• Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Thursdays @ 5:30pm; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 06/05 and 06/12)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 06/05)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


After the initial shock, grief, and despair spurred by yet another mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX, in the wake of those at a shopping center in Buffalo, NY and a hair salon in Dallas, TX, I reached out to multifaith colleagues to plan and organize a faithful response to such preventable trauma and tragedy. For those of you also seeking ways to meaningfully grieve the loss of life, celebrate and remember those beloved ones torn from their loved ones, and engage in transformative action, I offer the following opportunities of which I have been made aware and am helping to organize.

  1. Participate in a walking vigil leaving from the Unitarian Universalist Church (at Fee and the Bypass) this Sunday, May 29th at 12:45pm, and walking to Bryan Park. Once there, participants will form a circle and say a few words, then disperse. You are welcome to carry a sign if you choose. You are invited to meet at the UU Church or join the group at the park.
  • Meet the Bloomington leaders of Moms Demand Action (MDA) next Tuesday, May 31st, 8pm, via Zoom (click here for link). They will share how our faith communities learn about and get involved with their work. You are also invited to join the MDA “Wear Orange 2022” event on Saturday, June 4th, 8pm honoring victims of gun violence (click here to access event info). The event will be held at the Switchyard Park Pavilion and include a proclamation, speakers, and raising orange lanterns to remember all who are negatively affected by firearms. The Bloomington Multifaith Alliance is in conversation with event organizers to determine how we might further support this event.
  • The Bloomington Multifaith Alliance: Children & Youth committee is in conversation with local social workers to organize an event close to the beginning of the school year about how to help children and families feel safe returning to school. Information will be shared as details develop.

Finally, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to talk, to grieve, to rage, to weep, to organize for transformative action that will expose our nation’s idolatrous love of violence and replace it with love, with justice, with truth, with freedom.


Hats Off!

The Bloomington Human Rights Commission selected founder and executive director of My Sister’s Closet (and beloved member of First United), Sandy Keller, as the recipient of its 2022 Human Rights Award. The award will be presented to Sandy during the June 1st meeting of the Bloomington Common Council. The meeting begins at 6:30pm at Showers City Hall and can be viewed on Zoom. Congratulations, Sandy! For more information, click here.

Joint Potluck for Exodus Sponsors and Families

You are invited to participate in a potluck/pitch-in bringing together the sponsors and guests working with Exodus to resettle refugees and evacuees here in Bloomington. The event will be held next Friday, June 3rd, 4pm-8pm, in Upper Cascades Park at the Lion’s Den shelter house. Food cannot have pork or pork products in it. If you are bringing a dish with halal meat, please notify organizers when you arrive so it can be labeled. And of course, no alcohol. Plates, silverware, cups, and napkins as well as beverages will be provided. The shelter house is next to a nice playground, and there will be activities and games for children and adults who wish to participate. If possible, please contact Cindy Neidhart (cneidhar@indiana.edu) to let her know you are planning to attend so she will have a rough estimate for providing the supplies. RSVP is not required to attend.

Indiana-Kentucky Conference Annual Gathering – HELP NEEDED

Your help is needed at the IKC Annual Gathering this year! If you are able and available on Thursday, June 2nd (evening) or Friday, June 3rd, you are encouraged to find a spot where you would like to volunteer and sign up! Many shifts are short, and the Planning Team would be most appreciative of your help and love to see you there! There are in-person and virtual opportunities to help this year, including: Setup and Teardown, Hospitality, Virtual Tech Stewards, Greeters, and Food Service Assistance. Click here to see all of the volunteer opportunities and sign up today!

Additionally, the Planning Team needs help from Conference congregations to supply food items for the Annual Gathering Banquet. A Sign-Up Genius site has been set up for those who willing and able to donate the needed items. Please click here to see what items are being requested and to sign up to help. Specific drop off dates and times will be communicated at a later date, but please plan to deliver to Frieden’s UCC (8300 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46217) the week of May 30th, 2022 (Contact Pastor Jessica if you would like help getting your contribution to Indianapolis as she will be attending the meeting in person and is willing to haul food if needed.). Becky Moore, the Annual Gathering coordinator, will be in touch with those who sign up to communicate details about drop off locations and times for your items.  She can be reached at r.sowder@sbcglobal.net for any questions or correspondence. Thank you for your willingness to help in any way to make this Annual Meeting Banquet a truly abundant and joyful feast!


One Great Hour of Sharing Offering

One Great Hour of Sharing is a special mission offering of both the American Baptist Churches (USA) and the United Church of Christ. This offering supports disaster, refugee, and development ministries both domestically and abroad. We will collect this special offering during worship on Pentecost Sunday, June 5th. Click here to learn more about the impact your donations to this special offering make. If you are unable to join us for worship on June 5th, you may contribute by sending a check to the church office or by giving online here (through the UCC) or here (through the ABC-USA).

Congregational Meeting

Our regular June Annual Meeting scheduled for Sunday, June 12th immediately after worship. Our President Rebecca Keith will report on the excellent things our church has been doing, and the congregation will be asked to consider and approve proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of First United Church (to be shared imminently for your review). A quorum of 50 members (with 2/3 voting “yes”) is required in order to amend the Constitution and Bylaws, so please plan to attend the meeting in person or via Zoom (simply stay on the webinar and you will be made a “panelist”).

Food Drive for Humans and Pets

The Board of Outreach received an overflowing car trunk load of food (239 pounds) on Saturday, May 21st in addition to a small amount of cleaning supplies and some socks. One large bag and four smaller bags plus two cans of pet food were also donated. Financial donations of $175 were also received. Thanks to all who assisted with food drive and gave donations!

MCUM reports their food pantry donations have been somewhat lower perhaps due to rising food prices, and their current priority needs are for rice and helper meals. Donations can be made anytime using the shelves outside of the church kitchen.

Concert to Benefit Refugee Support in Bloomington

The Chasqui Quartet, a wonderful string quartet consisting of Sarah Cranor and Alejandro Gómez Guillén (violins), Han Dewan (viola), and Amy Huzjak (cello), will kick off their 2022 Midwest concert tour right here at First United this Tuesday, May 31st at 7pm before moving on to sites in Franklin and Nashville, TN. They will also offer special music during this Sunday’s worship service.

Following a successful Colorado residency in 2021, Chasqui Quartet presents “Journeys,” a musical trek crossing centuries and continents. Music of Florence Price, Franz Josef Haydn, and Gabriela Lena Frank depicts travel on foot and on horseback, up mountains and into the spiritual realm. Playing together since 2019, Chasqui Quartet is known for their commitment to the storytelling power of music, creating immersive concert experiences rooted in local communities and causes. Several of the members are very active and well known in our community.  

This group is very supportive of our community efforts to help asylum seekers, refugees, and other displaced migrants, and they are donating a portion of the proceeds from this tour to the Bloomington Refugee Support Network. Admission is free.


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit and will also offer a special message for the young and youth at heart. Lisa Kwong will again present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. The Chasqui Quartet will offer special music throughout the service in addition to the beautiful music led by Hansol Kim. Dave Meyer and the Koontz family (Molly, Noel, Aidan, and Lochlan) will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. 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 at: firstuc.online/donate


Get to Know First United

A “Get to Know First United” gathering will be offered in Roger Williams Hall on Sunday, June 5th immediately following the worship service. Through this 45-60-minute gathering, participants will gain a better understanding of what First United is about and ways to engage in our shared ministries and learn a bit about our governance structure. If you are newer to First United and/or interested in becoming a member, you are encouraged to attend! Light refreshments will be served. Contact Pastor Jessica with any questions or concerns.

Pizza & Play – NEW DATE FOR JUNE

Members,families, and friends are invited to come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided for this Pizza & Play time. These gatherings will typically be offered on the first Friday of each month. However, due to a number of unforeseen conflicts, we have moved the June event to the second Friday of the month, so mark your calendars now for Friday, June 10th, 5:30pm-7:30pm. Please contact Pastor Jessica by June 9th if you plan to attend and with any food allergies/restrictions so she can be sure to have enough pizza on hand. And, feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!

Coffee Hour!

Bimonthly summer coffee hours are planned for June 12th and 26th (a celebration and send off for Sam Grace and family) and July 10th and 24th. Click here to sign up to volunteer to host. Clear instructions regarding setup/cleanup and guidelines for serving snacks like trail mix, etc., will be posted in the kitchen and emailed to each volunteer. All food, drink, and serving supplies are provided by the church, though hosts are free to supplement items if they wish.


CLT and Nursery Care

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 during the last half of the Sunday morning worship service. Many thanks to Ted Wininger (our interim Lead CLT Teacher!) and Noel Koontz for leading CLT this Sunday. Interested in joining our CLT assistant teacher rotation? Contact Molly Koontz.

Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Emily Mathes and Molly Koontz will ensure our little ones are safe and engaged in fun activities during worship this Sunday. We are still looking for additional volunteer assistants to help in the nursery occasionally. Contact Molly Koontz if you are interested and with any questions.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in person (Roger Williams Hall) or online (click hereon Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we continue a 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation.

Off-Topic Scripture Circle

You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Thursday evenings, 5:30pm-6:30pm 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 will meet via Zoom only (at least for the first couple of months) to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.

Library Committee – A Thanks and an Invitation

The Board of Education wishes to thank Allison McClanahan and the library committee of Andy Fak and Ralph Gaebler for their service in the church library. Allison is stepping down from the chairperson role, and the Board is in search of a new Chairperson and additional committee members. Allison has graciously agreed to meet with and train whomever is interested in the position. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact Molly Koontz at molly.koontz@yahoo.com.



As you have likely heard, Sam Grace will be leaving employment with First United Church at the end of June. Sam has been a valued part of our church family since 2019, coordinating and offering inspiring, comforting, moving music during a time of great transition and a global pandemic; he’s served among us with grace, generosity, kindness, and love. We celebrate his graduation and attainment of his Doctor of Music degree and offer him and his family our heartfelt prayers and support as they transition into their next stage of life and will do so formally during worship on Sunday, June 26th.

A hiring committee has been formed to seek a new Music Director as we remain committed to offering meaningful musical opportunities for our congregation. They are finalizing the job description and will share more information as it becomes available. Please contact Mary Peckham, Rachel Caswell, or Pastor Jessica with any questions.

Job Opportunity!

First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (info@firstuc.org) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. Thank you for your help!

Contact Information