• Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Virtual Café and Adult Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Midweek Eastertide Services – Wednesdays @ 12:30pm; Sign up here
  • Ecumenical Progressive Christianity Conversations – Wednesdays @ 3pm; Join Zoom Meeting here


Celebrating Mary Cavin’s 100th Birthday

Longtime member Mary Cavin will be celebrating 100 years of life this Monday, May 10th. Let’s show Mary our love by sending her a birthday card! If you’ve not yet done so, you may send cards to Mary’s daughter Mia Burton, and she will take them to Mary for her birthday. Address: Mary Cavin c/o Mia Burton 4088 West Coffey Lane, Bloomington, IN 47404


Expressing Two Years of Gratitude for our Leadership

First United leadership changes in June, including the president, vice-president, and past-president. While we could offer our thanks in past years at our annual meeting, this year we are being creative yet again…

A great deal has happened in the past two years:

  • We now have a new settled senior minister
  • The choir loft has been renovated with safety in mind
  • We’ve learned to worship in new ways
  • We’ve become experts in Zoom for worship and meeting
  • We’ve made tough decisions about our building use
  • We’ve stayed connected as a congregation, even virtually

The leadership of our congregation – council and committees – have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout these years. Now you have an opportunity to express your thanks. Here’s the plan:

WRITE your thanks on paper or poster board. (Use dark colors or black.)

PHOTOGRAPH you holding your thank you sign. (Make sure you can read the words in the photo.)

SEND your image to Elizabeth Busey (ebusey@yahoo.com). (Send at the largest resolution – your phone will ask you.)

DEADLINE: Friday, June 4th

Don’t want to do this alone? Need help taking a picture? We will have supplies and willing photographers at both outside 5pm vespers services on Sunday, May 16th and 23rd.

NOTE: The images will be compiled in a video format which will eventually be available on our Vimeo channel. Your name will not be attached to the image.

A Death in Our Church Family

Patti Pizzo died peacefully at home on the morning of Monday, May 3rd, lovingly attended by many of her children. She would have been 94 this Saturday (born May 8th, 1927). The family plans to hold a celebration of life for her at the church, hopefully this summer when Covid-19 restrictions have relaxed. We send our love and sympathy to the extended Pizzo family.

Justice Forum Recording

A recording of the April 20th Justice Forum is now available online here; we are working on posting it to the church Vimeo page. The forum was entitled Environmental Action: Close to Home and Beyond and featured guest speakers:

  • Paula Brooks, Environmental Justice Coordinator, Hoosier Environmental Council
  • Dave Rollo, Bloomington City Council Member (Environmental and Sustainability Commissions)
  • Mark Stosberg, “Bikes as Transportation” Blogger, “RideAmigos” for Smarter, Commuter Solutions, First United member

Racial Justice Working Group

The next meeting of the Racial Justice Working Group is Sunday, May 16th 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. The group is currently working on a racial justice commitment statement, reviewing resources to engage in an anti-racism audit of our church, and considering opportunities for us to take direct action. Contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai if you are interested in joining this initiative or if you have any questions or concerns.

Join Zoom meeting here

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

Pentecost Worship with the ABC-RGR

We will gather with our wider American Baptist family as we join together in worship with churches across the Rochester/Genesee Region for a celebratory service on Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd at 11am. Notice that this collaborative service comes with a shift in worship time as the service will begin half an hour later than usual. This service will take place via Zoom (link will be shared in upcoming announcements emails). Those who would like to connect directly with our First United family that morning are welcome to gather via the church Zoom account (same link as regular worship) for a pre-worship “Coffee Time” beginning at 10:15am.


Sunday Morning Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am (10am Log in). This week’s Sunday service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit, a message from Derek Roe, M.Div., for the young and young at heart, moving music from Sam Grace and Hansol Kim, a special music offering from the First United Choir, and an original poem from Lisa Kwong. We will also be celebrating communion; you are invited to bring a “nibble” and a “sip” as we gather virtually at God’s welcome table.

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

Midweek Eastertide Services

Throughout Eastertide (the season following Easter leading up to Pentecost) you are invited to gather for in-person, outdoor services in First United’s Courtyard. These short services (15-20 minutes) include readings, prayers, and music to help celebrate resurrection and give thanks for the new life that is springing up all around us. Services are offered on Wednesdays @ 12:30pm (thru May 19th). Masks and distancing are required. Participation is limited to 15 people. Sign up here to reserve your place or contact Lisa in the church office.

Outdoor Vespers

You are invited to gather on the lovely green space behind the church building two Sunday evenings during May for outdoor vespers. These evening services will begin at 5pm on Sundays, May 16th and 23rd. We will worship using Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer. This predominantly-sung service uses contemporary and inclusive language and offers space for quiet meditation, spoken prayer, and the presentation of scripture. A children’s book will also be shared for the young and young at heart among us.

The sound system will need to be set up outside to facilitate these services. If you are willing and able to help with the set up (with and under the guidance of those who have done it before), please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai.

Indoor Worship Update
During their April 21st meeting, the Church Council voted to safely open the sanctuary for Sunday services to 15 adults beginning June 6th. Additional information will be forthcoming.


Food Drive for Humans and Pets

Mark your calendar: Another food drive for humans and pets! Saturday, May 22nd, 10am-2pm. Join us to help make a difference for those in our community who are in need. Masks and social distancing required.

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.

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 May 22nd! Thanks in advance! Your Outreach Board

Monroe County CASA – Virtual Lunch & Learn

Monroe County CASA invites you to participate in a virtual Lunch and Learn for potential volunteers on May 11th starting at 12pm on Zoom. Monroe County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides advocacy for children who are involved in abuse or neglect cases in the Monroe County court system. If you have ever considered becoming a CASA volunteer or board member, this event is for you! During this hour-long session, you’ll be able to talk to current volunteers and staff members about what it is like to be a CASA volunteer. The number of children assigned to the CASA program by the court continues to grow, so additional volunteers are needed! To receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting, email amber.shride@monroecountycasa.org or look under the events tab at facebook.com/monroecountycasa.

Ministers of Care

The Ministers of Care group is seeking people who would like to visit one or two older church members about once a month in their homes (or to connect over the phone as concerns regarding COVID-19 persist). These visits could last about 20-30 minutes and would be scheduled at your convenience. If you would like to learn more about this meaningful ministry, please contact Sarah Burton (812-361-6201 or burtonsp@indiana.edu).

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.


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 offer his final lecture comparing and contrasting the four sages he has introduced throughout the series. We will be starting a new series (TBD) on Tuesday, May 18th. If you haven’t joined the group before, that would be a great time to start!

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 email lessons that families can engage with together, including craft and activity resources. The weekly videos are on hiatus due to technology challenges. Please contact Derek Roe with feedback or questions!

KukSunDo Classes Resume

Youshin Choi has begun offering virtual KukSunDo (Korean Yoga, Meditation and Martial Arts) classes. Participants may join the class flexibly, joining any of the warm-up exercise, meditation, and cool-down exercises or the full 1-hour course.

  • Evening sessions: M/W/F 5:00pm EDT
  • Morning sessions: T/Th/Sa 6:00am EDT

Classes are recorded on Zoom or YouTube, so you can repeat or play anytime you miss class. Feel free to invite friends or family to any session. You may text Youshin directly at 812-325-0898 to obtain the Zoom link.

Ecumenical Progressive Christianity Conversations

The Board of Christian Education suggests that you check out a weekly ecumenical conversation on Progressive Christianity hosted by David Garshaw each Wednesday, 3:00pm-4:30pm. For more information about the group, contact David Garshaw (dgarshaw@sbcglobal.net). To join a Wednesday afternoon session on Zoom, click here. (Note: David Garshaw is a regular participant in our weekly Tuesday morning Virtual Café and Adult Discussion.)


Special Congregational Meeting

A special meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, May 16th immediately following worship. Three items will be put before the congregation for a vote:

  1. The Nominating Committee’s Slate of Officers and new Board Members,
  2. A Council-approved Land Acknowledgement from the Racial Justice Working Group, and
  3. The Council-approved recommendation of the Memorial Endowment Committee and Finance Committee to transfer the full value of the combined investment funds of the church to United Church Funds by December 31st, 2021.

Lawnmowers Wanted!

Spring has sprung, and the grass is growing! The Board of Building and Grounds is looking for volunteers who are interested in helping keep our grass looking welcoming as we gather for in-person, outdoor activities. All necessary equipment is provided. Please contact Ted Wininger (twininger68@gmail.com) if you are interested in joining our rotation of mowers.

Regular Monthly Board, Committee, and Council Meetings

The Permanent Boards of the congregation, Finance Committee, and 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.

  • Outreach (Rebecca Nunley) – Wednesday, May 12th, 6pm
  • Christian Education (Bob Ivie) – Wednesday, May 12th, 6:30pm
  • Building & Grounds (Ted Wininger) – Thursday, May 13th, 6pm
  • Worship (Siri Loescher) – Thursday, May 13th, 6:30pm
  • Finance (Kyle Hetrick) – Monday, May 17th, 3:30pm
  • Church Council (Mary Peckham) – Wednesday, May 19th, 6:30pm

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.

Contact Information