• 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 (needed 07/23)
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 07/16, 07/23, & 07/30)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 07/23 & 07/30)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 07/23)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 08/06)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Special Offering/Support the Love Fund

Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On THIS Sunday, July 16th, a special offering will be received to support First United’s Love Fund. Often when persons need assistance with rent, utility bills, or gas, they turn to churches for help, whether they have experience with the particular church they call or none at all. Our Office Manager, Lisa Stanger, can attest that First United Church is no exception. To help meet these needs, the church draws from our Love Fund, which was created to help those who turn to First United with emergent needs. Our Love Fund is often used to provide assistance with rent and utilities and less frequently gas or other expenses. Donating to the Fund, which is not a budget item, is an individual decision. The boxes of offering envelopes, that some of you utilize for regular financial giving, include a green envelope for giving to the Love Fund. Persons are also welcome to write a check designated to the Fund at anytime. This year our Board of Outreach has designated three special offerings on Sundays throughout the year to support this important fund and invite all to consider contributing to this impactful ministry.

Volunteer with Community Kitchen

First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We currently volunteer there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our next shift will be on July 20th. To volunteer for this month or subsequent months click here to access our online sign up or contact Laurie Eynon (leynon73@icloud.com or (812) 336-1219). Thank you!

Newsletter and Announcements Deadlines

The First News deadline is Thursday, July 20th. If you would like to have an article included in the August newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.

And, if you would like an announcement included in next week’s church email, please send your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday before.


Fifth Sunday Potluck

A reminder that in 2023 MeRC (your Member Relations Committee) is hosting Fifth Sunday Potlucks. This means that on Sunday, July 30th after worship, there will be a potluck in Fellowship Hall. This will be a pitch-in, and ALL are invited—to come (with or without a food item), to help set up/staff/clean up, to EAT and socialize. Invite a friend, bring family, celebrate community with us!! Please join us even if you aren’t able to bring a dish to share; there is always plenty!

“Poverty, by America” Book Read

The Bloomington Multi-Faith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity committee (BMA F4RE) will offer a book read this fall of Matthew Desmond’s “Poverty, by America” with a community capstone event being planned for the afternoon of Sunday, October 29th. At least three faith communities will be leading book groups that will meet at different times and in different modalities and will be open to all.

  • First United’s offering will take place via Zoom at 12pm-1pm on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (August-October), with the following schedule: August 3rd (Prologue) and 17th (Chapters 1 & 2—The Kind of Problem Poverty Is & Why Haven’t We Made More Progress?); September 7th (Chapters 3 & 4—How We Undercut Workers & How We Force the Poor to Pay More) and 21st (Chapters 5 & 6—How We Rely on Welfare & Howe We Buy Opportunity); and October 5th (Chapters 7 & 8—Invest in Ending Poverty & Empower the Poor) and 19th (Chapter 9—Tear Down the Walls & Epilogue). Contact Pastor Jessica if you are interested.
  • St. Thomas ELCA will offer a group meeting via Zoom at 7pm-8pm on Wednesdays, September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, and October 4th and 18th. Contact Ellen Mills (ellenamills@gmail.com) if interested.
  • First Presbyterian will offer an in-person group at 6pm-7pm on Mondays, September 25th, and October 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd. Contact Sue Connell (suerconnell@gmail.com) if interested.

Matthew Desmond received a Pulitzer Prize for his earlier book, “Evicted.” His books are both well researched and readable. He wrote this book to answer the question, “Why is there so much poverty in America?” He looks at the history of poverty in our country as well as the current situation and connects the dots to dig deep into why poverty continues. Desmond reveals that a system maintains poverty in the US, and some people benefit from this system; the reality is often not what we have been told. We can be part of the solution to abolish poverty if we can see the problem clearly and honestly and if we want the status quo to change.

Sacred Music

The Jacobs School of Music Schola Cantorum invites you to enjoy contemplative evening performances of sacred music July 17th-21st; our own Eric Meincke will serve as one of the coaches for the inaugural year of this offering, which is an intensive week-long course for young musicians passionate about performing a cappella and accompanied sacred choral music. Unique in the USA, this course selects, by audition, advanced singers who are undergraduates or high schoolers. The singers hail from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia. They receive daily solo and ensemble coaching. The organists are supported by sponsorships from the two organ building firms, Goulding and Wood and the Schoenstein Company. This year, the Schola Cantorum will be in residence at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey, one of Indiana’s most beautiful sacred spaces and will offer the following performances here in Bloomington: July 17th, 18th, and 19th at 7:30pm, Evensong in Alumni Hall (located in the Indiana Memorial Union Building) and July 20th at 7:30pm, Concert and Compline at First Presbyterian Church. All events are free and open to the public.


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. The service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Lisa Kwong will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Michael Shell will lead us in song. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Kim Yaussy Albright, Laurie Eynon and Keith Gerber will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Pastor Jessica will provide a beautiful floral arrangement in celebration of her mom visiting. Finally, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, be sure to join us after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment in Fellowship Hall hosted by Fiora Pizzo.

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

Play+Pray Space

While Children’s Learning Time (CLT) takes a break for the month of July, children are encouraged to engage with the Play+Pray Space located on the courtyard side of the Sanctuary. Following Children’s Time each Sunday, those who choose to may engage with PlayDoh, drawing materials, books, and more as they creatively express their faith while remaining a part of the worshiping congregation; younger children are welcome in the nursery. Have an idea to enhance the space? Contact Pastor Jessica. CLT will resume on August 6th.

Musically Inclined

All those who are musically inclined are encouraged to offer your gifts of music during worship while the bell and adult vocal choirs take a break for the summer months. There are still openings available during July. Please contact Eric Meineke or Pastor Jessica if you are interested.

Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals

All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. The bell and adult vocal choirs have concluded their seasons and will begin rehearsing again in late August: Vocal Choir in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm and Bell Choir in Roger Williams Hall on Thursdays at 6:15pm.


Red Cross Blood Drive at First United

“Blood has a transfusable lifespan of 42 days from time of collection. It can’t be hoarded in the good times and used in the lean times. We must continuously collect blood to keep the supply stable. That proved challenging last month. We ended the month a little stronger, but still ended up with 26,000 fewer Red Cross blood donation appointments in May than what’s necessary to ensure patients have the blood they need in the coming weeks. Help can’t wait. We need everyone to donate to avoid a shortage!” (from our local Red Cross)

To add to the local life-giving blood supply, First United will host a blood drive for the Red Cross in Fellowship Hall on Thursday, July 27th, 10am-2pm. While walk-ins will certainly be welcome, appointments are preferred. Click here to schedule your appointment now! Added bonus: Our drive falls during their Shark Week promotion, so they will be offering t-shirts!

Displaced Immigrant Support Program

Our DISP team continues to await notification from Exodus regarding our next family sponsorship. When a new family is assigned to us there will be many new challenges as well as new joys. Do you have a gift of time or treasure that you can share to help a new family feel welcome and gain capability in our community? If so, you may give anytime by designating your gift as “DISP” or online here. If you’re considering joining the DISP team, please contact Dave Meyer (dwm@davemeyer.org) or Hopi Stosberg (hopi@stosberg.com) to get connected and learn more.

Member Relations – Get Involved!

Our Member Relations Committee (MeRC) is organizing our post-Covid outreach to homebound members more formally and welcomes members who might like to make a monthly(ish) visit to a member(s) who are not able to join us for in-person activities. Let Pastor Jessica know if you’re interested.

Additionally, MeRC is working on the formation of “covenant” groups, intimate social groups that meet regularly in a format and schedule determined by the groups that form. These groups, last implemented a decade ago, can be a transformational experience in building friendships and community in the congregation. More information to come!

The Joy of Hosting

We continue 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.


Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

You are invited to join us in person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we explore the final six sessions of a 36-session adventure exploring “The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch” presented by Dr. Molly Worthen. After a time of informal conversation, we engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the story of Christianity as it transformed from the end of the Middle Ages into the diverse global religion of today. On Tuesday, July 18th, we will explore “Culture Wars and the Christian Right.” 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.

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.

Nursery Care

Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Rebecca Keith and Molly Koontz 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.


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).

Church Office Closings

The church office will be closed on Mondays throughout July. Please contact Pastor Jessica if you need immediate assistance during these times.

Contact Information