Based on the latest Monroe County data and weighing the impact in our local community, all church activities, including worship, will be offered online only. We hope to return to in-person activities on Sunday, February 6

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
  • Afghan Refugee Donation Sign Up – Click here

DON’T FORGET

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!

Holiday Luminaries

During this Sunday’s Hanging of the Greens, the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) will be preparing the donated clean 1- or 1/2-gallon milk/cider/distilled water jugs for the new luminary project we are beginning this year. Your donations are still welcome as 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, by this Sunday, November 28th. If you are able to remove the label, all the better! Many thanks!

PLARN Mats/Bed Rolls for the Homeless

The Board of Outreach has given its approval for starting an informal group to make PLARN mats/bed rolls for Shalom to distribute to clients who are homeless. PLARN (“yarn” made by joining plastic bag loops together) is used to crochet light-weight, portable mats that provide an insulating layer from the ground, are easy to clean, and don’t attract bed bugs or lice.

Each mat needs loops from 500–700 plastic bags, so it’s a great use for those plastic bags we can’t seem to avoid collecting in spite of our best efforts to use cloth bags. The largest of crochet hooks (size Q) and scissors are the only tools needed, and it is not necessary to know how to crochet to master the one stitch used on this project.

All those interested are invited to gather in Rogers Williams Hall at 1:30pm this Monday, November 29th, to see how PLARN is made, and what a mat (in progress) looks like. At that time, we’ll try to come up with a plan about when/where/how often we should get together to make PLARN (a somewhat time-consuming task) and crochet together. These gatherings will be informal, a time where folks may come and go as their schedule allows; fellowship is a high priority. Bring all your clean, dry, plastic sacks (not newspaper bags) and a pair of scissors.

This is also a project that can be worked on independently at home, especially cutting and looping the plastic strips (making PLARN). There are several YouTube videos that show how to make these mats; one that shows the recycling coordinator of Greensboro, NC, (on their local FOX News 8 channel) explaining the project and giving explicit instructions about how to make PLARN and learn the crochet stitch is particularly helpful. Contact Malissa Sparks (812-322-0942 or sparksmalissa@gmail.com) with any questions.

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

Harvest Ingathering Total

Thank you for your support of this year’s Harvest Ingathering! Because of your generosity, 511 pounds of food was delivered to MCUM to be distributed to those members of our community most in need during this holiday season. A small amount of pet food and cat litter was also donated. Thanks to all who helped by bringing food, volunteers who assisted with the food drive, and those who helped with food display and take down.

Displaced Immigrant Support Program

First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) Committee is now ready to begin collecting donations to prepare the apartment for our Afghan refugee family. Once we are assigned a specific family, we will update this list with clothing sizes and the ages of the children. Please click here to view the online sign-up sheet. Once you see the item you want to donate click on “sign up” and then click on “sign up and submit” at the bottom of the page. On the next page click on “sign up now”. Please note in the comment section if you need someone to pick the item up from your home with your phone number. We can begin moving things into the apartment November 29th, and items can be stored at the church if needed. Please text or call Cindy Neidhart at 812-322-7375 if you have any questions.

Additionally, 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. 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.

Green Team Film Series

First United’s Green Team will host the final screening of their fall film series in the Sanctuary at 2pm on Sunday, December 12th. You are invited join together to view Gather (2020), an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river. The post-screening discussion questions will invite us to wrestle with the ideas in the film and focus on what we can do as individuals and as a congregation to effect positive change.

Rooted in Love – Stewardship Campaign

This year’s official Stewardship Campaign came to a close last Sunday with a celebratory offering of commitments to financially support First United’s ministries in the upcoming year. We know time can go by more quickly than expected and sometimes we need a bit of extra time to make such decisions. So, if you have not yet submitted your pledge card, you may do so online by clicking here or mailing in or bringing your physical pledge card to worship any Sunday. Please contact Lisa if you need a paper pledge card.

If you are still deciding on how you will support First United in 2022, you are encouraged to 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’ testimony here, Ted Wininger’s 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 an intentional 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!

2022 Offering Envelopes and Direct Deposit

For those who would like them, offering envelopes are available on a table outside of the Sanctuary entrance closest to the chancel; you are welcome to pick up a box! Alternatively, if you would like to give to the church through direct deposit, please contact Lisa in the office to make sure she knows you would like to give in this convenient way and has your updated information.

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 wonderful music from Sam Grace and Hansol Kim. With anticipation and hope, the Koontz family will lead us in the lighting of the first Advent candle, and Emily Caldwell will offer a special reflection on hope. Julia Bebeau will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Keith Gerber, Dave Meyer, and Molly Koontz and kids 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 Siri Loescher in loving memory of Aase and Sam Loescher and in honor of their wedding anniversary. And Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual 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

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 using our regular worship link). 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.

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.

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

Our Tuesday morning group is a quarter of the way into a 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