And, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible.
Thank you for continuing to mask and maintain distance as we seek to keep everyone safe while joining together in person for 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 at: firstuc.online/donate
A Death in Our Church Family
Donald Smith, beloved father of Donna Smith and grandfather to Jack Smith Wildman, died on Saturday, February 5th. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Coloma Friends Church, 1511 N. Midway Road, Rockville, IN 47872. We send our love and sympathy to Donna, Jamie, Jack and all of Donald’s family and friends.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue our new 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation.
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 would like to gather in person can do so in Room 6 and those who would like to participate virtually can join via Zoom here. See you Sunday morning, 9am-10am!
Racial Justice Lunch & Learns
These lunch & learn conversations take place via Zoom (click here) on the first and third Thursdays of each month, 12pm-1pm. We are currently 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. Participants should read chapters 7 and 8 for the March 3rd gathering.
First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (email@example.com) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. Thank you for your help!
First United Website Member Area
Dedric Dennist is working hard to update the member area of our website and keep it secure for our community’s use. Part of this process involves deleting the previous profiles that were created on the platform, so you may receive an email notifying you that your profile was deleted. Do not fear! As soon as the member area set up is complete, you will receive instructions for how to log in and set up a new account. More info soon to come!
We are moving forward with the technology upgrades project approved by our congregation. If you would like to contribute to the funding of this technology project (we are seeking to raise $25,000 in total), you may do so by mailing in or dropping off a check with “A/V project” or “Technology upgrades” in the memo line. Thank you to those who have already donated to this project.
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – email@example.com
- Sam Grace, Music Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – email@example.com
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-325-0145 (Cell)