Based on the latest Monroe County data and weighing the impact in our local community, all church activities, including worship, will be offered online only. We hope to return to in-person activities on Sunday, February 6

QUICK LINKS

  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Racial Justice Book Club (Caste) – Sunday, March 28th, 12pm;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Virtual Café and Adult Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Lent Madness Chat –Tuesday, March 30th, 6:30pm, Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Maundy Thursday Worship – April 1st @ 7pm; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Good Friday Worship – April 2nd @ 12:10pm; Join here

DON’T FORGET!

Food Drive for Humans and Pets and Communion Cup Pick Up – TOMORROW, Saturday, March 27th beginning @ 10am (more information below)

Announcements Deadline

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

NEW THIS WEEK

Community Support

The Stosberg family needs the support of our church family. Mark’s mother received a terminal cancer diagnosis this week, and the caretaking needs in their extended family are great.  If you can provide food (primarily vegetarian) for 1-6 people in the coming weeks, please sign up here:  https://takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=FFJS8655

Youth Volunteer Events!

If you’re in 6th to 12th grade (or are an adult in a teen’s life) here are some youth-friendly upcoming events that you are invited to help with!

  • Human and Pet Food Drive (at the church) – Saturday 3/27. Stop in when you can from 10am-2pm.
  • Spring Yard Work Morning (at the church) – Saturday 4/3. Help beautify the church grounds in time for Easter! 8-11am.

Masks and proper distancing will be required at both events. 

  • Feeling crafty? We would love to add some youth-made paper flowers to the sanctuary decorations! Have fun!

Contact Derek Roe for more information about youth offerings.

Virtual Easter Egg Hunt

First United is hosting a virtual Easter egg hunt again this year. You, your family, and your friends are invited to join in the hunt. It is fun and for a good cause. It starts on Monday, March 29th and goes through Saturday, April 3rd. You can hunt for eggs anytime during that time frame with the seek-and-find egg hunt scenes from around our church, the community, and the United Way building. New scenes will be posted daily during the week leading up to Easter (excluding Good Friday).

The virtual egg hunt is completely free to the community, but donations are encouraged.  First United will use its annual Easter Egg Hunt budget ($100) to donate $1 per like/share of the event. Last year, we raised just over $600 for the United Way COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This year, again, the event will support United Way. Visit the First United Church Facebook page to get started!

Food for Thought: “An AppalAsian Writer on the Importance of Being Yourself”

Our own Lisa Kwong will offer a powerful, thought-provoking presentation on Tuesday, March 30th, 1pm-2pm, as a part of the “Food for Thought” series sponsored by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Asian American Cultural Center. Please consider taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity while supporting a fellow member of your First United family. Register here (Special instructions: 1) Enter ‘presenter guest’ in questions/topics box. 2) Enter organization (e.g. IU) in Illinois NetID box)

First United Scholarships

Are you graduating high school this year? Are you currently enrolled in college or grad school in an education-related field? Watch next week’s announcements (and April’s “First News”) for info about applying for a scholarship, which we are able to offer thanks to the wonderful generosity of our church families! 

Investing with our Values

Are you familiar with ESG investing? ESG stands for “environmental, social, and governance,” and ESG investing provides an exciting opportunity for First United Church to better align its investments with its values, including matters of racial and environmental justice. Based on a thoroughly-researched recommendation from the Memorial Endowment Committee (MEC), the Church Council is close to making a decision to move our investment account to a firm that is well versed in ESG investing while providing successful, competitive returns and an outstanding service record. Want to learn more? Join us for a virtual informational session hosted by the MEC on Sunday, April 11th after morning worship – just stay on the Zoom meeting after the service concludes.

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday Morning Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am (10am Log in). This week’s Palm Sunday service will feature Derek Roe, M.Div., in the pulpit, a message from Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai for the young and young at heart, spectacular music from Sam Grace and Hansol Kim, and a special music offering from Section Leader Wayne Allen. You are invited to print, color, and cut your own palm frond to wave throughout the service. Access your printable palm here.

Throughout the season of Lent, we are reminding ourselves of and recommitting to the covenant we make with God and each other as members and friends of First United Church. This Sunday’s focus: We invite all persons to hear and receive the Christian message of God’s love. 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: firstuc.online/donate

Holy Week Worship

On Thursday, April 1st @ 7:00pm, you are encouraged to join together via Zoom for a Maundy Thursday service of worship as we prayerfully reflect on the biblical story as told in the Gospel of Mark journeying from Jesus’s anointing to his burial aided by a variety of moving musical offerings. Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

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

On Friday, April 2nd @ 12:10pm, you are invited to join together for worship and share in fellowship through an ecumenical Good Friday worship service offered live through First Presbyterian Church’s viewing platform: Join here. This collaborative effort is offered by First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, First Christian, and First United. The service will be available on demand here starting Friday, April 2nd.

Glass Communion Cups

Traditional First United Communion cups for at home/virtual communion will be distributed at First United THIS Saturday, March 27th, 10am-4pm at the Narthex drive-up door (3rd Street side). These are the glass communion cups used at First United prior to using plastic cups (sometime before 2006). The time of the distribution/pickup coincides with the Board of Outreach Food Drive. You can drop food/items at the Woodscrest Drive circle, then swing by the Narthex (back area of the Sanctuary) circle to pick up communion glasses. Strands from the Advent paper chains will also be distributed for use in the Easter Service. If you are interested in receiving a communion cup, but cannot pick up on the 27th, contact Siri Loescher (sannloescher@gmail.com) to make other arrangements.

Lenten Flower “Garden”

Thank you to all of our “gardeners” who have contributed to the beautiful, colorful paper flower “garden” for the sanctuary throughout Lent. If you have not already contributed, you are encouraged to try your hand at constructing a flower or two so they can be added to the garden before Easter. 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, the Board of Worship creates collages to display the new flowers as the garden has grown across the season.

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 CARE

Food Drive for Humans and Pets

The time has arrived for: Another food drive for humans and pets! Join us THIS Saturday, March 27th, 10am-2pm 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 Saturday! Thanks in advance! Your Outreach Board

Spring Yard Work Morning

The Board of Building & Grounds will host a spring yard work morning next Saturday, April 3rd, 8am-11am. We will do some raking and removing of last year’s foliage, especially in the courtyard. Weeding, trimming, hauling—all are possibilities. Everyone is invited to come help. Come for all or part of the time. Questions? Contact Ted Wininger.

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 1041sharon@gmail.com for an application form and instructions to apply for Covid-19-related assistance.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS

Lent Madness Chats!

With Holy Week right around the corner, Lent Madness is nearing its conclusion with the final Elate Eight match up today! Join us on Tuesday, March 30th, 6:30pm-7pm, for your final opportunity to chat about selections, learn more about selected “saints,” and compare brackets. We hope to see you there! And, remember to visit www.lentmadness.org 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

Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will meet on this Sunday, March 28th, 12pm-1:30pm, over Zoom to discuss the second half of the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (beginning with “Part Four: The Tentacles of Caste”). For our April 25th gathering, we will begin discussing An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Introduction through Chapter 6). 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 leynon73@icloud.com.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here

Dial-in number: (253) 215-8782; Meeting ID: 875 9814 9747; Passcode: 077552

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 Roe with feedback or questions!

CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

COVID-19 Update

During the March 17th meeting, Church Council passed a motion stating that we will consider indoor worship experiences and other First United Church-sponsored building usage when all Indiana residents ages 16+ have access to the vaccine through the state (which is supposed to be March 31st according to Gov. Holcomb!). We know that while everyone is missing community and eager to be together, individual needs and responses to reopening, even partially, vary greatly. We are planning to offer more outside opportunities for worship and gathering after Easter, during Eastertide. If you have ideas or wish to initiate an activity, please be in contact with Pastor Jessica, Siri Loescher, or Mary Peckham.

Contact Information