• 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 11/05, 11/12, & 11/19)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (welcome 11/05, 11/12, & 11/19)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 11/05, 11/12, & 11/19)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 11/05)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Pizza & Play TONIGHT!

Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play TONIGHT, November 3rd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ll enjoy a time of informal, unprogrammed fun and fellowship in Fellowship Hall and surrounding areas, both inside and out (weather permitting). As the name implies, pizza, drinks, and dessert will be provided. Hope to see you there!

Fall Workday

Join the Board of Building and Grounds TOMORROW, November 4th, 8am-11am for a workday to help us keep the grounds looking good. We will be raking, weeding the courtyard, cleaning leaves from the gutters, and doing other chores. We have some rakes and snips, but more would be welcome. Hope to see you then; it will be a good time!

Daylight Saving Time Ends – Fall Back

A reminder that Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday, November 5th at 2am, so remember to set your clocks back one hour before you head to bed on Saturday night and get an extra hour of snoozing time, or you may end up at the church an hour earlier than intended!

Happy 100th Birthday to Marie Webster

Longtime member Marie Webster will turn 100 this Sunday, November 5th. If you would like to send Marie birthday wishes, her address is Gentry Park, 901 S. Hastings Drive Rm#1250, Bloomington, IN 47401.

All Saints’ Sunday with Special Music

Join us this Sunday, November 5th, as in reverence and remembrance we light candles and toll a bell in honor of the life of congregants who have died in the past year. As part of our observance, we invite you to bring candles to light in remembrance of deceased loved ones and display on a table on the side of the sanctuary. These can be for family members and friends or other influential individuals; there will also be an opportunity to share the names of these beloved. Those who choose to bring candles should take them with them at the end of the service.

Additionally, the First United Vocal Choir will mark the occasion with a very special performance as they have been working hard to prepare John Rutter’s Requiem, a beautiful choral work, showcasing the choir and Hansol Kim accompanying on piano. The Requiem Mass is a standard setting of liturgical texts meant to commemorate the loss of life. Rutter’s setting features both traditional Latin texts along with English texts throughout. He also mixes different styles throughout the piece, constantly going through moments of anguish and hope, emotions often associated with the very human reality of death. The service will feature more music from the choir than usual, as we wish to present this piece on this special day in as much of its entirety as possible. We hope you will be able to join us this All Saints’ Sunday for this very special presentation.

Harvest Ingathering

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, we encourage you to bring a donation every Sunday in November leading up to our Annual Harvest Ingathering on Sunday, November 19th. Please bring non-perishable food items anytime and every time you come to our building 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!

“Poverty, By Bloomington”

The Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity will host the event “Poverty, by Bloomington” this Sunday, November 5th, 2pm-4pm, at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. The event will feature a panel with representatives from four Bloomington non-profits (Beacon, MCUM, Thriving Connections SCCAP, and New Leaf New Life) to discuss the issues raised in the book and how they see them applying here in our hometown. And, Pastor Jessica will serve as one of the event hosts. It will also be accessible via livestream (click here). For more information click here.

Time to Order Holiday Poinsettias 

Brighten the church sanctuary with Holiday Poinsettias and support the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra by ordering poinsettias through the BSO’s Annual Poinsettia Sale. To order poinsettias to decorate the chancel during Advent and take home afterward, bring your check (made out to BSO Poinsettia 2023) to the church office or place it in the offering plate no later than Thursday, November 9th; write “poinsettias” in the memo line. Each plant costs $15.00, beautifies the church, and supports the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. Your poinsettias may be picked up outside Fellowship Hall on Monday, December 18th, if you would like to take them home. Please let Lisa in the church office know if you would like to order one.


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 (who is recovering from a successful liver transplant)
  • James Lane
  • Jeanne and Norm Overly
  • Sam Troxal
  • Parker Waltz
  • Jarrel Releford (friend of Parker Waltz)

Out of the Office      

Pastor Jessica will be on vacation Sunday, November 12th and Monday, November 13th. Many thanks to Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall for leading worship on Sunday, November 12th. Contact Lisa Stanger with any needs during regular office hours and Mitchell Farmer for any after-hours needs.

The church office will be closed the week of Thanksgiving (beginning November 20th) with Pastor Jessica and Lisa away on vacation. Jessica will be back in worship on Sunday, November 26th. Watch your weekly announcements for information regarding who to contact during that time with any emergent needs.

BMA Thanksgiving Celebration & Vegetarian Pitch-In

On Monday, November 13th, at 7:00pm, the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance will host a Thanksgiving Celebration and Vegetarian pitch-in at St. Thomas Lutheran Church (3800 E. Third St.) in Community Hall.

The vision for this event is an international, vegetarian pitch-in dinner with mid-meal blessings (short offerings about faith and gratitude) from the various religious communities that make their home in Bloomington. All are invited to bring a vegetarian dish to share!

Strategic Planning

Council meetings are always open to the congregation, but we would like to extend a special invitation for members and friends of First United to participate in the November 15th Council meeting starting at 6:30pm. Council will gather in Roger Williams Hall (Zoom option available) and use this meeting to begin exploring a strategic planning initiative for our church building and grounds. If you are passionate about the future of our church and want to contribute your ideas and expertise to shape the direction of our building and grounds, we invite you to participate in this important conversation.

Sermon Talk Back

Our next sermon talk back will take place after worship on Sunday, November 19th. You are invited to head down to Fellowship Hall to grab a drink and a snack and say “hello” to some church friends, and then gather near the fireplace to engage in informal conversation spurred by the day’s sermon. Share with fellow congregants how the sermon connected with you and your life and ask any questions of clarification or curiosity and be enriched by their sharing. Pastor Jessica will be available to address questions, elaborate further on the day’s message, and share additional thoughts she may have had while preparing her sermon.


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This first Sunday of the month, we will gather at God’s welcome table and celebrate communion together while also remembering the saints who have gone before us. Note: Communion elements (bread and wine/juice) will be served in the pews for those gathering in the sanctuary; online worshipers are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of the service. Kim Yaussy Albright, Sara Cole, and Molly Koontz will serve those gathering in person.

The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Kim Yaussy Albright will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and the First United Vocal Choir will offer special music. Mitchell Farmer will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Dave Meyer and Keith Gerber will offer a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Herbert Sizek will welcome all who join via Zoom. And, Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Sara Ivey Lucas, Flowers

(For all those connected to First United whose hearts are full of memories and love

for those no longer with us; peace and love on All Saints’ Sunday.)

Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment hosted by Sara Ivey Lucas.

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

Christmas Is a-Comin’

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 Tuesday, November 14th.

Choir Rehearsals

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. After their tremendous musical offering on October 29th, the Bell Choir is on break and will gather again for rehearsal on Thursday, November 30th, 6:15pm-7:15pm in Roger Williams Hall. The Vocal Choir will follow suit after offering the Rutter Requiem on this Sunday, November 5th, and begin rehearsing again on 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 ericdmeincke@gmail.com.


Serve Meal with Community Kitchen

First United has a long history of volunteering with and financially supporting Community Kitchen of Monroe County. We volunteer there on the third Thursday of the month, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Our next shift is on Thursday, November 16th. This is also a good way to build community within and outside of our church. To volunteer this month or subsequent months click here to access our online sign up or contact Laurie Eynon (leynon73@icloud.com or (812) 336-1219). Thank you!

Responding to Crisis in Israel-Palestine

Violence has continued to escalate in Israel-Palestine and the surrounding region, and the humanitarian crisis of Palestinians fleeing south has reached the point of deep urgency. In the midst of this ongoing crisis, our partners in Global Ministries in the Middle East have shared an action alert (engage by clicking here) with the wider church calling for a few important steps in advocacy:

  1. Calling for an immediate ceasefire
  2. End of the Gaza blockage to provide safe spaces for Gazan non-combatants.
  3. Release without harm to hostages.

Additionally, you are encouraged to join with folks throughout the world in prayer for the crisis that is unfolding and to engage with some resources and information offered by the wider UCC and partner organizations: Churches for Middle East Peace, Global Ministries, and Open Letter from the Participants in the Palestine Festival of Literature.

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

You are invited to 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 will 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 and Sabine Lammers 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.

Nursery Care

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 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.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club will meet at 12pm on Sunday November 12th in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom to discuss “Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships” by Nina Totenberg. Celebrated NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg delivers an extraordinary memoir of her close friendship of fifty years with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.


Announcements Deadlines

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.

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).

Contact Information