- 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
- Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 02/05)
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 02/12 & 02/19)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 02/19)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 02/05)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play TONIGHT
Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play TONIGHT, February 3rd, 5:30pm-7:30pm even if you did not RSVP to Pastor Jessica. 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.
First Sunday Food Drive
THIS SUNDAY, February 5th, the Board of Outreach encourages you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. Place your donations in and around the colorful box (decorated by CLT kids) 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 like 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.
February Kindness Month
Join us for Valentine Card Making THIS SUNDAY: supplies will be provided so people of all ages can make Valentines cards to give to friends and family. You can make cards for the various beloved ones in your life. Contact Hopi Stosberg with any questions.
Pick up a Kindness Month Calendar: February is a great month to recommit to kindness to others. Pick up a Kindness Calendar to get some great ideas of small things you can do each day in February to show kindness to individuals and our world. Access the full Kindness Calendar here. And, view and share via Facebook here to spread the love even further and keep an eye out for daily Facebook reminders.
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet THIS Sunday, February 5th at 12pm (a change from the regular second Sunday timing) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. We will read and discuss “A Study in Scarlet Women” by Sherry Thomas, an NPR Best Book of 2016. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
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.
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. 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!
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.
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:
- Invited women from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies; Carolyn Vandewiele from Sparks & WHFB’s Womenspace will Emcee
- Everyone’s invited — every gender, every age, every sexual orientation, every race/ethnicity, every every!
- Women sharing their music, comedy, drumming, and dancing!
- Saturday, February 25th, 7:30pm
- 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
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 (link will be shared soon). 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.
Our Honduran Guests
There are many great things happening with the family of Honduran refugees that the church sponsors. We often see Dara, Jose, Jasary, and Keren in church on Sunday as they enjoy attending our services.
The big news is the family’s move. They have been staying at Cindy and Dave’s apartment for the last three months. The “old” apartment is managed as transitional housing for refugees – it is where DISP prefers to have families start out because it is furnished and comes with utilities and wi-fi. By the end of this week, with the help of church volunteers and Exodus, the family will move to a two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment near Park Ridge. This will minimize school changes and allow them to continue to walk to shopping and church. Thank you to all that helped with this move and contributed household goods and furniture!
Meanwhile, Dara has started a job at McDonald’s. DISP is helping Jose, who is still waiting for delayed paperwork, look for a custodial position. The kids are enjoying their schooling and doing well but are sometimes caught up by the erratic MCCSC bus transportation system.
DISP has been helping the family with all things medical. We have helped them locate eye doctors, primary care physicians, pediatricians, and dentists. We have also helped them setup a bank account. The family is extremely capable and increasingly we are offering just guidance on navigating local Bloomington life.
In fun stuff, José has joined an indoor soccer team that is organized by the church’s own Martin Mutai. Martin reports that José is an asset to their team; he scored a hat-trick in their latest game! We have gotten bicycles for three of the family members and are still looking for one for Keren, the youngest. The family regularly attends IU Women’s Basketball games with Hopi and others. Please join us in wishing the family well in their new home.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This first Sunday of the month, we will gather at God’s welcome table and celebrate communion together. Note: Communion elements (bread and wine/juice) will be served in the pews for those gathering in the sanctuary; online worshipers are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of the service. Kim Yaussy Albright, Sara Cole, and Lisa Kwong will serve those gathering in person.
The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Phyllis Eads will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and our fabulous bell choir will share their beautiful gift of music. Rebecca Keith 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 Molly and Noel Koontz will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Barb Clark will provide a lovely floral arrangement, dedicated to her late mother, Dale Clark, whose birthday would have been February 1st. Finally, Jim True and 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, and the bell choir meets on Thursdays at 6:15pm in Roger Williams Hall.
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 Sandra Meder and Sabine Lammers 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.
The Board of Outreach is seeking someone interested to serve on the MCUM (Monroe County United Ministries) board. The board meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday at 11:30am. Our church provides regular food donations and financial support. If you are interested, please click here to learn more and complete their application process.
Share Your Time & Talent
In this new year, please consider how you can share your time and talent with First United. We appreciate everyone who completed a Time/Talent survey in November. If you have yet to complete it, paper copies of this survey will be at church Sunday, or you can complete the online form here. Contact Hopi Stosberg with questions.
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 Finance Update
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 Needed
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)