Daylight Saving Time Begins – Spring Forward

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 14th at 2am. Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night, so you don’t miss morning worship!


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, spectacular music from Sam Grace and Hansol Kim, a special music offering from the First United Choir, and an original poem by Lisa Kwong. 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 support one another in Christian community. 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:

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 this Saturday, 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.


Community Losses

We continue to hold the Busey family in our thoughts and prayers following Owen’s death. His ashes have been interred in the Memorial Ash Garden; those wishing to pay their respects are welcome to visit the ash garden at their convenience. Remembrances can be sent to the Bloomington (IN) Animal Shelter or to an animal shelter in your community.

Our congregation experienced an additional loss as Dorothy Feld died on February 18th. While no further information has been made available, all are encouraged to hold her loved ones in prayer.

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

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!

The second round of Lent Madness—the Saintly Sixteen—is underway! 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 this 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,

Creation Care Movie Screening and Discussion

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 a movie screening of the film Gather with accompanying panel discussion on Thursday, March 25th, 6pm-8:30pm. 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.

Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will meet on Sunday, March 27th, 12pm-1:30pm (NEW DATE), over Zoom to discuss the second half of the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. The study of this book is taking place over two meetings (February and March); for the March meeting, participants are invited to read and come prepared to discuss the second half of the book reading beginning with “Part Four: The Tentacles of Caste.” An online discussion board for the group has been established, so even if you are unable to attend the in-person meetings, you are invited to read the book and participate in the conversation. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Laurie Eynon at

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

Derek continues to send out weekly CLT emails that 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 (NEW EMAIL) 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 (NEW EMAIL).


Regular Monthly Finance & Council Meetings

The 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.

  • Finance Committee (Kyle Hetrick) – Monday, March 15th, 3:30pm
  • Church Council (Mary Peckham) – Wednesday, March 17th, 6:30pm

Racial Justice Working Group

The next meeting of the Racial Justice Working Group is Sunday, March 21st at 2pm. The group focuses on how we, as individuals and a faith community, can respond meaningfully to systemic racism. All are welcome, and we especially encourage the participation of people of color, whether as a member of this group or as someone willing to offer suggestions for improvement. The group is currently finalizing a land acknowledgement and developing a racial justice commitment statement to include on the church website and reviewing resources to engage in an anti-racism audit of our church. Contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai if you are interested in joining this initiative, or if you have any questions or concerns.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 865 2428 0983, Passcode: 040115

Deadlines for Announcements and Newsletter

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.

If you would like to contribute an article to the April edition of “First News,” please send your information to Lisa by 9am on Monday, March 22nd.

Derek’s New Email Address

Derek Roe, our Assistant Minister for Children & Youth Faith Formation, has a new email address. In an effort to streamline communications, this address will take the place of the old children and youth group addresses, and his personal email address.

If you would like to contact Derek moving forward, please email him at

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.