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 the First United Bell Choir. We will also be celebrating communion; you are invited to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” for you and yours to share at home.

Throughout the season of Lent, we will remind ourselves of and recommit to the covenant we make with God and each other as members and friends of First United Church. This Sunday’s focus: We celebrate our faith in meaningful worship. After worship, stay on the call to hear an update on this week’s Lent Madness action and learn about a “saint” or two during the first few minutes of coffee time.

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: (NEW LINK!)

Southeast Association Virtual Lenten Series

Join our siblings in the Southeast Association (UCC) via Zoom on Saturdays through March 20th, 10am-11am, for an inspiring program celebrating the ministry of chaplains. Active chaplains serving in ministry will share their stories and respond to questions; there will also be a time for community prayers. Our own Rev. Hannah Adams Ingram, PhD will be highlighted on March 13th. Please consider participating in this opportunity to build community in the Southeast Association as together we seek to love and serve like Jesus.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (312) 626-6799; Meeting ID: 813 0588 9617; Passcode: 661797

Lenten Flower “Garden”

The Board of Worship invites individuals and families to join us in creating a paper flower “garden” for the sanctuary throughout Lent. There are no parameters per type of construction of the flowers – like us – all are welcome. Flowers can be placed/collected in a plastic bin located outside of the Narthex entrance on the North side or dropped off in the church office. Each week before Sunday service, we will create collages to display the new flowers – so the garden may grow across the season.

Interested in making paper flowers but don’t know where/how to start? Three suggestions:

  • Step-by-step instructions/patterns (easier to follow than many videos). Check out this option.
  • Put/glue together precut die-cut flowers. Mix and match sets for 8 small distinct flowers (with directions) will be available in the drop-off flower bin next week. These will be connected to yarn to create flowering vines of Lent/Easter flowers. 
  • Paper roses from any kind of paper (even magazine pages, newspaper, or used scrap paper). If we have enough paper roses, they will be made into ‘bouquets’ in vases to be displayed in place of the traditional Easter Lilies. Check out two methods: here and here.

Holden Evening Prayer Services

Throughout the season of Lent, you are invited to gather together via Zoom each Thursday evening (thru March 25th), 7pm-7:30pm, for a predominantly-sung service using Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer. The service uses contemporary and inclusive language and offers space for quiet meditation, spoken prayer, and the presentation of scripture. These services will run live with pre-recorded music from some of our tremendous church musicians and live scripture readings and prayers. Participants are encouraged to stay for about 15 minutes afterwards for fellowship. Can’t attend in person? Each service will be posted on Vimeo.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 884 3149 1851; Passcode: 129896

Centering Prayer on Sundays and throughout the Week

During each Sunday morning service in Lent, Rev. Petersen-Mutai will invite the gathered congregation (via Zoom) to engage in a brief time of Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is simply a wordless, trusting opening of one’s self to the divine presence. This portion of the Sunday service will be accessible during the week on Vimeo, and you are invited to take a few moments each day during Lent for Centering Prayer.


Calling Governor Holcomb to Support Asian American Hoosiers

The Indiana chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) has launched a rapid response campaign to speak out against the spike in anti-Asian violence across Indiana and the nation. On Thursday, March 11th, they will present a petition to Governor Eric Holcomb calling on him to use his power to address this issue. First United’s Racial Justice Working Group urges you to sign this petition, if you have not already done so, so your name will be presented alongside fellow Hoosiers in solidarity with Indiana’s Asian American communities. Read and sign the petition here.

Food Drive for Humans and Pets

Mark your calendar: Another food drive for humans and pets! Saturday, March 27th, 10am-2pm. Join us as the weather warms and COVID relaxes its grip on our community. Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) focuses on providing short-term emergency food for people in need, while also working with them on long-term goals and priorities. Area 10 Agency on Aging supports seniors and those with disabilities, enabling them to keep their cherished pet companions by assisting with pet food donations when their owners are in need.

The congregation’s help is needed to welcome people and assist with the food. To sign up, click here. Masks and social distancing required.

When shopping for human food, MCUM recommends purchasing items that you or your family would enjoy. You can also consider buying things that would be needed together, for example – purchase spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, or peanut butter and jelly, soup and crackers. Currently, the most needed items are

  • Reusable/Cloth Bags
  • Canned Meat (tuna, chicken, beef)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dried Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Cereal
  • Ready to eat soups / chili / pasta
  • Canned vegetables (carrots, greens, potatoes)
  • Checks made out to First United (with MCUM for human support or Area 10 for pet support in the memo)

Area 10 Agency on Aging accepts pet food of all types, dry or canned, large bags and small. Dry food is okay if it has been opened, so long as it is still usable. They also accept pet treats.

See you on March 27th! Thanks in advance! Your Outreach Board

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 via Zoom; click here

When: Sunday, March 7th, 3pm-4pm (RSVP were due to Rebecca Keith by March 4th:

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.

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 for an application form and instructions to apply for Covid-19-related assistance.


Lent Madness Chats!

Lent Madness is underway, and the first round is nearing completion. If you would like to chat about your selections, learn more about selected “saints,” or compare brackets, you are invited to log in for chats on the Tuesday nights of Lent 6:30pm-7pm. We hope to see you there! And, remember to visit to learn about the two “saints” going head-to-head each day and vote for your favorite.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 880 8593 6668; Passcode: 054344

First United’s Feminist Book Club

First United’s Feminist Book Club continues to meet via Zoom for a lively discussion the second Sunday of each month 12pm-1pm, following morning worship. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join the conversation. The book selection for the Sunday, March 14th discussion is All Adults Here by Emma Straub. For Zoom information or more information about the book club, contact facilitator Cindy Stone,

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 9am-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 10am-11:30am 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. This week Prof. Muesse will continue his discussion of Muhammad.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 895 0519 1798; Passcode: 624328

Children’s Learning Time

The weekly CLT emails that Derek is sends out now have a new format! They now include short, recorded CLT lessons that families can watch together with their kids, in addition to the usual craft and activity resources. Please contact Derek at with feedback or questions! 

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

Creation Care Movie Screenings and Discussions – MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

The Board of Christian Education invites you to join our Baptist siblings as the ABC/RGR Creation Collaborative and RAICA (Rochester Area Interfaith Climate Action) present two movie screenings with accompanying panel discussions during March.

Thursday, March 11th, 5:45pm-8:20pm – KISS THE GROUND

Narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis. By regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and meet food demand. A panel discussion with Elizabeth Henderson (organic farmer) and Glenn Gall (teacher of permaculture, agroforestry, planned grazing, and biological farming) will follow the film. You may also watch the movie ahead of time on Vimeo or Netflix and join the discussion at 7:30pm. This free screening is sponsored by grant funds and available to registered participants. Register here.

Thursday, March 25th, 6pm-8:30pm – GATHER

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. After the film, discussion will be led by Glenn Gall, a teacher of permaculture, agroforestry, planned grazing, and biological farming. Get tickets (free) by clicking here.


Regular Monthly Board, Finance, & Council Meetings

The Permanent Boards of the congregation, Finance Committee, and the Church Council will meet (via Zoom) at the following times to plan and support the various ministries we offer as First United. The wider congregation is always invited and encouraged to participate in this process. You are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate chairperson if you have matters for them to discuss.

  • Board of Building and Grounds (Ted Wininger) – Wednesday, March 10th, 6:30pm
  • Board of Christian Education (Bob Ivie) – Wednesday, March 10th, 6:30pm
  • Board of Outreach (Rebecca Nunley) – Wednesday, March 10th, 6pm
  • Board of Worship (Siri Loescher) – Thursday, March 11th, 3pm
  • Finance Committee (Kyle Hetrick) – Monday, March 15th, 3:30pm
  • Church Council (Mary Peckham) – Wednesday, March 17th, 6:30pm

Deadlines for Announcements

If you would like an announcement included in this weekly church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger ( 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 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.