• 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
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 01/14 & 01/21)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 01/21)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 01/07)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Pizza and Play

Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play TODAY, Friday, January 5th, 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ll enjoy a time of informal, unprogrammed fun and fellowship in Fellowship Hall and on our playground. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided. Please feel free to come even if you didn’t get your RSVP in to Pastor Jessica; there’s always enough food to go around!

First Sunday Food Drive

The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on the marked table in the narthex. This Sunday, January 7th, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. As always, all of the collected human food and cleaning/hygiene items will go to Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), and pet food will go to Area 10 Agency on Aging. Click here to for a list of MCUM’s ongoing needs.

2024 Offering Envelopes and Direct Deposit

We will be using leftover 2023 offering envelope boxes for 2024. If you used envelopes this year, your number box will not be the same; please look for your name. Envelope boxes are available on a table outside of the Sanctuary entrance closest to the chancel. Whether you’ve used them before or this is your first time, 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.


Star Gifts for Epiphany

The season of Epiphany can easily go by unnoticed and unheralded. This year, you are once again encouraged to experience this season between Christmas and Lent in a 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. Every person who gathers for worship in person on Epiphany Sunday, January 7th, will receive such a star gift. Those who join via Zoom or who are not able to attend worship this Sunday are encouraged to contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai (revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org or 812-727-4414) to receive your star gift (we’ll surely have some left after Sunday) or 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 up to it, 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.).

Unhanging of the Greens

The time has come to take down the beautiful greens and decorations that have adorned the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall through the seasons of Advent and Christmas. All who are willing and able are invited to gather this Sunday, January 7th, at 3pm, to take down and pack up the decorations so they are ready to go for next year. Thank you for your help!

Poinsettia Pickup

Time to pick up your poinsettia! If you ordered one and would like to take it home please do so this Sunday, January 7th (or by Friday, January 12th). For those who didn’t order one this year, there are plenty, so you are welcome to take one home if you like. After this Sunday, they will be located on the table outside of the Fellowship Hall.

Support First United’s Love Fund

Throughout 2024, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to some of the organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, January 21st, a special offering will be received to support First United’s Love Fund, which was created to help those who turn to First United with emergent needs.

Retreat toward Healing Church-Based Wounds

The Open Table Collective (OTC), a collaborative group of affirming local congregations (including First United) and IU campus ministries seeking to engage in ministry with the IU campus community, is hosting a faith-based retreat for adults of all ages as part of a journey toward healing church-based wounds. Retreat dates are Friday, February 9th, 5pm through Sunday, February 11th, 12pm, and it will be held at Waycross Camp and Conference Center in Brown County. The retreat will be led primarily by the Rev. Christine Allen Holden, a certified Spiritual Wellness Coach with a specialty in spiritual trauma, in cooperation with several OTC clergy. The retreat is offered at no cost thanks to a generous grant from the Ecumenical Campus Ministry Fund. Contact Pastor Jessica if you are interested or for more information. RSVP by February 4th (please also indicate your interest in carpooling).

Sacred Places Indiana

First United’s Sacred Places Indiana team (made up of Pastor Jessica, Rebecca Keith, Mary Peckham, Kyle Hetrick, and Ted Wininger) has reached a great milestone in that we were awarded a 2:1 matching grant through the New Dollars/New Partners program. This planning grant will cover 2/3 of the cost of a building assessment ($10,000 total) as our congregation considers capital improvements to widen our congregation’s welcome and make our church building more fully accessible to all. We look forward to working with Mike Halstead, President of HALSTEAD Architects, on this building assessment as he also assists us in determining our building priorities, ensuring that members are involved and informed along the way, and raising funds to support any projects we choose to pursue. Once we have the building assessment in hand and have chosen a capital project to pursue, our congregation will be eligible to apply for another 2:1 matching grant of up to $75,000 to help fund the selected project(s).

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or would like to contribute financially to our 1/3 of the funding required for the building assessment, please contact members of our Sacred Places Indiana team. Thank you for your continued support in discerning what needs to be done to preserve and enhance our physical structure and to articulate why such an effort is warranted in support of our mission and purpose.

Finance Update

As of November 30th, total income was at $298,000 or 93% of the expected income for the year. Total expenses were at $303,000 or 85% of the expense budget. However, this is with the significant caveat that regular outreach giving from the budget was delayed through the second half of the year due to cash flow issues, and to ensure that we could meet financial obligations that had more urgent deadlines (for example, salaries as well as invoices with 30-day deadlines). All remaining dedicated/specified Outreach budget lines were paid out by the end of December (totaling $12,500). 

The 2024 budget was presented and approved by congregational vote on December 17th, with an anticipated substantial deficit of nearly $79,000. Hopefully some of that deficit will be made up through the stewardship campaign, which will be launched in February, but it is likely that we will need to withdraw additional funds from the endowment to support the expense budget. Your church leaders continue to explore new avenues of income beyond member pledges and the endowment.

And on a positive note, in October/November we raised $355 for My Sister’s Closet after the agency’s break-in/robbery, and we raised an incredible $947 for the Love Fund, not to mention the bounty for the Harvest Ingathering and the value we provide to numerous agencies and groups that make use of our building throughout the week. Finally, we raised $632 for Becky’s Place through our Candlelight & Carols special offering and $1045 for our Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) through a special Christmas Eve offering. Thank you for your continuing generosity!

Office Closed

The church office will be closed on January 15th in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Please contact Mitchell Farmer with any emergent needs.


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 and Sara Cole could use some help to serve those gathering in person; sign up here.

This Sunday’s service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also invite the young and young at heart to explore and help distribute this year’s star gifts. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Laurie Eynon will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and Sam Troxal will offer the gift of special music. Kim Yaussy Albright and Noel and Molly Koontz will offer a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary and could use some additional help. And, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will welcome all who join via Zoom as they ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment hosted by Malissa Sparks.

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 Rehearsals

All who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry are encouraged to join our vocal choir and bell choir! No prior musical experience is required, but a foundational ability to read music is recommended. The Bell Choir rehearses on Thursdays, 6:15pm-7:15pm in Roger Williams Hall. And, the Vocal Choir rehearses on Thursdays, 7:30pm-9pm, in the Choir Room (no rehearsal on January 11th).If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Eric Meincke at ericdmeincke@gmail.com.


Keeping Up with Our Congregation

One of the gifts of being part of a community of faith is that we don’t face the ups and downs and middles of life alone. We invite you to share what is going on in your lives by contacting Lisa Stanger and/or Pastor Jessica so we can appropriately share information (with your permission) with our wider community of care that we might offer our support whatever you may be facing.

You are encouraged to offer your prayers and actions of support for:

People’s Market

First United houses the People’s Cooperative Market in our Fellowship Hall each Saturday, 10:00am-2:00pm. The People’s Market is an intersectional anti-racism farmers market and artisan vendor space that focuses on food justice work. They also operate their own pantry called People’s Open Pantry (POP), a zero-barrier pantry at New Leaf, on Saturdays, 11:00am-1:00pm. And, food is always made available to anyone in need during market hours as well.

All are welcome to attend the Saturday markets and/or order from their online CSA for pickup or delivery. People’s Market regularly welcomes new vendors and farmers, so be sure to check them out each week! Note: The in-person market will not be offered January 13th through February 3rd.

DISP Update

First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) continues to work with displaced immigrant families who have found their way to Bloomington. Recently, DISP has begun a 3rd refugee relationship with a newly arrived family, a brother and sister, from Nicaragua. The DISP team is always looking to expand, and we need your help. If you would like to volunteer your time directly with this new family, which might include assisting with transportation to or from appointments, cultural introductions, and general friendship and fellowship, please let us know. To learn more or to volunteer, please contact Dave Meyer (dwm@davemeyer.org) or Hopi Stosberg (hopi@stosberg.com).

The Joy of Hosting

Our Member Relations Committee continues to offer support to weekly coffee hour hosts and encourage everyone to sign up to host—it’s easy, fun, and a great way to serve your church family with a one-time commitment. Sign up as buddies or families, invite someone you’ve been wanting to get to know, use the occasion to showcase a family recipe or try out a new one. Sign up to host by clicking here.


Off-Topic Scripture Circle

You are invited to join 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 person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we explore “The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity” presented by Dr. Hans-Friedrich Mueller. After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we meet the fascinating, ancient polytheistic peoples of the Mediterranean and beyond, their gods and goddesses, and their public and private worship practices, and come to better understand the foundational role religion played in their daily lives. Previous participation and perfect attendance are not required. Those interested and able are welcome to gather in Roger Williams Hall; those choosing to join online via Zoom can do so here.

Children’s Learning Time

Each Sunday morning, children in kindergarten and up will begin in the Sanctuary with their families and proceed to Room 2 with their adult leads for Children’s Learning Time (CLT) following the Children’s Time. Many thanks to Molly Koontz and Ted Wininger for leading CLT this Sunday.

We continue to welcome and encourage additional adults to join our teaching rotation to enrich the program for the kids. Lesson materials and supplies are provided, and we have seasoned leaders to help you get acclimated. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to Molly Koontz, Pastor Jessica, or any member of the Board of Education.

Nursery Care

Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Lena Stosberg and Jessica McIntosh 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.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club usually meets after worship on the second Sunday of the month in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom. We are women who have a lively discussion starting at 12noon, for about an hour. We read recent fiction “by women, for women or about women.” Members are equally split among women from our church and the community. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us. Our January 14th book selection is “Surviving Savannah” by Patti Callahan. Check out our book club’s Pinterest listing: http://pinterest.com/reginammoore/feminist-book-club/. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.


Join Our Finance Committee

If you are interested in the operations that allow us to carry out the work and ministry of First United in Bloomington and beyond, or if you like working behind the scenes, you are encouraged to consider joining our Finance Committee. You do not have to be a CPA or have an MBA! Finance Committee members participate in monthly meetings and may help with simple tasks like taking meeting minutes or assisting with counting and depositing the offering every couple of weeks. Terms are year-to-year, so this does not need to be a long-term commitment. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please reach out to Kyle Hetrick, Mitchell Farmer, or Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai.

Online Directory Available!

An online church directory is available for all members of First United! You may access the directory by clicking on “Member Directory” from the “Member Area” drop-down menu located at the top of any page of the church website. Contact Lisa in the office for your sign-in credentials (you are encouraged to change your password after logging in for the first time).

Contact Information