• Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Thursdays @ 5:30pm; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 07/31)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 07/24)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Sunday Funday

Members and friends of First United are invited to gather for fun and fellowship this Sunday, July 17th, 2pm-4pm (and the third Sunday of each month). Plan to join us as we come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area. If the weather is good this Sunday, water Twister will be played, so bring clothes you can get wet! A light snack will be available. Feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!

Newsletter and Announcements Deadlines

The First News deadline is this Monday, July 18th. If you would like to have an article included in the July newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.

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

July Worship Services

Throughout the month of July, we are exploring a variety of different worshipful practices during the Sunday morning service seeking to learn more about how we connect with one another and the divine and ask the question of why we even gather for worship. While each service will include some more familiar components as well, you are encouraged to open yourselves to engaging in worship in previously unknown ways. The services will be fully multigenerational as the children are encouraged to participate in the entire experience, and Children’s Learning Time will be on hiatus for the month (young children are still welcome in the nursery). May this time of experimentation, of learning, of worship empower us to live ever more fully and authentically as God’s beloved.

This Sunday, July 17th, worshippers will once again be given the opportunity to “choose your adventure.” Detailed information about each of the three options are included within the attached bulletin. Additionally, we will have an interview with a special guest, the author of the Gospel of Luke, and hear Sam Troxal’s musical presentation of the day’s focus scripture.

Meet and Greet with Pastor Jessica

While the first official meet & chat with Reverend Jessica took place in late June at Meadowood, the first one in the church building will be hosted by Laurie Eynon this Tuesday, July 19th at 3:30pm in Roger Williams Hall. She has invited some people but there is room for a few more if this time works for you and you would like attend—you are very welcome! Please let Laurie know so she can plan accordingly at 812-336-1219 or leynon73@icloud.com.

Multifaith Panel on the Climate Crisis

On Sunday, July 31st, 11:45am-12:45pm, the Board of Education will host a multifaith panel to explore the climate crisis through the lens of three faith traditions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Rabbi Brian Besser of Beth Shalom and Maha Noureldin of the Islamic Center of Bloomington will join Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in sharing thoughts and perspectives from their respective faith traditions regarding how we are called to care for creation and respond to the current crisis. The Board invites you to share questions and areas of interest that you would like the panel to address as they make their remarks. Of course, there will also be time allotted for questions and conversation. The panel will be offered in a hybrid fashion; those joining online are invited to simply stay on the Zoom webinar after worship. Please send any questions or points you would like our panelists to address to Pastor Jessica by this Thursday, July 21st so they will have ample time to consider them and prepare to respond.


Out of the Office

Pastor Jessica will be out of the office Monday, July 25th through Saturday, July 30th while she is on vacation. While she is away, the Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion will not meet on Tuesday, July 26th (will reconvene on August 2nd), but the Off-Topic Scripture Study will meet via Zoom on Thursday, July 28th. Additionally, Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall has agreed to provide emergency pastoral care during this time. If you have a true pastoral emergency and are unable to wait for care until Pastor Jessica returns, you may contact her via phone at 812-219-3672.

Church Potluck & Leadership Retreat

Mark your calendars for a church-wide dinner potluck at 5pm on Saturday, August 13th. Prior to the potluck, 12pm-4pm, all members of our standing boards and Church Council are invited to engage in a Leadership Retreat as we learn, grow, and look at our future together. The wider congregation is then invited to bring dishes to share beginning at 4:30pm, and we will sup together at 5 o’clock. Hope to see you there!

Our Afghan Guests

Late this month will mark the eighth month that First United has been sponsoring the Arman evacuee family from Herat, Afghanistan. In that time, we have seen so much growth in the family on their journey to building a life in the US. Things have changed a lot since that cold December evening when we first met. Last month, baby Emaan became the first US citizen in the family as he was born in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Next month the family will move to a new apartment in which they will be entirely responsible for the rent. After that move, the church’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) will be phasing out our sponsorship with the family. We will then make the challenging transition from sponsorship to friendship

The good news is that the Arman family will live only a few blocks from First United, and we expect to see them regularly and continue to interact with them. Ahad and Brishna have already helped us learn to appreciate Afghan food that they cook whenever we gather for a communal meal. While the team enjoys the Afghan foods they prepare, we hear that they are not (yet) as fond of American cuisine. We hope to continue to see them on Sunday Fundays and Pizza & Play Fridays as well as at church potluck meals. We hope that you all will continue to think of them as a permanent part of the First United community.

Over the next few weeks, the DISP team will be discussing our next steps in support of displaced immigrants. We plan to continue to work closely with Exodus Refugee Immigration as their presence in Bloomington continues to grow and blossom. We have had a great experience working with Exodus. If you would like to learn more about this ministry or would like to consider becoming a DISP volunteer, contact Dave Meyer (dwm@davemeyer.org). DISP meets every other Thursday at 6:30pm by Zoom (next meeting July 28th) and reports through the Board of Outreach.

Critical Volunteer Support Needed – Personnel and Safe Church Policies

Interested in supporting and shaping essential administrative policies of First United? Your lay leaders need help!

  1. The Personnel Committee seeks volunteers passionate about positioning First United as a progressive employer in the community. Our current personnel policy is nearly two decades old. Help us reevaluate the policies that govern the work of First United staff.
  2. The Board of Christian Education seeks volunteers committed to First United being a safe place for children, youth, and other vulnerable populations. Help finalize the policies that will help outline safe practices for working with these groups and provide means for safe, timely, and just reporting of potential violations.

Please contact Mitchell Farmer, mitchellgfarmer@gmail.com, if you have any questions, concerns, or are willing to get involved. 


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday, we will continue our adventures in worship as we explore the story of Martha and Mary in the Gospel of Luke. Sam Troxal will invite us to enter into this story and Psalm 15 in a new way through song in addition to leading us in music throughout the service, and Lisa Kwong will serve as our congregational lead and special guest author. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Ted Wininger, Dave Meyer, and Bill Perkins will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Finally, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Looking forward to worshiping with you!

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 at: firstuc.online/donate


Offering Our Condolences

As you may know, Cindy Stone’s mother, Elsie Irene Stone (b. January 27, 1931), died last Thursday night, June 30th, 2022. Both Cindy and Amy were by her side in her home in Massachusetts. They share their thanks for the many expressions of support they have received. We continue to offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers of support as they grieve this loss and celebrate a beautiful life lived. You are invited to read the obituary here.

Coffee Hour Hosts Requested

This spring the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) launched bimonthly coffee hours after worship on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.  All food, drink, and serving supplies are provided by the church, though hosts are free to supplement items if they wish. Clear instructions regarding setup/cleanup and guidelines for serving snacks are posted in the kitchen and will be emailed to each volunteer. Click here to sign up to volunteer to host next Sunday, July 24th. Thank you for considering this act of service—supporting this fellowship opportunity is meaningful, does not demand a lot of time, and can be kept very simple.

One Great Hour of Sharing

Thanks to your generosity, First United contributed $1486 to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) in addition to the $5000 donation from the Hollis Fund (designated for this purpose).OGHS is a special mission offering of both the American Baptist Churches (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Your donations will support disaster, refugee, and development ministries both domestically and abroad. If you would still like to contribute, you may do so by sending a check to the church office, dropping a donation in the offering plate on a Sunday marked “OGHS,” or by giving online here (through the UCC) or here (through the ABC-USA).


CLT and Nursery Care

Children’s Learning Time (CLT) is on hiatus during the month of July; children are encouraged to participate fully in the worship service. 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. Interested in joining our CLT assistant teacher rotation when we pick back up in August or in helping in the nursery occasionally? Contact Molly Koontz.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click hereon Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we engage in the second half of a 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” After a time of informal conversation, we engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation. Note: We will not meet on Tuesday, July 26th (will reconvene on August 2nd) while Pastor Jessica is on vacation.

Off-Topic Scripture Circle

You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Thursday evenings, 5:30pm-6:30pm 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 will meet via Zoom only (at least for the first couple of months) to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.


Seeking a Musical Mind

First United is seeking to hire a new Music Director as we remain committed to offering meaningful musical opportunities for our congregation following Sam Grace’s departure (Sam’s official last day is today, July 15th). The job description and information for how to apply can be accessed on our website here; please share widely! Please contact Mary Peckham, Rachel Caswell, or Pastor Jessica with any questions.

Job Opportunity!

First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (info@firstuc.org) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. Thank you for your help!

Contact Information