- 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 (05/07, 05/14, & 05/21)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 05/14 & 05/21)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 05/14 & 05/21)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play
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, May 5th, 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, so please let Pastor Jessica know by 5pm this Thursday, May 4th if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all and account for any dietary needs.
First Sunday Food Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex. THIS, May 7th, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. 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; note their special request for pasta, breakfast items, Rice-a-Roni, canned meat, crackers, Jiffy Mix, dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, cleaner, baby wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels.Thank you for your donations to meet ongoing community needs.
“Racially Restrictive Bloomington” Presentation & Conversation
All are encouraged to gather together in Roger Williams Hall THIS Sunday, May 7th, after worship (starting about 11:45am) to learn about “Racially Restrictive Bloomington.” Nate Johnson and Keith Gerber (members of the Bloomington Faith Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity subgroup, facilitated by Pastor Jessica) will share findings regarding racially restrictive housing covenants in our community having diligently researched over 400 properties in cooperation with other BMA F4RE members and the Monroe County Recorder’s Office and History Center. Click here to access some of their findings.
Reader’s Choice Book Group
The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, May 8th at 1:30pm in the home of Jean Peters (2455 Tamarack Trail, Apt. 104 Meadowood). The book for discussion is “The Tale Teller,” by Anne Hillerman. The book group will not meet during the months of June and July. At the August meeting, they will decide on upcoming books to read. All are welcome to join!
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
Church Office Closed
The church office will be closed on Monday, May 8th. Please contact Pastor Jessica if you are in need of assistance.
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 next shift will be on May 18th. This is a good way to build community within and outside of our church. To volunteer this 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!
Support Hotels for Homeless
Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, May 21st, a special offering will be received to support Hotels for Homeless. Executive Director Katie Norris will speak during the service to share about their impactful work. H4H is grounded in low-barrier, Housing First principles proven to reduce homelessness and preserve community resources. In addition to providing shelter in hotel rooms, H4H is committed to helping participants visualize and attain sustainable futures for themselves by utilizing a holistic care approach. For more information about Hotel for Homeless click here.
The Board of Education encourages you to join in worship on Education Sunday, May 21st as we distribute First United scholarships and recognize and celebrate our high school graduates as well as our awesome nursery care providers and CLT leaders.
Sermon Talk Back
This month’s sermon talk back will take place after worship on Sunday, May 21st. You are invited to head down to Fellowship Hall to grab a drink and a snack and say “hello” to some church friends, and then gather near the fireplace to engage in informal conversation spurred by the day’s sermon. Share with fellow congregants how the sermon connected with you and your life and ask any questions of clarification or curiosity and be enriched by their sharing. Pastor Jessica will be available to address questions, elaborate further on the day’s message, and share additional thoughts she may have had while preparing her sermon.
Carpool for IKC Annual Gathering and Synod
Have you been considering attending some or all of either the IKC Annual Gathering (June 1st-3rd) or UCC General Synod (June 30th-July 4th)? Rebecca Keith is planning to participate in parts of these opportunities too! Please email Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in carpooling for either or both. And, see below for more information regarding each event.
For Such a Time as This
American Baptist Churches USA invites you to the 2023 Biennial Mission Summit, June 23rd-25th, 2023, at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Keynote speakers include: Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, Rev. Miriam Méndez, Rev. Laura I. Ayala-Álvarez, and Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall. Registration fees are $229/adult and $99/youth. Click here to learn more about what’s in store and register.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
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 Laurie Eynon 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, and our fabulous bell choir will share their beautiful gift of music. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Bill and Phyllis Perkins will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary (sign up to help here), while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Barb Clark will provide a lovely floral arrangement, in honor of her sister and her celebrating their birthdays on the same day May 5th. And, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, Michael Shell and Mary Peckham will host coffee hour following worship.
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 and Special Music
All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. The vocal choir has concluded their season and will begin rehearsing again in late August (in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm). The bell choir has resumed their regular 6:15pm Thursday evening rehearsals in Roger Williams Hall and will offer their final performance of the season THIS Sunday, May 7th. While both choirs take a break for the summer months, all those who are musically inclined are encouraged to offer your gifts of music during worship throughout June, July, and August. Please contact Eric Meineke or Pastor Jessica if you are interested.
The Hope We Have: IKC-UCC Annual Gathering
You are invited to participate in this year’s Annual Gathering of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) June 1st-3rd at Zion UCC (603 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46202) featuring keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer and Preacher the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson!
If you sign up to volunteer for General Synod (June 30th-July 4th; see below) you can sign up for this year’s Annual Gathering for only $65! A reminder that MIDs attend for free, banquet only attendance is $35, retired clergy are $65, and the regular registration is $130. You can also register for a Boundary Training which will be offered on Thursday from 12pm-4pm for an additional charge of $50.00. Click here to register and learn more! And, please talk with Pastor Jessica if you are thinking of attending as we have funds to assist with registration.
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.
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.
One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
Our One Great Hour of Sharing offering raised $891 dollars! Thank you for your contribution to this wonderful cause. This offering supports disaster, refugee, and development ministries both domestically and abroad. Click here to learn more about the impact your donations to this special offering make.
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet on Sunday, May 14th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. We will read and discuss “Behave” by Andromeda Romano-Lax—the story of Rosalie Rayner an ambitious young wife and mother. In 1920, when she graduated from Vassar College, Rayner was ready to make her mark on the world. Intelligent, beautiful, and unflappable, she won a coveted research position at Johns Hopkins assisting the charismatic celebrity psychologist John B. Watson. Together, Watson and Rayner conducted controversial experiments on hundreds of babies to prove behaviorist principles. They also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them both their jobs—and recast the sparkling young Rosalie Rayner, scientist and thinker, as Mrs. John Watson, wife and conflicted, maligned mother, just another “woman behind a great man.” This novel offers a provocative fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose work influenced generations of Americans, and whose legacy has been lost in the shadow of her husband’s. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).
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.
Our youngest children are welcome to spend time from 10am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Lena Stosberg and Jessica McIntosh 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.
We had our 50th Merger Anniversary Potluck on April 16th, and it was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came out and to all those who cooked, brought items, and cleaned up. Our next event will be the 20th Naming Anniversary Potluck (with Songwriting Festival/Sing-along) on Sunday, June 11th (also the date of the Congregational Meeting!) after worship. The date that we changed our name from First Baptist Church-United Church of Christ to First United Church was May 18th, 2003. Please join us as we commemorate one more great anniversary! And, consider how YOU will be part of making this wonderful event a grand celebratory success! Email or call Rebecca Keith to join the fun: email@example.com or 812-325-0145.
The 2023 Nominating Committee continues our work—Mary Peckham and Sam Troxal (Co-chairs), with Barb Clark, Julia Lebeau, Enrico Lunghi, and Michael Shell representing their boards. We are still prayerfully seeking to fill board vacancies; while we are grateful to have had nominees for the positions of Vice President, Clerk, and Assistant Treasurer offer their service, we still need members for the Boards of Building & Grounds (1 or 2 3-year spots), Education (3 spots for 1, 2, and 3 years), and Worship (2 3-year spots). Please consider thoughtfully whether you might be able to fill one of these spots that are so vital to the running of our congregation, as well as a great way to get to know your church and your community better. You can nominate yourself or suggest that we approach someone you think has gifts to offer; no one is formally nominated without their knowledge and full consent! Please ask us about our work and about these opportunities to serve our faith family!! And, in the spirit of letting each of you know that we see you and all you have to offer, if we approach you, know that if the time is not right for you this year, a seed is being planted for the future. Contact Mary with questions.
As of March 31st, total income is at $93,000 or 29% of budget; however, this includes a withdrawal of $40,000 from the endowment, which is 33% of the approved maximum withdrawal for this year. This was necessary to maintain cash flow, which was dangerously low for the first two months of 2023. Total expenses are at $91,000 or 25% of budget; however, we are behind on budgeted Outreach giving due to the cash flow concerns. Catch-up contributions for Outreach would increase expenses over income for the first three months. However, our extra-budgetary Outreach giving each month is very good. In January, we raised $588 for the church’s Love Fund. In February, we raised $350 for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. And, in March, we raised $337 for the Nurse Family Partnership. Thank you for your continued generosity!
- 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)