Candlelight & Carols Service: Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 6:30 PM | Christmas Eve Service: Friday, December 24, 2021 at 6:30 PM

QUICK LINKS

  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here (new link as of 11/05)
  • Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
  • Usher sign up – Click here
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
  • Nov 20th Food Drive and Harvest Ingathering sign up – Click here
  • “Rooted in Love” Online Pledge Card – Click here

DON’T FORGET

Fall Workday

Join your Board of Building and Grounds this Saturday, November 13th, 8am-12pm to enjoy the beautiful fall weather as we rake, weed, and mulch. Bring a rake, pitchfork, garden sheers, or just bring yourself. It will be a good time.

Special Congregational Meeting

A special meeting of the congregation will be held this Sunday, November 14th immediately following the worship service for the congregation to offer formal input and guidance regarding upgrading the church’s audio/visual technology. Discussion and voting will focus on the following narrow question: Does the congregation support the use of the endowment to fund investments in audio visual equipment for First United Church? Council itself has taken no position on the question nor has it made a final recommendation on an AV plan. The outcome of this vote will allow Council to better understand how to proceed. Please plan to attend in person or virtually (simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar).

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club will meet this Sunday, November 14th, 12pm-1pm, in Roger Williams Hall (for those interested in gathering face-to-face) and via Zoom (for anyone who would prefer to join virtually). read and discuss “America for Beginners” by Leah Franqui; this book is similar to contemporary classics such as “Americanah” and “Behold the Dreamers.” It is a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances. As always, we welcome new members to visit as a guest. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

Fall Justice Forum

The Board of Christian Education will host a Justice Forum on the Dementia Friendly Bloomington Movement via Zoom on this Sunday, November 14th, from 2pm-4pm. Guest speakers for the event include Jan Bays, Director of Education and Outreach for Jill’s House and Amanda Mosier from IU Health Alzheimer’s Resource Service-Community Health. Learn more about our family, neighbors and friends living with dementia and what YOU can do to support the creation of dementia-friendly spaces wherever you go! Find and share the Facebook event with friends here. To participate in this event online via Zoom, click here. Or call in at (253) 215-8782 (Meeting ID: 829 5392 6991; Passcode: 603992).

To help our presenters in their preparation process, we are trying to get an estimate of how many people will be attending; kindly let us know you are planning to attend by clicking here.

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

Nametags

A gentle reminder that First United has lovely magnetic nametags on boards located in the Narthex and at the Fellowship Hall entrance that help us to identify one another as we gather together in person for worship (masks can make that a bit tricky!). Please take a moment to put your nametag on as you enter the building on Sunday mornings for worship. If you are in need of a nametag, contact Lisa in the church office.

Rooted in Love – Stewardship Campaign

Throughout the campaign, we are invited to consider how First United roots us in faith. As we continue this year’s Stewardship Campaign over the next couple weeks, you are invited to open yourselves to the movement of the spirit as you witness testimonials by fellow members of our congregation sharing some of the many ways in which our church is rooted in love; check out Ted Wininger’s testimony here, Emily Caldwell’s here, and Noel Koontz’s here.

We will have an opportunity to express our gratitude through making a pledge of generosity for the upcoming year joining your gifts and resources together in support our shared ministry. These financial commitments will be offered and blessed during a celebratory worship service on Sunday, November 21st. Submit your pledge card online by clicking here. Physical pledge cards should have arrived in your mailboxes this week.

While there are many ways to support the congregation, our annual campaign provides a chance to think in a particular and prayerful way about the choices we make with our money in support of the church. Because of YOU, our church shares God’s love. May God bless us in our discernment!

Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will meet in Room 6 and via Zoom (click here) next Sunday, November 21st, 12pm-1:30pm, to conclude our discussion of “How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice” by Jemar Tisby (through the end of the book). Previous participation not required; simply come to the meeting prepared to share learnings, questions, and curiosities spurred by the reading. Contact Laurie Eynon at leynon73@icloud.com with any questions.

Hanging of the Greens

We will mark the first Sunday of Advent, November 28th by joining together from 3pm-5pm to decorate the Sanctuary with greenery and many, many electric candles. The job requires 10-20 people – socially distanced as possible – to work together to bring about the transformation of our worship space to welcome and embrace the Advent Season. Card-making and craft activities will be offered for children in Roger Williams Hall. We hope to see you there!

Temporary Housing Request – Displaced Immigrants Support

Our newly formed Displaced Immigrants Support Committee (DISC) has learned of a need for temporary housing for a woman and her 2-year-old child. She is an asylum seeker as she has been persecuted because of her identity and is currently living in very desperate circumstances in Mexico. Temporary housing is needed for her and her and child; she will be moved into an apartment after the first of the year. Do you have space in your home to offer such short-term housing?

This is not a financial commitment. Nonprofit agencies in Bloomington that support asylum seekers will provide necessary support. These agencies will provide financial support for utilities and other shared expenses throughout the temporary housing arrangement, and an established network of supporters have committed to help her, providing transportation for shopping, medical, library, etc. and friendship to help her acclimate to our caring community. Existing nonprofit agencies will support immigration issues, getting legal support, etc.

If you are interested in this opportunity, as our congregation continues to develop plans to host an individual refugee or family, please contact either Dave Meyer, DISC Chair (dwm@davemeyer.org) or Pastor Jessica (revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org).

Afghan Resettlement Donations: Winter Clothing Drive

As the Indiana weather gets colder Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury are in need of hats, gloves, coats and warm clothes (smalls and mediums for adults work best). There are 2,000 children under 14 years old so coats and fleeces for little ones are much needed. A single pair of boots can make a big difference for a kid who wants to play outside! See list of needed items here. Items can be dropped off at Sherwood Oaks Church (2700 E. Rogers Road, Bloomington; Door 2) Monday-Thursday, 8am-4:30pm.

Can’t make it to the drop-off? You can order clothes and shoes off the Amazon Wishlist here. The list is continuously being updated based on current needs and all packages will go directly to Camp Atterbury. Just choose Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES)’s Gift Registry as the delivery address.

Multi-faith Thanksgiving Celebration of Resilience

The Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance will host its annual Multi-faith Thanksgiving Celebration of Resilience on Tuesday, November 23rd at 7pm. This year’s hour-long celebration of unity, song, inspiration, and fellowship will be held in person only at Trinity Episcopal Church, 111 South Grant Street, Bloomington (To keep us all safe, please wear a mask, and please stay home if you experience any COVID-like symptoms.). During a time when we (as individuals and communities) continue to face physical, social, economic and spiritual hardships and challenges, we take a moment to pause, celebrate together, and support each other in strength, solidarity and resilience.

This year’s offertory collection will benefit Exodus Refugee, a local organization whose mission is to serve the resettlement needs of refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution, injustice, and war by welcoming them to Indiana. To give online, click on this donation link, and then designate “BMA Thanksgiving Service.”

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will feature Derek Roe, M.Div., in the pulpit, a message from Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai for the young and young at heart, and wonderful music from Hansol Kim, Sam Grace, and the First United Vocal Choir. Malissa Sparks with share her “Rooted in Love” testimony (as part of our stewardship campaign), Deborah Piston-Hatlen will share about the impactful work of the Farm to Family Fund, and Kim Jarrett and Jessica Petersen-Mutai will be welcomed as members of First United. Laurie Eynon will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Emily Mathes & Kenny, Kim Yaussy Albright, and Dave Meyer will offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary, and Dedric Dennist (our new Web Content & Media Coordinator) will greet those joining us via Zoom. The beautiful flower arrangement is provided by Dave Meyer. And Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure that all the tech pieces run as smoothly as possible!

Thank you for continuing to mask and distance while in the church building as we find our way through this continuing pandemic and keep the most vulnerable among us safe! The full Reopening Policy can be accessed here. Any questions or concerns regarding the policy should be addressed to the Church Council.

Join the Zoom Webinar by clicking here

Dial-in number: (312) 626 6799; Webinar ID: 828 3681 0281; Passcode: 741101

The service will be posted on Monday afternoon on First United’s Vimeo channel (where you can access all of our previous worship services).

Donate online at: firstuc.online/donate

Holiday Luminaries

The Member Relations Committee (MeRC) wants your clean 1- or 1/2-gallon milk/cider/distilled water jugs for a new luminary project we hope to begin this year. We hope to build up a collection of long-lasting luminaries to use in future years. Please bring rinsed jugs to the church kitchen, where we are collecting them in the back hallway. If you are able to remove the label, all the better! Many thanks!

COMMUNITY CARE

Harvest Ingathering and Food Drive

November is Harvest Ingathering and an opportunity to help others who need help putting enough on their tables during the holidays—at a time when food pantries typically run low. You are invited to bring donations of non-perishable food items through the month until Sunday, November 21st when the bounty will be displayed in front of the Communion Table and blessed before distribution at the MCUM food pantry. To increase the bounty of food, we will hold a Food Drive on Saturday, November 20th, 10am-2pm. Extra volunteers will be needed from 1-2pm to arrange food donations in the sanctuary. Sign up to help here.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS 

Children’s Learning Time – Volunteers Requested

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to a time of learning, fun, and crafts during the last half of the service. The kids will go to Room 2 with their teachers right after the Children’s Time during the service. Their adults can pick them up either there or on the playground once worship is finished. Masks and distancing are required. Safety (in general, but specifically about the pandemic) is our top priority. Guardians are welcome to visit the classroom!

With CLT is back in full swing, we would love to have a few adults interested in helping with the classes sign up to help teach on a rotating schedule to enrich the program for the kids. If you are interested but have questions, please reach out to any member of the Board of Education or Derek Roe.

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! Those who are interested and able to gather in person are invited to gather in Room 6, and those who would like to join us online via Zoom can do so here. See you Sunday morning, 9am-10am!

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

On Tuesday, November 9th, our Tuesday morning group started a new 12-session video lecture series: “History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon” led by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. This study focuses on how the books of the New Testament were selected and passed down to us as scripture. Join us in person or online at 10am-11:30am each Tuesday for a time of informal conversation followed by thought-provoking theological study and discussion. Previous participation not required. For those interested and able to gather in person, we’ll be in Roger Williams Hall; those wanting to join online via Zoom can do so here.

CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

Nursery Care Available and Help Needed
First United’s Nursery has been open for a few weeks now, and young children are welcome to spend time on Sundays from 9:15am-11:45am playing in the nursery or on the playground, weather permitting. Our paid caregivers are in the process of being re-certified for CPR and First Aid. Masks are required indoors for all nursery workers, volunteers, and children over age 2 (see the latest church COVID policy for details). One of our paid caregivers has had to resign from the position, so we are currently in search of another qualified adult to add to our staff. Derek Roe is the contact person for nursery scheduling and questions and may be contacted at faithformation@firstuc.org.

Announcements Deadline

If you would like an announcement included in next week’s church email, please have your item to Lisa Stanger by noon on the Wednesday before.

Contact Information