Sunday Morning Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am (10am Log in). This Sunday’s service will honor the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who continues to inspire and challenge us to labor together for justice. The service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit, a message from Derek Roe for the young and young at heart, and a special music offering from our First United Choir under the direction of Sam Grace.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 946 3570 8633; Passcode: 879535

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

Star Gifts for Epiphany – LAST CALL!

The season of Epiphany can easily go by unnoticed and unheralded. However, this year, you are encouraged to experience this season between Christmas and Lent in a new and meaningful way as you receive a “star gift.” A star gift is simply a star-shaped piece of brightly colored paper with a word printed on it. If we were able to gather in-person, every person who would come to church on Epiphany Sunday, January 3rd, would receive such a star gift. However, as we continue to care for one another by not gathering in our building, you are encouraged to contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai (revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org or 812-727-4414) to receive your word (which will be randomly selected from a list of 150 possible words) and make your own star gift. Once you have received your word, you are invited to reflect on that word for the duration of Epiphany and, if you are so willing, throughout the entire year. You are invited to ponder what significance your word might have in your life and how God might be speaking to you through that simple message. Note: it helps to place your star gift in a location that you come across regularly (ex. the bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, etc.).

Miss the Multi-faith MLK Celebration?

In case you missed the Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance’s virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: “A Single Garment of Destiny” offered on January 10th, you can access it via their Facebook page here. Pastor Jessica, Tislam Swift, and First United’s choir joined local contributors including the IU African American Choral Ensemble and keynote speakers Maqube Reese, a 2020 Bloomington Black Leader of Tomorrow, and Melody Cooper of the Arc to offer the service. Donations are still being received and will be shared between three local organizations: Beacon, Stone Belt, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission (City of Bloomington). Donate online at: https://tinyurl.com/FirstUCDonate (use the Special Service Offering field) or send checks to: “First United Church,” with “MLK Celebration” in the memo line to: First United Church/ 2420 East Third Street/ Bloomington, IN 47401.

Request to the Youth for Special Music

We have so many talented youth at First United, and I wanted to offer you a platform to share your gifts. Do you sing? Play the piano? Perhaps BAGPIPES?! (Kidding, but that would be really cool if you played those). Maybe you like to dance, or perhaps you enjoy writing or reading poetry out loud. Whatever your talent, we want to feature you! We could use some extra help on or around Easter if you are interested, and we will have a lot of opportunities available this summer. Please take some time to think about it and please have your parents reach out to me at samuelcgrace@gmail.com to set it up. We are grateful for your gifts and hope we can share your gifts with others in our community.


Congregational Meeting

In accordance with our bylaws, the second regular annual business meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, January 24th following morning worship. This meeting shall consider the annual budget for the fiscal year; and our church president, Mary Peckham, will present a report on plans for the coming year.

Pledge Commitments for 2021

Thank you to the 63 people/households who so far have pledged a total of $194,934 towards the 2021 budget! We are still accepting pledges in hopes of increasing the income we can count on to support our operations, programs, and ministries in 2021. If you have not pledged yet, please do so now if possible. We can send you another pledge card, you can e-mail your pledge to Lisa in the church office (info@firstuc.org), or you can fill out our online form at https://tinyurl.com/1stUC21pledge. Thank you for your support!


Food Drive for Humans and Pets

Mark your calendar: Another food drive for humans and pets! TOMORROW, Saturday, January 16th, 10am-2pm. Our goal? A record-setting ONE TON of food! Help us get there!

Help is needed to welcome people and assist with the food. Click here to sign up. Masks and social distancing required. Tent and warm building provided if needed.

When shopping, 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. 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
  • Frozen meat (1-2 pound ground beef, whole chickens)
  • Canned vegetables (carrots, greens, potatoes)
  • Checks made out to First United (with MCUM or Area 10 in the memo)

See you on Jan 16th! Thanks in advance! Your Outreach Board

Gifts of Grace

Gifts of Grace is an annual holiday drive that allows community members to give to Positive Link, an IU Health program assisting people living with HIV. Through January 31st, First United will be collecting $20 gift cards to the following stores AND rolls of paper towels and toilet paper:

  • Walmart
  • Kroger
  • Speedway
  • Goodwill
  • Dollar Store
  • Dollar Tree

Checks are also accepted (made out to “First United Church” with a memo of “Gifts of Grace”).

Drop off donations at the church office:

  • January 16th from 10am-2pm (at the food drive)
  • 30 minutes prior to the Sunday worship service
  • Mon-Wed-Fri (except January 18th) from 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm (call 812.332.4439 when you arrive for instructions)

Please give as you are able, your Outreach Board

First United’s Special COVID-19 Fund Applications

If you have a relationship with First United Church, you may apply for assistance for economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact Sharon McCann at 1041sharon@gmail.com for an application form and instructions to apply for Covid-19-related assistance.

Valentine Card Initiative

Are you interested in sharing some love this Valentine season? Join the Community for Community Development (CCD) in a card sending initiative by signing up to send 1, 2, or 10 Valentine’s Day cards to our fellow community members. Cards do not have to follow a specific design or model, and if you need cards, envelopes, or stamps, those can be provided. Sign up using this Google form. A member of CCD will send you a list of people to send cards to. To ensure mail deliveries by Valentine’s Day, please sign up by Sunday, January 31th. If you have questions, please contact Hopi Stosberg at hopi@stosberg.com


Off-Topic Scripture Circle (formerly Lectionary Discussion)

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! Click below to join us, Sunday mornings 9-10am.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 896 7762 0237; Passcode: 043604

Tuesday Virtual Café and Adult Discussion

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join us at 10:00am-11:30ish each Tuesday for a time of informal conversation followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. The group is currently exploring the video series Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad presented by Prof. Mark Muesse. We recently began the section covering Jesus, and you are welcome to jump in now if you haven’t previously done so. It’s a great way to keep in touch with church friends during social distancing and to engage in adult faith formation. We hope to see you there!

Join Zoom Meeting clicking here (Note: the link has been updated and is different from previous weeks)

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 895 0519 1798; Passcode: 624328

Children’s Learning Time (CLT)
Are you the parent of a child in Kindergarten through age 11? Even during this time of virtual-everything, the church continues to provide materials to keep your child(ren) engaged with their faith formation through stories, crafts, and activities. If you have not been receiving emails for CLT and would like to, or if you have any questions, please contact Derek at droeminister@gmail.com.    

Youth Group
Are you (or your child) between ages 12 and 18? The youth group is a great way to make friends at church, to have some fun, and to engage in some of life’s big questions. We’re currently meeting virtually on Zoom. This year we are adding guest speakers and art projects to our list of activities! For the meeting link or for more information, please contact Derek at youthgroup@firstuc.org.

Racial Justice Book Club

The fourth meeting of the Racial Justice Book Club will be Saturday, January 30th, from 2pm-3:30pm over Zoom. We will be discussing the book Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong. Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 872 5371 0204; Passcode: 834052

Ecumenical Education

First United Methodist Church is hosting two Zoom workshops, one on gender diversity and one on racial justice in faith, as well as an online group focused on supporting mothers in our community. They are inviting the broader Bloomington community to join in the sharing of these events:

  • January 26th, 7:00pm – Austen Hartke: Seeing Gender Diversity in Scripture – for more information and to register click here
  • Beginning January 27th, 6:30pm – Moms at First: Monthly Community Group – for more information and to register click here
  • February 2nd, 7:00pm – Dr. Leah Gunning Francis: Faith & Racial Justice- for more information and to register click here


January Council Meeting

The Church Council will meet (via Zoom) for their regular monthly meeting this Wednesday, January 20th, 6:30pm to plan and support the various ministries we offer as First United. The wider congregation is always invited and encouraged to participate in this process. You are encouraged to reach out to Mary Peckham, Church President, if you have matters for them to discuss.

Racial Justice Working Group

The Boards of Outreach and Christian Education formed a racial justice working group to focus on how we, as individuals and a faith community, can respond meaningfully to systemic racism. All are welcome, and we especially encourage the participation of people of color, whether as a member of this group or as someone willing to offer suggestions for improvement. The next meeting is this Sunday, January 17th @ 2pm. Contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai (revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org) if you are interested in joining this initiative, or if you have any questions or concerns. 

Join Zoom Meeting clicking here

Meeting ID: 835 9843 9246 Passcode: 105177


Upcoming Office Closure

The church office will be closed Monday, January 18th, in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai or Mary Peckham if you need assistance during this time.

Deadlines for Announcements and Newsletter

If you would like an announcement included in this weekly church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday prior to its release.

If you would like to contribute an article to the February edition of “First News,” please send your information to Lisa by 9am on Monday, January 25th.

Rev. Petersen-Mutai’s Contact Info and Hours

You are welcome to reach out to Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai should you be in need of pastoral care or simply want to say “hello.” You may contact her by email at revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org or by phone/text at 812-727-4414. Her weekly days off are Friday and Saturday; however, you are welcome to reach out to her on those days in case of emergency.