Outdoor Vespers

You are invited to gather on the green space and parking area/driveway near the church tower (same location as last fall’s vespers services) two Sunday evenings during May for outdoor vespers. The first of these evening services will take place this Sunday, May 16th at 5pm (and again next Sunday, May 23rd). Worshippers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to sit on. Those wishing to worship from their vehicles should arrive before 4:45pm to get a parking spot. You may also join us virtually via Zoom here.

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.


First United Green Team

Is caring for Mother Earth a core part of your spirituality? Are you passionate about protecting the environment for our children and our children’s children? Is environmental justice important to you?

If so, you are invited to join First United’s Green Team. Organized under the auspices of First United’s Board of Outreach, the Green Team will identify and implement specific ecological projects that are big enough to make a difference but small enough for us to see measurable results. We will begin our work focused on the domain of food – not only what we choose to eat, but also how, where, and on what we spend our food dollars.

Our work will be rooted in a green theology of stewardship and grow to include learning and sharing our insights with the congregation. The fruit of our work will be the projects we undertake that move us toward a more sustainable future.

If the Green Team sounds of interest to you, please contact Eric Metzler (emetzler@indiana.edu). Once a team has been assembled, a meeting will be set to discuss first steps.

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. This Tuesday, May 18th, the group will begin viewing and discussing a new series entitled The Apocryphal Jesus, a 24-session video lecture series offered by David Brakke, Ph.D., M.Div. Through this series, participants will gain a new perspective on early Christian life and history through non-canonical Christian literature. If you haven’t joined the group before, this 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


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 Liam Koontz. During this Education Sunday service, First United scholarships will be awarded, Bibles will be presented to third-graders, and scholarship recipients, graduates, students, and teachers will be celebrated.

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) we have offered 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. The final midweek Eastertide service will take place this Wednesday, May 19th @ 12:30pm. 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.

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 it will begin half an hour later than usual. 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. Join the service via Zoom here.

Additionally, you are invited to participate in the service’s Call to Worship, which will be pre-recorded and then presented during worship on Pentecost morning.

What to Record

Tell us about your hopes. First and for context, read Romans 8:22-27. It speaks of hope, or that which we hope for, being unseen. Nobody hopes for what is right in front of us. Now record yourself answering the question, “What is unseen in your world/community/neighborhood that you sincerely hope for?”

How to Record

  • Set your recording device for the highest possible resolution. If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry about it. Just send us the best video you can, and we’ll make it work.
  • If you’re using a mobile device, consider finding an interesting/fitting background in front of which to record.
  • Minimize background noise as much as possible.
  • If you’re recording from a phone, please use landscape mode (sideways).

How to Submit

Go to rochesterfbc.org/upload and click the upload link. A new screen will appear to allow you to select the file from your computer or device. Follow the prompts to select and upload.


In order to be included, all submissions must be received by 8am ET on Monday, May 17th.

Contact for problems: brent@rochesterfbc.org

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 shared next week.


Food Drive for Humans and Pets

Mark your calendar: Another food drive for humans and pets! Next 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

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. 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.

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.


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

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

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.)


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.

Upcoming Monthly Meetings

The Finance Committee and Church Council will meet (via Zoom) at the following times. The wider congregation is always invited and encouraged to participate in these meetings. You are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate chairperson if you have matters for them to discuss.

  • Finance (Kyle Hetrick) – Monday, May 17th, 3:30pm
  • Church Council (Mary Peckham) – Wednesday, May 19th, 6:30pm

Announcements, Annual Reports, and Newsletter Deadlines

If you would like an announcement included in the weekly church email, please have your item to Lisa by noon on the Wednesday before. Annual reports and June “First News” articles are due to Lisa by 9am on Monday, May 24th.

Contact Information