• Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar 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 and 08/07)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 08/07)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 08/14)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


No Coffee Hour this Sunday

Due to an increase in COVID caution and the lack of a host, we will not have coffee hour this Sunday. Moving forward, the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) will continue to encourage and support 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 Sunday, August 14th or 28th. 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.

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 24th, worshippers will be invited to engage in worship in a highly musical fashion through the use of Marty Haugen’s predominantly-sung service “Holden Evening Prayer” (with a few small word changes to make it appropriate for morning worship). We will also celebrate the baptism of Jade Marquez D’Amato and welcome them as a new member of First United! Explore the bulletin link for more information.

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.

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. 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 invite others to join this event and share the Facebook event, which can be accessed here.


Tree Planting

CanopyBloomington has graciously given First United eight trees. Join us in planting and blessing the trees at 9am next Friday, July 29th. We will gather in the church Courtyard, where we’ll plant one tree (and mulch and water it) and then repeat the process at other planting locations. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Pizza & Play

Members,families, and friends are invited to come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area Friday, August 5th, 5:30pm-7:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided for this Pizza & Play time; please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, August 4th if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all. These gatherings will be offered on the first Friday of each month, so mark your calendars now. And, feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!

Food Drive Rework – 1st Sundays of the Month

The Board of Outreach has retooled our food drives to re-energize them and will collect food on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex. Please bring non-perishable food items on Sunday, August 7th to help with this critical community need; the rising price of food (and particularly of gasoline) has made the need more urgent than ever. As always, all of the collected food and cleaning/hygiene items will go to Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), located in the Crestmont neighborhood of Bloomington, and pet food will go to Area 10 Agency on Aging. Click here to for a list of MCUM’s ongoing needs. Thank you for your generosity!

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 or a personal picnic beginning at 4:30pm, and we will sup together at 5 o’clock. Hope to see you there!

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. The job description and information for how to apply can be accessed on our website here; please share widely! The hiring team has received materials from a number of applicants and are in the process of reviewing them; we’ll keep you posted! Please contact Mary Peckham, Rachel Caswell, or Pastor Jessica with any questions.


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 engage in a highly musical experience using Haugen’s “Holden Evening Prayer” (as mentioned above). The musical nature of the service will be further deepened with Jean-Paul Etienne’s singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” and Hansol Kim’s beautiful work at the piano. Lisa Kwong will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. 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 Keith Gerber 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


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.


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. Jessica McIntosh and Lena Stosberg 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. Reminder: this group will not meet on Tuesday, July 26th.

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 in an effort to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.


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. While the hiring team has received materials from a number of applicants, none have yet seemed to be the right fit. Thank you for your help!

Contact Information

  • Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org; 812-727-4414 (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
  • Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall, Emergency Pastoral Care (July 24th thru July 30th); 812-219-3672
  • Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – info@firstuc.org
  • Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – ddennistwcmc@firstuc.org
  • Rebecca Keith, Church President – rekeith@iu.edu; 812-325-0145 (Cell)