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
  • “Rooted in Love” Online Pledge Card – Click here

DON’T FORGET

Office Closure and Article Deadlines

The church office will be closed next Thursday, November 25th, and Friday, November 26th, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. If you have an emergency, please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai on her cell phone (812-727-4414).

In order to be included in next week’s announcements and the December First News, articles must be sent to Lisa in the office by 9am Monday, November 22nd.

Harvest Ingathering and Food Drive

We have been receiving gifts of food to be donated to Monroe County United Ministries throughout the month of November. As a final push before the items are blessed this Sunday and delivered to MCUM on Monday, your Board of Outreach is sponsoring a no-contact Food Drive this Saturday, November 20th, 10am-2pm. Volunteers are still welcome to receive the generous donations of non-perishable food we anticipate receiving and then to arrange the donations in the sanctuary (1pm-2pm). If you cannot make it on Saturday, donations will be gladly received on Sunday morning as well!

We look forward to seeing you this Saturday and Sunday as Harvest Ingathering reaches its culmination and we gather our resources to help members of our wider community who need assistance putting enough on their tables during the holidays—a time when food pantries typically run low. Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

Rooted in Love – Stewardship Campaign

Throughout this year’s Stewardship Campaign, we have been invited to consider how First United roots us in faith. As we conclude this year’s campaign, you are invited to join together this Sunday, November 21st for a service of celebration and blessing as we offer our financial commitments to support the ministry of First United in the coming year. You may submit your pledge card online by clicking here. Or, fill out and bring your physical pledge card to worship this Sunday (we will have extra on hand).

Still deciding on how you will support First United in 2022? Open yourselves to the movement of the spirit as you witness the powerful testimonials offered by fellow members of our congregation sharing some of the many ways in which our church is rooted in love; check out Malissa Sparks’ here, Ted Wininger’s testimony here, Emily Caldwell’s here, and Noel Koontz’s here.

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!

Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will meet in Room 6 and via Zoom (click here) this 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.

Multi-faith Thanksgiving Celebration of Resilience

The Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance will host its annual Multi-faith Thanksgiving Celebration of Resilience this 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 offering 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.”

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

Loss in Our Church Family

Scott Eads, son of Phyllis Eads and brother of Debbie Eads, died on Friday, November 12th, 2021. A time of visitation will be held today, Friday, November 19th, 2pm-4pm, in First United’s Fellowship Hall. We send our condolences, love, and support to Phyllis, Debbie, and all of their family as they mourn this loss. Allen Funeral Home and Crematory have been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences, photos, and memories may be shared with family and friends at www.allencares.com.

Displaced Immigrant Support Program

First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) Committee is preparing to provide transitional support to resettle a family of Afghan refugees here in Bloomington in the near future. We are requesting financial donations from our congregation to provide basic living needs for this initial refugee family and additional displaced immigrant(s) in the future. Our two regular Advent/Christmas special offerings (received during Candlelight & Carols and Christmas Eve) have been designated by the Board of Outreach to provide funding for this program. If you wish to donate funds prior to these special offerings to support this ministry, please write checks to First United with “DISP” in the memo line as the needs are current and ongoing.

As this project advances, an invitation will be extended to the congregation to donate specifically-identified items that will be necessary to outfit an apartment, so please hold onto surplus household furnishings while the list of needs is assembled. Please contact Dave Meyer (DISP Chair; dwm@davemeyer.org) or Pastor Jessica (revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org) for more information or to express your interest in helping.

Candlelight and Carols

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our special Candlelight and Carols service on Sunday, December 5th at 6:30pm. We are overjoyed to be able to join together in person once again for this time-honored tradition (as has become our custom, the service will also be available via Zoom). The service will combine readings, musical offerings, and prayers that invite you to once again consider the inbreaking of God through the birth of Jesus. A special offering will be taken to support First United’s new Displaced Immigrant Support Program as we work together to welcome and provide a circle of support for displaced immigrants.

As we join together in person and via Zoom, the candlelight from the sanctuary and from each of our houses combined with music and reading will make for a warm, meaningful evening. Please make sure to join us and invite the special people in your life.

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit, a message from Derek Roe, M.Div., for the young and young at heart, and special music from Lisa Kwong, and wonderful music from Hansol Kim. With joy and celebration, we will offer and bless our financial commitments to support First United’s ministries in 2022 as our stewardship campaign comes to a close. Eric Metzler will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Andy Fak and Dave Meyer will offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary, and Dedric Dennist will greet those joining us via Zoom. The beautiful flower arrangement is provided by Lisa Kwong. 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!

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!

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.

COMMUNITY CARE

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.

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
Young children (under age 5) 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.

Contact Information