Sunday Morning Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am (10am Log in). This Sunday’s 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 Section Leader Mary Martin.

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).

Donate online at: https://tinyurl.com/FirstUCDonate

Request to the Youth for Special Music

We have so many talented youth at First United, and you are invited to share your gifts with our wider congregation. 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 this opportunity and have your parents reach out to our Music Director Sam Grace at samuelcgrace@gmail.com to set it up. We are grateful for your gifts and encourage you sharing them with others in our community.


Baby on the Way

Our own Sam Grace and his lovely spouse Megan are expecting their first child! Join with your church community in celebrating with them as they anticipate the arrival of this little one. Spread the word to other members of the First United Community! The more, the merrier.

What: Virtual Shower at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8305475285

When:  Sunday, March 7th, 3 – 4 pm (RSVP Rebecca Keith by March 4: rekeith@iu.edu)

Plan on: Silly Games & General Goofiness, Musical Interludes, A Virtual/Pandemic Style with no punch, cookies, or hugging.

Want to contribute to a joint gift?  Venmo Rebecca at @Rebecca-Keith-12.

Want to pick something at a registry?  Go to their Baby List or Target List.

Record-breaking Food Drive

Thank you to all who supported the January 16th food drive for humans and pets! The cold and snow could not stop the generosity of our First United family as we collected a record-breaking 1093lbs. of human food and cleaning supplies, 122lbs. of pet food, and $785 in cash donations for MCUM and Area 10. Thank you all!

Shelter Volunteers Needed

Many First United members and friends volunteered faithfully for shifts at the Interfaith Winter Shelter for unhoused adults. For years, as many as 60 people slept on our church floor three nights a week during the winter because they had no other place to go. Wheeler Mission is now housing many of those people, very much as we did. But until recently, some were still sleeping in tents in the park, where one man died of the cold, and the city is no longer permitting them to sleep there.

Beacon, the new parent organization of Shalom Community Center, which provides food and services for unhoused adults during the day, is now making ten more beds available at “A Friend’s Place,” its overnight shelter, which has been in operation for almost six years. Volunteers, 18 or older, are needed to assist Beacon staff members at its COVID location at 300 W. Hillside 5pm-9pm. One volunteer a night will be stationed at the door to help two experienced Beacon staff members with health checks and to check people in. Masks are provided and COVID precautions and distancing are observed. Weapons are prohibited. There is no metal scanner, and they don’t frisk guests, who keep their belongings in lockers during the night. Volunteer orientation is provided by Sue Murphy, Beacon’s volunteer coordinator, for all Beacon volunteers (overview, paperwork, policies) and then site-specific training with shelter staff. During their first shift, volunteers will shadow the staff.

Additionally, a new 49-bed low-barrier winter shelter opened on Tuesday, January 19th. All genders and couples are welcome to access this low-barrier sheltering 9pm-7am every day until at least April 15th. Volunteers are needed to bring soup, chili, and snacks and to work shifts especially 8:30pm-11:30pm and 5:30am-7:30am. The building is located in the old CrossFit training warehouse on the B-Line Trail (turn into the entrance to Switchyard park on W. Grimes and you will see the warehouse).

To volunteer with either of these opportunities, contact Sue Murphy at 812-334-5734, ext. 113, or sue@beaconinc.org.

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 (Walmart, Kroger, Speedway, Goodwill, Dollar Store, and Dollar Tree) AND rolls of paper towels and toilet paper. Checks are also accepted (made out to “First United Church” with a memo of “Gifts of Grace”).

Drop off donations at the church office: 30 minutes prior to the Sunday worship service OR Mon-Wed-Fri from 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm (call 812.332.4439 when you arrive for instructions). Please give as you are able, your Outreach Board

Valentine Card Initiative

Are you interested in sharing some love this Valentine season? Join the Committee 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

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.


Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will gather via Zoom on Saturday, January 30th, 2pm-3:30pm, to discuss 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. Many thanks to Lisa Kwong for guiding this month’s discussion.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

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

White Privilege: Let’s Talk

During the season of Lent, you are invited to enter into Brave Space (a space where we can be honest and encourage honesty in others, where we are able to be challenged, learn, and grow) and join a facilitated cohort to work in depth through White Privilege: Let’s Talk—A Resource for Transformational Dialogue. White Privilege: Let’s Talk is an adult curriculum from the United Church of Christ that is designated to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race. All participant materials are available free for download at http://privilege.uccpages.org.

Meetings will take place via Zoom 6:30pm-8:30pm on Mondays (February 22nd; March 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th; and April 5th). Participants must commit to attending all seven weekly sessions. The cohort is limited to ten participants and will be facilitated by Rev. Petersen-Mutai and Amanda Udis-Kessler. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai by Sunday, February 14th to reserve your place in the cohort and with any questions.

First United’s Feminist Book Club

First United’s Feminist Book Club has continued to meet via Zoom, and all are invited to visit as a guest. We are women who have a lively discussion the second Sunday of each month 12pm-1pm, following morning worship. We read recent fiction “by women, for women, or about women.” We are a group of women from the church and community who actively discuss our book each month. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us. The next two months of book selections are as follows:

Sunday, February 14th: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. A poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters. An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two African-American families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Sunday, March 14th: All Adults Here by Emma Straub. A warm, funny, and perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family—as the kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes. In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

All church women are invited to visit. You may check out our book club’s Pinterest listing: http://pinterest.com/reginammoore/feminist-book-club/, which has our group’s past selections if you wish to check out earlier choices. You don’t have to have an account to see our picks. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

Progressive Christianity Series

The Progressive Christianity Series, sponsored and hosted by the Board of Christian Education and led by Byron Bangert, was recorded and the videos are now available to everyone. Byron’s presentations and interactive discussions explored: what is progressive Christianity? How might we characterize it in worship, and what are the tenets of faith from a progressive Christian perspective? Enjoy the recordings for each session by date, and let Rebecca Keith know if you have questions.

Sept 1/part 1

Sept 29/part 2

Oct 27/part 3

Dec 1/part 4

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! 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. 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

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 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.

Ecumenical Education

First United Methodist Church is hosting a Zoom workshop on racial justice and faith, and they are inviting the broader Bloomington community to join in:

  • February 2nd, 7:00pm – Dr. Leah Gunning Francis: Faith & Racial Justice – for more information and to register click here

Lent Madness is Coming!
Be on the lookout for more information about the fun March Madness-style tournament that offers you the opportunity to learn about significant Christian figures while also having the chance to vote for your favorites.


Deadline for Announcements

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

Rev. Petersen-Mutai’s Contact Info and Hours

You are encouraged 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.