• 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, March 3rd, 12pm; Join Zoom meeting here
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed for 03/06 and 03/13)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


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).

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.

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.

In-Person Activities Resume!

We were ecstatic to once again join together in person for worship and the various activities we so enjoy coming together to engage in starting last Sunday, February 20th. We continue to require masking and distancing while in the church building, 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) is once again being offered in person in Room 2 with Ted Wininger and Rebecca Keith serving as this week’s teachers, and nursery care for our youngest ones will be provided by Katie Silvester and Molly Koontz. See you soon!

Introduction to Process Theology

The final gathering of the group exploring “Process Theology: A Basic Introduction” by C. Robert Mesle will be held this Tuesday, March 1st, 6pm-7pm. We’ll read and discuss Chapters 17-18 and meet via Zoom (click here).


Displaced Immigrant Support Program

Our sponsored Afghan family is starting to move beyond achieving the basic necessities of life in the U.S. (addressing health needs, learning banking and shopping, managing school and daycare needs, etc.). the congregation’s help is needed with the shift to higher-value assimilation areas. In addition to renewing the request for members to converse with the family in English, the DISP team has started to help Ahad prepare for the job market. We have learned that he has over 10 years of progressive experience working at a major medical device and products manufacturer in Afghanistan. Ahad also holds the equivalent of an Associates of Science degree from an Afghan health institute.  As Ahad transitions from his intensive study of English over the next few weeks he needs employment assistance. There are two clear job needs for Ahad: 1) volunteers who can conduct practice job interviews to prepare him for real interviews and, of course, 2) identification of job contacts in the Bloomington medical manufacturing and health sciences community. Are you a manager with interviewing experience? Would you be willing to help us by conducting practice interviews with Ahad? Do you have contacts at the major medical technology firms in Bloomington? We need these job contacts to get Ahad through the door for consideration. If you think that you can help please let Dave Meyer (DISP Chair; dwm@davemeyer.org) know so that he can work to coordinate that support – whether it is English language conversation, interview practice or through sharing of job contacts.

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.

Congratulations, Dedric!

Dedric Dennist, our very own Web Content and Media Coordinator, is a recipient of a 2022 Outstanding Black Leader of Tomorrow award presented by the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males. Dedric will receive the award during Bloomington’s 18th Annual Black History Month Gala this Saturday, February 26th, beginning at 6pm. More information available here. Congratulations, Dedric!

Lent Madness Starts Thursday! 

All are invited to participate in Lent Madness 2022, a unique and somewhat absurd Lenten devotion that is as fun as it is meaningful. The absurdity comes in the format of a tournament-style, single-elimination bracket in which 32 saints (from biblical stories to modern times) are pitted against each other as they battle for the “Golden Halo.” Each weekday (plus one Saturday) from the first Thursday of Lent (March 3rd) to the Wednesday of Holy Week, two saints “face off” against each other. During each 24-hour period, Lent Madness participants learn about the lives, legends, quotes of both saints and then vote online for who they want to advance to the Saintly Sixteen, then the Elate Eight, then the Faithful Four, and ultimately for who wins the entire tournament and earns the “Golden Halo.” Winners from prior tournaments have included well-known figures like Harriet Tubman, Mary Magdalene, and Florence Nightingale, but also less-known saints like Anna Alexander and George Herbert.

How to get involved:

  • Visit www.lentmadness.org to find the saints’ biographical information and vote. Voting takes place daily, and you can vote as frequently or infrequently as you like, and it’s all free.
  • If you would like to discuss your votes, the bracket, or just take a deeper dive into the lives of the fascinating people featured, you’re invited to join the “Lent Madness at First United Church!” Facebook group here.
  • If you would like your own booklet with information on the saints and a full-color bracket, a limited number are available in church Narthex (get them before there gone!).
  • Stay tuned for Lent Madness updates in upcoming email announcements through the season of Lent (March 6th-April 17th (Easter)).

For more information, talk to Pastor Jessica or Kyle Hetrick. 

Sermon Talk Backs

Beginning Sunday, March 6th, Rev. Petersen-Mutai will preach a 7-part sermon series in which she will explore the last week of Jesus as depicted in the Gospel of Mark. Throughout the season of Lent (we will not have a talk back on Easter Sunday), those gathering in person will have the opportunity to talk about what they’ve heard with a moderated discussion on the sermon following the worship service each week. Thanks to Byron Bangert and Rebecca Hoke-McCall for facilitating these conversations!

Famous Chamber Music Work Performed Here!
String players of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and pianist Diane Rivera will perform Schubert’s Quintet known as “The Trout” or Friday, March 11th at 1:15pm in our sanctuary. This is a rare opportunity for music lovers. Free and open to the public.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club continues to meet after worship (12noon) on the second Sunday of the month in Roger Williams Hall face-to-face and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. As always, we welcome new members to visit as a guest. We are women who have a lively discussion for about an hour as we read recent fiction “by women, for women or about women.” Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us. For March 13th, Karen Johnson has picked 1992 historical novel “Jazz” by the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison. It takes place in Harlem during the 1920s; however, as the pasts of the various characters are explored, the narrative extends back to the mid-19th-century American South. For Zoom information or more information about the book club, contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

Reader’s Choice Book Group

All are invited to join the Reader’s Choice Book Group on Monday, March 14th, 1:30pm when the group will discuss “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a novel by Delia Owens. It’s the story of a young girl who is abandoned by her mother, then her father, and struggles to live alone in the rugged coast line region of North Carolina. Known to the locals as the “Wild Marsh Girl” she is suspected of foul play when a popular young man is found dead. The group will meetat the home of Nancy Martin (1047 Sassafras Drive; Meadowood). Come and join us!

Food Drive for Humans and Pets

Mark your calendar: Another drive-up/drop-off food drive for humans and pets! Saturday, March 19th, 10am-2pm. Join us to help make a difference for those in our community who are in need.

Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) focuses on providing short-term emergency food for people in need, while also working with them on long-term goals and priorities. Area 10 Agency on Aging supports seniors and those with disabilities, enabling them to keep their cherished pet companions by assisting with pet food donations when their owners are in need.

When shopping for human food, MCUM recommends purchasing items that you or your family would enjoy. You can also consider buying things that would be needed together, for example – purchase spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, or peanut butter and jelly, soup and crackers. Currently, the most needed items are

  • Reusable/Cloth Bags
  • Canned Meat (Tuna, chicken, beef)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dried Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Cereal
  • Ready to eat soups / chili / pasta
  • Canned vegetables (carrots, greens, potatoes)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Checks made out to First United (with “MCUM” for human support or “Area 10” for pet support in the memo)

Area 10 Agency on Aging accepts pet food of all types, dry or canned, large bags and small. Dry food is okay if it has been opened, so long as it is still usable. They also accept pet treats. See you on March 19th! Thanks in advance! Your Outreach Board


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 always, beautiful music will be led by Sam Grace and Hansol Kim, and we welcome back our vocal choir as they offer a special music piece. Malissa Sparks will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Dave Meyer and Molly & Noel Koontz 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 memory of their son Eric Faber on what would be his 63rd birthday. 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


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!


Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click hereon 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!


Job Opportunity!

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 (info@firstuc.org) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. Thank you for your help!

Technology Upgrades

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.

Announcements Deadline

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.

Contact Information