- 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 03/19)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 03/05 & 03/12)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 03/12 & 03/19)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
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 or Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Jenn Cristy (singer, songwriter, & pianist), Kara Barnard (multi-instrumentalist, singer, & songwriter), Different Drummer Belly Dancers (Dancing Differently for 20 Years), Gail Fairfield (spoken word author & writer), and Rebecca Keith (soloist and director of the Women’s Coffeehouse Choir); with Emcee Carolyn Vandewiele (WHFB’s Host of Womenspace)
- Everyone’s invited — every gender, every age, every sexual orientation, every race/ethnicity, every every!
- Saturday, February 25th, 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm)
- Fellowship Hall at First United
- $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
And, here’s how you can help:
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.
Pizza & Play
Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play on Friday, March 3rd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ll enjoy a time of informal, unprogrammed fun and fellowship in Fellowship Hall and surrounding areas, both inside and out (weather permitting). As the name implies, pizza, drinks, and dessert will be provided, so please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, March 2nd if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all and account for any dietary needs.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
First Sunday Food Drive
Next Sunday, March 5th, the Board of Outreach encourages you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need and place them on the table in the Narthex. 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 for rice or other dry pasta, tuna helper or similar, Jiffy mix, saltine crackers, and cereals. Thank you for your donations to meet ongoing community needs.
Living the Questions 2.0
Many people know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer humanity. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a “thinking” Christian and that “salvaging” Christianity is a hopeless task. For those looking for an opportunity to think and talk through some of these challenges and develop a deeper, more nuanced faith in the process, Pastor Jessica invites you to join together in “Living the Questions” this spring. We will use “Living the Questions 2.0: An Introduction to Progressive Christianity” (LtQ2), a video-based resource with accompanying readings and discussion questions that invites participants to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but may have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.
While LtQ2 offers three “flights” consisting of seven sessions each, we’ll begin our journey of exploration and conversation focusing on Flight 1: Invitation to Journey. Aided by well-respected religious voices from throughout the church, including John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Yvette Flunder, Amy-Jill Levine, and John B. Cobb (find the full list here), we’ll consider how we can take the Bible seriously but not literally; challenges faced by Progressive Christians in the world today; and how we speak about, understand, and experience God and more! If this sounds at all intriguing to you, please contact Pastor Jessica by Sunday, March 12th, and let her know you’re interested; she will follow up with everyone who expresses interest to determine a schedule that will work well for all. Learn more about ”Living the Questions 2.0” here.
First United Songwriting Festival
Do you love First United? Do you love music? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then have we got the opportunity for you! First United will host a songwriting festival this spring in celebration of two important church anniversaries: April 15th will mark the 50th anniversary of First Baptist Church and Christ United Church officially joining together (this was Palm Sunday in 1973), and May 18th will mark the 20th anniversary of the name change of First Baptist Church-United Church of Christ (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) to First United Church (in 2003).
Help us celebrate these milestones as you put your love of First United into song. Maybe you’ll take a favorite tune and give it new First-United-inspired words, or perhaps you’ll feel inspired to write a completely original song music and all. Not sure about taking this on alone? Ask a First United friend or two to partner with you! And, don’t forget to call on the great musical resources we have in so many talented members and friends of our faith community including but surely not limited to our Music Director, Eric Meincke.
So, what about timing? It would be great to have submissions in by mid-April (a firmer date is TBD) so that Eric can offer any assistance needed and the choir can start learning the songs in preparation for a performance event in mid-May (again exact date TBD). That is when we will venture to join our voices together in singing these creative expressions in celebration of First United’s history and anticipation of the days yet to come.
Any questions? Feel free to contact Eric Meincke or Pastor Jessica. We hope you’ll have fun writing these songs that speak to the essence of who we are and what we are about as First United.
A Joyful Path
First United will begin using a new curriculum for Children’s Learning Time as we enter the season of Lent. Intended to be inspiring for adult leaders and children alike, “A Joyful Path” celebrates compassion for all, the wisdom within, and a joy-filled life. Using the Bible, sacred texts, and wisdom stories from around the world, “A Joyful Path” helps children learn how to follow the path of Jesus in today’s world emphasizing behavior over belief, teaching reverence and gratitude for this life, and supporting children to find their own inner wisdom and to connect to the Spirit and God Within All. The decision to make this change in CLT curriculum was made in consultation and conversation with parents/guardians, CLT leaders, and the Board of Education. Find out more about “A Joyful Path” 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. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and the First United Vocal Choir will share a special musical offering. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Emily Mathes and Kenny Yebei and the Koontz family will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Jim and Marge Faber will provide a lovely floral arrangement, in memory of their son Eric Paul who passed away at the age of 13 in 1972. Finally, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, don’t forget to stick around for coffee hour following worship hosted by Sara Cole and Rebecca Keith.
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.
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 Ted Wininger and Jennifer Fultz 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 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.
UCC and ABC Earthquake Response
The UCC has issued an appeal to assist those affected by the devastating earthquake in Syria/Turkey this week. Read more here and click here to donate via Global H.O.P.E. 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).
Volunteer with Community Kitchen
First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We are going resume volunteering there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our first shift will be March 16th. This also a good way to build community within and outside of our church. To volunteer next month or subsequent months, contact Laurie Eynon (email@example.com or (812) 336-1219); she will sign you up or put you on the call list, whatever works for you. Thank you!
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 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.
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.
- 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)