- 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 (needed 12/03)
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 11/26, 12/03, & 12/10)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (welcome 12/03)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 11/26 & 12/03)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 12/03)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Church Office Closed
The church office has been closed throughout this week of Thanksgiving (beginning November 20th) with Pastor Jessica and Lisa away on vacation. Jessica will be back in worship on Sunday, November 26th. You may contact Kim Yaussy Albright (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any emergent needs.
Hanging of the Greens
All are encouraged to join together on Sunday, November 26th, at 3:30pm as we prepare our sanctuary for the Advent and Christmas seasons. We will set up trees, lights, ornaments, battery-operated candles, chandeliers, wreaths, garlands, and more! Kids are most welcome and have proved to have special talents for replacing batteries! After we’re done (about 5pm), we’ll gather for chili and bread in Fellowship Hall, with both vegetarian and meat options. Please bring a small dessert to share. This is a festive and fun event for our entire intergenerational church family. We hope you’ll join us!
Christmas Carol Requests
The holiday season is upon us! As Advent is drawing near, Pastor Jessica and Eric Meincke have turned their worship-planning sights to that holy season. You are invited to be a part of that process by sharing your most beloved Christmas carols with them. They will do their best to make sure we sing each suggested carol at least once throughout the joyous season of anticipation. Please share your requests by Sunday, November 26th.
Youth in grades 6 and up are invited to gather in Room 6 on Sunday, November 26th following worship. Feel free to grab a snack from Fellowship Hall and then join us as we consider your questions, big and small, and explore faith matters as they are relevant to your life using “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity” by David M. Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy as a jumping off point. We gather after worship one Sunday each month for about an hour (schedule TBD). If you or your youth are interested in getting involved, please contact Pastor Jessica.
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
on Friday, December 1st, 5:30pm-7:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided; please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, November 30th if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all. And, feel free to bring a game/activity to share!
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
First Sunday Food Drive
The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on the marked table in the narthex. Next Sunday, December 3rd, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. As always, all of the collected human food and cleaning/hygiene items will go to Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), and pet food will go to Area 10 Agency on Aging. Click here to for a list of MCUM’s ongoing needs.
Candlelight & Carols
Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our special Candlelight and Carols service on Sunday, December 10th at 7pm. 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 our Adult Vocal Choir, Children’s Choir, and Bell Choir. As is our tradition of generosity in the celebration of Advent, a special offering will be taken to support Becky’s Place, a shelter for women and children in Bedford. Please join us and invite the special people in your life. Additionally, all are invited to bring a finger-friendly dessert to share during a reception following the service.
First United’s Drive-Thru Nativity
This Advent/Christmas season, we are once again inviting the Bloomington community (which of course includes all of you!) to drive through our church grounds and hear the biblical Christmas stories anew as we offer a drive-thru nativity experience December 10th—January 6th. (Contact Mitchell Farmer if you are interested in helping with set up.) Here’s what to expect:
- Enter our drive from Third Street, any time day or night
- Get connected: At the start of your visit scan the QR code (use a QR app or your phone camera). The messages will also be available on our church website through a dedicated link entitled “Nativity 2023.”
- OR Pick up a written copy of the messages from the flyer box before the first stop.
- Stop at each of five scenes featuring memorable moments from the biblical stories about the birth of Jesus.
- Each scene includes a scripture reference, a brief exploration of the biblical story, a familiar carol, and a moment especially for children.
- Drive through as many times as you like, and invite your friends and neighbors to stop by as well.
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; she will also offer a special message for the young and young at heart. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Lisa Kwong will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and tenor Michael Varilla will offer special music. We are still looking for volunteers to offer a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary (sign up here to help), while Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will welcome all who join via Zoom as they ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment.
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
All who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry are encouraged to join our vocal choir and bell choir! No prior musical experience is required, but a foundational ability to read music is recommended. Both choirs are currently on break. The Bell Choir will gather again for rehearsal this Thursday, November 30th, 6:15pm-7:15pm in Roger Williams Hall. And, the Vocal Choir will begin rehearsing again this Thursday, November 30th, 7:30pm-9pm, in the Choir Room. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Eric Meincke at email@example.com.
Keeping Up with Our Congregation
Throughout our daily living, we, each and all, experience hardships and struggles as well as celebrations and joys. One of the gifts of being part of a community of faith is that we don’t face the ups and downs and middles of life alone. We invite you to share what is going on in your lives by contacting Lisa Stanger and/or Pastor Jessica so we can appropriately share information (with your permission) with our wider community of care that we might offer our support whatever you may be facing.
You are encouraged to offer your prayers and actions of support for:
- Christopher Meincke
- Michael Shell
- James Lane
- Jeanne and Norm Overly
- Sam Troxal
- Parker Waltz
- Jarrel Releford (friend of Parker Waltz)
The Joy of Hosting
We continue to offer support to weekly coffee hour hosts and encourage everyone to sign up to host—it’s easy, fun, and a great way to serve your church family with a one-time commitment. Sign up as buddies or families, invite someone you’ve been wanting to get to know, use the occasion to showcase a family recipe or try out a new one. Sign up to host by clicking here.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join 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 person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we explore “The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity” presented by Dr. Hans-Friedrich Mueller. After a time of informal conversation, we’ll engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we meet the fascinating, ancient polytheistic peoples of the Mediterranean and beyond, their gods and goddesses, and their public and private worship practices, and come to better understand the foundational role religion played in their daily lives. Previous participation and perfect attendance are not required. Those interested and able are welcome to gather in Roger Williams Hall; those choosing to join online via Zoom can do so here.
Children’s Learning Time
Each Sunday morning, children in kindergarten and up will begin in the Sanctuary with their families and proceed to Room 2 with their adult leads for Children’s Learning Time (CLT) following the Children’s Time. Many thanks to Ted Wininger for leading CLT this Sunday.
We continue to welcome and encourage additional adults to join our teaching rotation to enrich the program for the kids. Lesson materials and supplies are provided, and we have seasoned leaders to help you get acclimated. If you are interested or have questions, please reach out to Molly Koontz, Pastor Jessica, or any member of the Board of Education.
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 Molly Koontz 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.
Budget Hearing and Congregational Meeting
In accordance with our bylaws, a Budget Hearing, during which the 2024 proposed budget will be presented for comment and revision, will be held immediately following worship on Sunday, December 3rd. 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 17th. 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.
Online Directory Available!
An online church directory is available for all members of First United! You may access the directory by clicking on “Member Directory” from the “Member Area” drop-down menu located at the top of any page of the church website. Contact Lisa in the office for your sign-in credentials (you are encouraged to change your password after logging in for the first time).
- 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)
- Mitchell Farmer, Church President – email@example.com; 812-459-3985 (Cell)