- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Mondays @ 10am; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 03/05, 03/12, & 03/19)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 03/12 & 03/19)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play TONIGHT!
Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play on Friday, March 3rd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ll enjoy a time of informal, unprogrammed fun and fellowship in Fellowship Hall and surrounding areas, both inside and out (weather permitting). As the name implies, pizza, drinks, and dessert will be provided.
THIS Sunday Food Drive
The Board of Outreach encourages you to bring donations of non-perishable food items THIS Sunday for our community members in need and place them on the table in the Narthex. 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. And, note their special request for meal helpers for rice or other dry pasta, tuna helper or similar, Jiffy mix, saltine crackers, and cereals. Thank you for your donations to meet ongoing community needs.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
First United’s Feminist Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet Sunday, March 12th, at 12pm, in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for an hour-long lively discussion on “The Phone Booth at the End of the World” by Laura Imani Messina—An international bestselling novel about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected “wind” phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the actual 2011 tsunami. Feminist women of all ages are invited to join us. You may check out our book club’s Pinterest listing: http://pinterest.com/reginammoore/feminist-book-club/ which has our group’s past selections. You don’t have to have an account to see our picks. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reader’s Choice Book Group
The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, March 13th at 1:30pm in the home of Nancy Martin (1047 E Sassafras Cir, Meadowood). The book for this month’s discussion is “This Tender Land” by William Krueger—The unforgettable story of four orphans who travel the Mississippi River on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression. If you like to read, come join the group at any or all of its meetings at 1:30pm on the second Monday of each month.
First United Stickers
Been looking for a simple, non-intrusive way to share about First United? Well, look no further! First United stickers are here! Thanks to a generous donation from one of our members, you can now spread the word about our open, welcoming, and affirming community of love and acceptance with a simple yet informative 4” round sticker. Put one on your office door, backpack, laptop bag, bulletin board at your favorite coffee shop, anywhere and everywhere to spark curiosity and perhaps conversation about First United. And, if you can and are so inclined, perhaps donate a dollar for each sticker you take home. Stickers will be available in the church office throughout the week and near the Sanctuary entrances on Sunday mornings. Let’s spread the word about our fabulous faith community!
Support Nurse-Family Partnership
Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. Thanks to your support of February’s special offering, Mother Hubber’s Cupboard now has an additional $350 to serve our neighbors with emergent needs. Thank you!
On Sunday, March 19th, another special offering will be received to support Nurse-Family Partnership. The IU Health Community Health in Bloomington Nurse-Family Partnership program is focused on helping families in our community have healthy pregnancies and healthy, thriving parents and children. Services are offered at no cost to those eligible throughout pregnancy and continue through the child’s second birthday. Thank you for your generous support of this meaningful ministry!
In January, total income was $25,000, with identified giving coming in at 8% of what has been budgeted for the year. Expenses for January totaled $36,000. Aside from payroll, most major expenses so far have been for insurance (paid quarterly), fire alarm system maintenance, and expenses for parking lot plowing and repair. A number of large expenses accumulating at the same time have resulted in a low balance in the church’s checking account. A $10,000 transfer from the endowment in January helped to maintain cash flow. The outreach emphasis in January brought in $588 for the church’s Love Fund.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This first Sunday of the month, we will gather at God’s welcome table and celebrate communion together. Note: Communion elements (bread and wine/juice) will be served in the pews for those gathering in the sanctuary; online worshipers are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of the service. Kim Yaussy Albright, Sara Cole, and Michael Shell will serve those gathering in person.
The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Kim Yaussy Albright will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, our fabulous vocal choir will share their beautiful gift of music, and Sam Troxal will offer special music during communion. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Keith Gerber, Dave Meyer, and Ted Wininger will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Rebecca Keith will provide a lovely floral arrangement, in memory of Ann Keith, whose birthday would have been March 8th. And, Kim Yaussy Albright and Rebecca Keith will host coffee hour following worship. Finally, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible.
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 by clicking here
Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals
All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. The vocal choir rehearses in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm. The bell choir is on hiatus and will resume their regular 6:15pm Thursday evening rehearsals in Roger Williams Hall on April 27th.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with members and friends of First United each Monday morning at 10am 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 meet via Zoom only in an effort to be more accessible; join the Zoom meeting here.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue to explore the 36-session video series “The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch” presented by Dr. Molly Worthen. These weekly gatherings are a great opportunity to connect with First United friends though informal conversation (first 30 minutes) followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. While we’d love to see you every Tuesday, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation. See you there!
Children’s Learning Time
Each Sunday, kids in kindergarten and up are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 after Children’s Time during the morning worship service. Many thanks to Sabine Lammers and Emily Mathes for leading CLT this Sunday. Interested in joining our CLT assistant teacher rotation? Contact Molly Koontz.
A Joyful Path
First United will begin using a new curriculum for Children’s Learning Time as we enter the season of Lent. Intended to be inspiring for adult leaders and children alike, “A Joyful Path” celebrates compassion for all, the wisdom within, and a joy-filled life. Using the Bible, sacred texts, and wisdom stories from around the world, “A Joyful Path” helps children learn how to follow the path of Jesus in today’s world emphasizing behavior over belief, teaching reverence and gratitude for this life, and supporting children to find their own inner wisdom and to connect to the Spirit and God Within All. The decision to make this change in CLT curriculum was made in consultation and conversation with parents/guardians, CLT leaders, and the Board of Education. Find out more about “A Joyful Path” here.
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. We are always looking for additional volunteer assistants to help in the nursery occasionally. Contact Molly Koontz if you are interested and with any questions.
Living the Questions 2.0
Many people know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer humanity. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a “thinking” Christian and that “salvaging” Christianity is a hopeless task. For those looking for an opportunity to think and talk through some of these challenges and develop a deeper, more nuanced faith in the process, Pastor Jessica invites you to join together in “Living the Questions” this spring. We will use “Living the Questions 2.0: An Introduction to Progressive Christianity” (LtQ2), a video-based resource with accompanying readings and discussion questions that invites participants to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but may have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.
While LtQ2 offers three “flights” consisting of seven sessions each, we’ll begin our journey of exploration and conversation focusing on Flight 1: Invitation to Journey. Aided by well-respected religious voices from throughout the church, including John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Yvette Flunder, Amy-Jill Levine, and John B. Cobb (find the full list here), we’ll consider how we can take the Bible seriously but not literally; challenges faced by Progressive Christians in the world today; and how we speak about, understand, and experience God and more! If this sounds at all intriguing to you, please contact Pastor Jessica by Sunday, March 12th, and let her know you’re interested; she will follow up with everyone who expresses interest to determine a schedule that will work well for all. Learn more about ”Living the Questions 2.0” here.
Volunteer with Community Kitchen
First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We are going resume volunteering there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our first shift will be March 16th. This also a good way to build community within and outside of our church. To volunteer next month or subsequent months, contact Laurie Eynon (email@example.com or (812) 336-1219); she will sign you up or put you on the call list, whatever works for you. Thank you!
UCC General Synod Volunteer Opportunities
The 34th General Synod of the United Church of Christ will convene in Indianapolis June 30th-July 4th, 2023. Yes, you read that correctly, the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) will host this biennial meeting of the wider church! And, the IKC needs your help to extend an extraordinary welcome to our siblings in faith from across the country and around the globe as they gather together in our home conference. Learn about volunteer opportunities and share your interests by clicking here. Sign up to serve as a volunteer here.
With Synod taking place so close this time around, you are encouraged to consider attending this meaningful event as a guest and getting to know this part of our wider church family better whether you are interested and able to volunteer or not (though volunteering will certainly help with the registration fee; think $275 for regular full registration compared to $65 if you volunteer!). Visit the UCC’s General Synod website here to learn more about what’s in store for General Synod 2023.
First United Songwriting Festival
Do you love First United? Do you love music? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then have we got the opportunity for you! First United will host a songwriting festival this spring in celebration of two important church anniversaries: April 15th will mark the 50th anniversary of First Baptist Church and Christ United Church officially joining together (this was Palm Sunday in 1973), and May 18th will mark the 20th anniversary of the name change of First Baptist Church-United Church of Christ (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) to First United Church (in 2003).
Help us celebrate these milestones as you put your love of First United into song. Maybe you’ll take a favorite tune and give it new First-United-inspired words, or perhaps you’ll feel inspired to write a completely original song music and all. Not sure about taking this on alone? Ask a First United friend or two to partner with you! And, don’t forget to call on the great musical resources we have in so many talented members and friends of our faith community including but surely not limited to our Music Director, Eric Meincke.
So, what about timing? It would be great to have submissions in by mid-April (a firmer date is TBD) so that Eric can offer any assistance needed and the choir can start learning the songs in preparation for a performance event in mid-June (tentatively Sunday, June 11th in conjunction with our Congregational Meeting). That is when we will venture to join our voices together in singing these creative expressions in celebration of First United’s history and anticipation of the days yet to come.
A Coffee Hour Every Sunday!
The Member Relations Committee (MeRC) is encouraging our congregation to offer simple fellowship after worship every Sunday. You can sign up here, and click here to view revised instructions. Fellowship is vital to a strong community and easy to support with the gift of minimal time and effort. Malissa Sparks or Mary Peckham can answer any questions you may have. And, a reminder that, while hosts are free to supplement items if they wish, all food, drink, and serving supplies are provided by the church.
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Cell) (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – email@example.com; 812-332-4439 (Office)
- Eric Meincke, Music Director – firstname.lastname@example.org; 501-837-2708 (Cell)
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – email@example.com
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-325-0145 (Cell)