- 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 (needed 11/20, 11/27, & 12/04)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 12/04)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 11/27)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Harvest Ingathering/Outreach Food Drive
While the Board of Outreach regularly invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex, this month we encourage you to bring a “super charged” donation this Sunday, November 20th for our Annual Harvest Ingathering. Please bring non-perishable food items to help with this critical community 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. Thank you for your generosity!
Sermon Talk Back
Our monthly sermon talk back will take place this Sunday, November 20th. Worship participants are invited to remain after the service for a moderated discussion on the sermon to discuss what they heard and what questions remain. In-person participants will gather in Roger Williams Hall (feel free to grab and bring a snack from coffee hour), while online participants can simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar (you will be made a panelist so you can be seen and heard).
Sunday Funday (an unprogrammed, informal social and play time) will be held in Fellowship Hall and on the playground (weather permitting) this Sunday, November 20th, 2pm-4pm. Light snacks will be served, and you are welcome to bring a game and/or activity to share. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click here) this Tuesday, November 22nd, 10am-11:30am, as we begin another 36-session adventure exploring “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!
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
This Sunday, November 20th, is Commitment Sunday. By now you have received your letter and commitment cards in postal mail and hopefully have had a chance to prayerfully consider your giving for the coming year. Please think about how you may contribute your treasure, talent, and your time. What are your hopes for next year and could you take a step towards greater generosity to sustain and grow our shared ministry? You can complete an online pledge form at firstuc.online/GROW2022 or bring your commitment card with you to worship on Sunday, November 20th. There will also be extra cards if you need one. Even if a financial commitment is not possible at this time, please complete it with your commitment of time or talent and turn it in on Sunday. All commitments and gifts to our congregation help strengthen who we are and what we can do together.
Budget Hearing and Congregational Meeting
In accordance with our newly revised bylaws, a Budget Hearing, during which the 2023 proposed budget will be presented for comment and revision, will be held immediately following worship on Sunday, December 4th. Our Church Council will then take the congregation’s requests and suggestions under advisement to prepare a final budget to be presented and voted on during our regular Congregational Meeting immediately after worship on Sunday, December 18th. All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend both gatherings. Those joining worship via Zoom will be invited to become “panelists” so they can be seen and heard during both the hearing and meeting.
Candlelight & Carols
Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our special Candlelight and Carols service on Sunday, December 4th at 6:30pm. We embrace the Advent Season with a joy-filled evening of carols and candlelight, readings and reflection, community and cookies. The service will be sprinkled with special music provided by the Choir, the Children’s Choir, and the Bell Choir. As is our tradition of generosity in the celebration of Advent, a special offering will be taken to support First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program as we work together to welcome and provide a circle of support for displaced immigrants. This service will be available virtually through the regular worship link. All are welcome – in person and virtually. Please join us and invite the special people in your life. And, all are invited to bring a dessert to share during a reception following the service.
Pizza & Play
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 Friday, December 2nd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided for this Pizza & Play time; please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, December 1st if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all. These gatherings will be offered on the first Friday of each month, so mark your calendars now. And, feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!
The church office will be closed this coming week, November 21st-25th, due to vacation time and the Thanksgiving holiday. If you are in need of assistance, please contact Pastor Jessica.
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday, we conclude our Season of Stewardship with a testimony on love and acceptance from the Kerstens. The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit and a message for the young and young at heart highlighting this Sunday’s Harvest Ingathering. Marge Steiner 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 tremendous vocal choir will offer their gift of song. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Kim Yaussy Albright and Keith Gerber will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary (sign up here to help), while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Laurie Eynon will provide this week’s floral arrangement in recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Finally, Jim True and Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, many thanks to Mary Peckham for hosting 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 at: firstuc.online/donate
First United Prayer Group
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, once said, “When I pray coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.” In that spirit, a group has formed to study various forms of prayer, from lectio divina to contemplative to intercessory and beyond, and also to practice prayer as a spiritual discipline for faith formation. All are invited to join this prayer group, which will meet in the Chapel, each Sunday morning through December 18th at 9:15am for 45-60 minutes. Please contact Rebecca Hoke-McCall (email@example.com) with any questions.
Hanging of the Greens
Come together for the annual decorating of the Sanctuary with greenery and candles on Sunday, November 27th at 3pm. A simple dinner will be served around 4:30pm. Children are welcome to play an active role in decorating and celebrating our community as we welcome the start of Advent.
Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals
All music lovers are welcome to join both the vocal and bell choirs. The vocal choir rehearses in the Choir Room on Thursdays at 7:30pm, and the bell choir meets on Thursdays at 6:15pm in Roger Williams Hall.
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.
First United has released our very own version of BINGO! It is unlike any BINGO game you have ever played before, because when you play one of First United’s cards, YOU determine which squares get covered. You will not need to wait for some random number to be called. Each square contains a way you can be engaged with or serve First United. If you do something listed in one of the squares on your Bingo card, you get to check it off. The game lasts until Monday, December 12th. Turn in your cards to the church office or in an offering plate by Wednesday, December 14th; all returned cards will be evaluated for the most BINGOs and be eligible to receive one of the goody bag prizes. Winners to be announced and prizes to be awarded during the December 18th Congregational Meeting. Don’t have a card? Pick one up from a table near the Sanctuary entrances/exits, in the church office, or by contacting Malissa Sparks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Junior & Senior High Youth Group Co-ops
First United youth (grades 6-12) and their friends are invited to participate in two new cooperative youth groups to connect with friends, new and old; engage in a wide range of games and activities; relate faith to actual life (questions welcome!); AND EAT FREE FOOD! This ministry is being offered cooperatively by First United, First Presbyterian, Trinity Episcopal, and St. Thomas ELCA. The High School group will meet next Sunday, November 27th, 5:30-7:30pm, at St. Thomas ELCA (3300 E Third St.). Then on Sunday, December 11th, 5:30-7:30pm, junior and senior high youth are encouraged to gather at First United for a joint Christmas party!
DISP – We Have a New Family!
The Displaced Immigrant Support Program is excited to announce that we are sponsoring a new refugee family! Our new family is in their early stages adjusting to a new place and culture, and we were blessed to welcome them in last week’s worship service. They were welcomed by Exodus into the temporary DISP-provided furnished apartment fully stocked with food, hygiene items, and other basics. The family consists of mom, dad, and two daughters, ages 8 and 15. They are from Honduras and their native language is Spanish. The DISP team is just beginning to meet this family and start supporting their transition to a new life in the United States. We are scheduling outings to grocery stores, clothing stores, and parks as part of their initial welcome period to make sure they have what they need to get started. Thank you to Sandy Keller at My Sister’s Closet for assisting with clothing needs in the upcoming week!
If anyone is interested in volunteering directly with this acclimatization process, our immigration partner, Exodus, requires a background check and official training; please contact Hopi Stosberg if you are interested in helping out in this way. In the upcoming weeks there will be opportunities to meet the family as they gain comfort and confidence in their new environment. We will also be asking for contributions of time and household items to smooth their transition as they move from the temporary (furnished) apartment into unfurnished housing. At that time, we will be asking for specific items to ensure they have a livable space that fills their needs. Please contact Hopi Stosberg (email@example.com) with any questions.
People’s Cooperative Market
During their October meeting, Church Council voted to house the People’s Cooperative Market in our Fellowship Hall each Saturday. The People’s Cooperative Market is a intersectional anti-racism farmers market and artisan vendor space that focuses on food justice work. They started in the spring of 2020 right as the Covid Pandemic hit. Envisioned as an on the ground in person farmers market, they quickly pivoted to an online CSA model with contactless pickup and delivery. In their first two years of operation, they gave away more than $120,000 in fresh, local nutrient-dense food to those in need in our community. This year thanks to grants, they will give away around $80,000 with specific emphasis on food for BIPOC families and filling our local food banks and pantries. They also started their own pantry called People’s Open Pantry (POP), a zero barrier pantry at New Leaf, on Saturdays, 11am-1pm.
They are extremely excited to bring People’s Market to our Fellowship Hall and start a new partnership with our church. They encourage all First United members and friends to attend the Saturday markets and/or order from their online CSA for pickup or delivery. Their Saturday markets from now until the new year will be Winter Holiday markets with plenty of artisan goods available for gift giving along with fresh local groceries, hot tamales, pastries and other fresh baked goods, and free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate every week! The market space is a social space where community happens. All are welcome to join on Saturdays in Fellowship Hall, 10am to 2pm!
Children’s Learning Time
Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 after Children’s Time is offered during the Sunday morning worship service. The children will spend some time each Sunday rehearsing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” in order to sing it during the Candlelight & Carols service (December 4th at 6:30pm) and a Sunday morning service during Advent. Many thanks to Ted Wininger and Sandra Hendricks 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 9:30am-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.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Monday mornings 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.
Nursery Worker Needed
First United is seeking an additional nursery worker to staff our church nursery on Sundays from 9:30am-12pm. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying, please send a resume or letter of interest to Molly Koontz at Molly.Koontz@yahoo.com.
- 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)