Based on the latest Monroe County data and weighing the impact in our local community, all church activities, including worship, will be offered online only. We hope to return to in-person activities on Sunday, February 6

QUICK LINKS

  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning & Evening Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Drive-Thru Nativity – through January 6; Click here
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here (needed for 01/09 and 01/16)
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed for 01/09, and 01/16)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed for 01/09, and 01/16)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
  • Afghan Refugee Donation Sign Up – Click here

DON’T FORGET

New Year’s Eve Games and Gathering

Calling all church family and friends to Fellowship Hall for games and community gathering this Friday, December 31st from 3-5pm and/or 7-9+pm! The plan is to play board and card games and enjoy each other’s company as we bid farewell to 2021 and prepare to greet 2022. This event will be refreshment-free (hence the dinner break), and we welcome masked families and individuals during either or both time slots. The church has a good stock of games, but if you have a favorite, feel free to bring it along. Speaking of bringing things, bring a friend too! We hope to see you there. Contact hopi@stosberg.com with any questions.

First United’s Drive-Thru Nativity

This Christmas season, we are once again inviting the Bloomington community to drive through our church grounds and hear the Christmas story anew as we offer a drive-thru nativity experience now through January 6th. You are welcome to drive through anytime during the season; access the messages, scriptures, and music online by clicking here.

Transitions

We are grateful for the ministry that Derek Roe has provided to us and our children at First United Church. He will be leaving his position with us at the end of January and moving on to new opportunities. We celebrate with him as he transitions into his next stage of ministry and offer our heartfelt prayers and support. We are also beginning our search for a new Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries and would appreciate the congregation’s input. Please complete this form to help the Board of Christian Education and the Hiring Committee in this process. Thank you! You may also access the form from the following web address: https://forms.gle/TXzhvN8fqr5aeDEG7.

Racial Justice Lunch & Learns

Our Racial Justice Book Club will begin meeting on the first and third Thursdays of each month, 12pm-1pm after the start of the new year; with our first meeting this Thursday, January 6th. These lunch & learn conversations will take place via Zoom (click here) and focus on 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. The reading schedule for January is: January 6th—Introduction and January 20th—Chapters 1 & 2. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai if you would like help purchasing a book.

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

Food Drive

The Board of Outreach will hold another food drive on MLK weekend, Saturday, January 15th from 10am-2pm. You are welcome to continue bringing food donations to church and place them on the food pantry shelf by Fellowship Hall kitchen. We’d love to have a record-breaking food drive at the start of 2022 as representatives from Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) will be with us during worship on Sunday, January 16th to share about the many and various ways they serve and empower the most vulnerable in our community. Please consider how you can help us reach that goal!

Card Making Craft Day

The Member Relations Committee will host a card making craft day on Sunday, January 16th after worship to make Valentine cards. Whether or not you want to make congregational Valentines (sign up here by January 30th to volunteer), other cards for family or friends, or simply want to hang out and talk to each other, please join us for this fellowship opportunity! If you have questions, please contact Hopi Stosberg at hopi@stosberg.com.

Service of Installation

The First United Community is invited to the overdue installation ceremony of our Senior Minister, Reverend Jessica Petersen-Mutai, on Sunday, January 16th at 3:00pm in First United’s Sanctuary (also accessible via Zoom webinar). In the life of the church, the Installation Ceremony marks the formal relationship between the minister and the congregation. Traditionally the installation serves as a celebration and recognition of the transition from a period of discernment (the interim period), and into a new chapter for the church. 

The service is cohosted by First United and the Southeast Association of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ. Our UCC Conference Minister, Rev. Chad Abbott, and our Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches-Rochester Genesee Region, Rev. Dr. Sandra DeMott Hasenaur, will offer a joint sermon and deliver the charges to the congregation and the minister.  We hope you can join us for this service and celebration.

PLARN Mats

The “PLARN Mats” group will meet at 1:30 on Monday, January 10, in Rogers Williams. PLastic bags will be cut to make yARN (hence, PLARN) from which water-resistant mats are crocheted, and completed mats will be given to Shalom Center for distribution. Many hands are needed for this easy project, so please come. Knowing how to crochet is not a prerequisite. 

Office Closure

The church office will be closed on Monday, January 3rd (New Year holiday observed). You may contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai in case of emergency.

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, a special message for the young and young at heart from Derek Roe, M.Div., and beautiful music led by Sam Grace and Hansol Kim. Keith Gerber will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. We are in need of ushers to offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary (sign up here), and Dedric Dennist will greet those joining us via Zoom. The floral arrangement is provided by Norm Overly (in celebration of Jeanne’s 90th birthday). And Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible! For those with hearing challenges, please remember to pick up an audio pack in the Narthex as you enter the Sanctuary.

Thank you for continuing to mask and distance while in the church building as we find our way through this continuing pandemic and keep the most vulnerable among us safe! The full Reopening Policy can be accessed here. Any questions or concerns regarding the policy should be addressed to the Church Council.

Join the Zoom Webinar by clicking here

Dial-in number: (312) 626 6799; Webinar ID: 828 3681 0281

The service will be posted on Monday afternoon on First United’s Vimeo channel (where you can access all of our previous worship services).

Donate online at: firstuc.online/donate

COMMUNITY CARE

Displaced Immigrant Support Program

Thank you to all who have offered such generous support of the Afghan family we are welcoming into the Bloomington community by taking a tag from the tree or providing supplies found on the online list. Clothing, food, and household needs are ongoing so your continuous generosity is encouraged and appreciated throughout the coming months. Please click here to view the online sign-up sheet to see what items are still needed. Items can be deposited on tables in the Narthex and near the Fellowship Hall entrance on Sunday mornings or dropped at the church office during office hours (M-F, 9am-12pm; 1pm-4:30pm). Larger furniture items can be stored in Fellowship Hall behind the newly set-up brown partitions, if needed. Please text or call Cindy Neidhart at 812-322-7375 if you have any questions.

Financial support is also needed and appreciated. Thank you to those who have already offered monetary support through the special offerings received during the Candlelight & Carols and Christmas Eve worship services. 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.

Also, because the Afghan family we will be welcoming is already working with Exodus (based out of Indianapolis), we are partnering with Exodus to resettle the family here in Bloomington rather than working through the State Department’s Support Circles program. We are appreciative of the additional support Exodus is offering our congregation as we begin this meaningful program. Please contact Dave Meyer (DISP Chair; dwm@davemeyer.org) for more information or to express your interest in helping.

Kentucky Tornado

The Indiana-Kentucky Conference Disaster Preparedness and Response Ministry Team (IKC DPRMT) is continuing to prepare for action in storm-damaged parts of our Conference. To prepare the team to act, you are invited to donate to the IKC DPRMT. Click here to donate through PayPal. Where it says, “Add special instructions to the seller,” please type in “DPRMT” so your donation gets to the right people. If you would like to volunteer for a workcamp in 2022 please email the IKC office at ikc@ikcucc.org to receive an invitation to the Praesidium log-in page to complete your background check. When you log in you will be asked to pay a $12.00 background check fee using your personal credit card. Once you have been approved by Praesidium, the IKC office will be advised, who will in turn advise the DPRMT that you have been vetted.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS 

Introduction to Process Theology

As a follow-up to Rev. Petersen-Mutai’s brief introduction to Process Theology offered this past summer, First United members and friends are invited to read and discuss “Process Theology: A Basic Introduction” by C. Robert Mesle. Gatherings will be held via Zoom (click here) on Tuesdays, 6pm-7pm (January 11th thru February 22nd). The reading schedule for January is: January 11th—Intro., Overview, & Chapter 1; January 18th—Chapters 2-4; January 25th—Intro. to Part II and Chapters 5-7. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai if you would like help purchasing a book.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

In January and February, our Feminist Women’s Book Club will join other Bloomington readers in welcoming MacArthur Fellow and author Jacqueline Woodson to our town. Besides winning the MacArthur Genius Grant, Woodson has also won Newberry Awards, the Langston Hughes Medal, Coretta Scott King Award, the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and more. She is a gay woman of color and has redefined young adult literature in her work to reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in while increasing our capacity for empathy. Her books show the power of human connection in tackling difficult issues such as gender, race, identity, and LGBTQ themes.  To participate in any or all events, mark these dates:

  • Next Sunday, January 9th, at noon, First United Feminist Book Club, Roger Williams Hall after church or via Zoom. We’ll discuss “Another Brooklyn: A Novel” by Jacqueline Woodson. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us! For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.
  • Saturday, February 5th, at 7pm, Monroe County Public Library’s Power of Words, “An Evening with Jacqueline Woodson,” a free event at the Buskirk Chumley, our book club will attend as a group.
  • Saturday, February 5th, at 8:30pm, A Gala Author Reception & Book Signing at the Monroe County Public Library with Jacqueline Woodson. A champagne & nosh fundraiser event for the library. To learn more visit: https://mcpl.info/pow

Reader’s Choice Book Group

First United’s Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet next Monday, January 10th, 1:30pm at the home of Nancy Martin (1047 Sassafras Drive; Meadowood). The group will discuss “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins. It’s the story of a Mexican bookstore owner and her 8-year-old son’s perilous journey, as migrants, to the U.S. border. All are welcome to one or all of these monthly discussions.

Children’s Learning Time

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to a time of learning, fun, and crafts during the last half of the service. The kids will go to Room 2 with their teachers right after the Children’s Time during the service and may be picked up there (or on the playground, weather permitting) by their adults at the close of worship. Masks and distancing are required. Safety (in general, but specifically regarding the pandemic) is our top priority. Guardians are welcome to visit the classroom!

We would love to have a few adults interested in helping with the classes sign up to help teach on a rotating schedule to enrich the program for the kids. If you are interested but have questions, please reach out to any member of the Board of Education or Derek Roe.

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 are interested and able to gather in person are invited to gather in Room 6, and those who would like to join us online via Zoom can do so here. See you Sunday morning, 9am-10am!

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Our Tuesday morning group is over halfway through a 12-session video lecture series: “History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon” led by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. This study focuses on how the books of the New Testament were selected and passed down to us as scripture. Join us in person or online 10am-11:30am each Tuesday for a time of informal conversation followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. Previous participation not required. For those interested and able to gather in person, we’ll be in Roger Williams Hall; those wanting to join online via Zoom can do so here.

CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

2022 Offering Envelopes and Direct Deposit

For those who would like them, offering envelopes are available on a table outside of the Sanctuary entrance closest to the chancel; you are welcome to pick up a box! Alternatively, if you would like to give to the church through direct deposit, please contact Lisa in the office to make sure she knows you would like to give in this convenient way and has your updated information.

Nursery Care Available and Help Needed
Young children (under age 5) are welcome to spend time on Sundays from 9:15am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Our paid caregivers are in the process of being re-certified for CPR and First Aid. Masks are required indoors for all nursery workers, volunteers, and children over age 2 (see the latest church COVID policy for details). We are currently in search of another qualified adult to add to our staff. Derek Roe is the contact person for nursery scheduling and questions and may be contacted at faithformation@firstuc.org.

Contact Information