• 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 11/13 & 11/20)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 11/13 & 11/20)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 11/20)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Pizza & Play…& Dance Party!

First United families and friends are invited to come together for Pizza & Play (an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground) TONIGHT, November 4th, 5:30pm-8:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided. This month’s offering has been extended by an hour because we will also be celebrating Pastor Jessica’s birthday (on November 4th) with a dance party! The playlist will include music suggested by many members of First United (come hear and dance to your selection!) and mixed by Martin Mutai. Hope to see you there!

Affrilachian Poets at IU

First United member Lisa Kwong was inducted as an Affrilachian Poet earlier this year on Juneteenth. The Affrilachian Poets, established in 1991, is a collective of diverse writers whose work generally centers on family, identity, place, social justice, and/or history. They are committed to challenging stereotypical notions and definitions of Appalachia and leading important diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that serve to dismantle institutional racism in their home region. Since the end of May, Lisa has been working hard to organize a major IU Themester two-day series featuring the Affrilachian Poets on TODAY, November 4th and TOMORROW, November 5th. She is aware that this is a busy weekend with many events but wants to invite her church family to join her in welcoming her fellow Affrilachian Poets to Bloomington. All events are free; there are three public events (documentary screening, panel discussion, poetry reading) open to everyone and one writing workshop that requires registration. Please feel free to attend one or all events. All events are listed on the Themester calendar here.

Fauré’s “Requiem”

TOMORROW, November 5th at 4:00pm at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church here in Bloomington, several local ministries are combining forces to present one of the most beloved choral masterworks of all time, the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré. First United along with First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Mark’s UMC, and Unitarian Universalist Church are pleased to present this program in conjunction with Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), which will receive any proceeds gained from the concert, where voluntary donations will be collected. Our First United Church Vocal Choir will be performing in this very special event and would love to have the support of our wonderful congregation at the concert! It promises to be a moving experience for all as we approach All Saints’ Sunday next week.

Fundraiser for the Dali Academy of Contemporary Art, Kyiv, Ukraine

First United will play host to a fundraiser concert TOMORROW, November 5th, at 7:00pm featuring members of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Junior and Senior Members of the Friday Musicale, and The Indiana Slavic Choir. Admission is free and donations are requested. Donations will go to support students who are unable to pay their tuition because their fathers fell in the war against Russian aggression. For further information contact Vicki King at vickikingpianist@gmail.com.

Daylight Saving Time Ends – Fall Back

A reminder that Daylight Saving Time ends THIS Sunday, November 6th at 2am, so remember to set your clocks back one hour before you head to bed this Saturday night and get an extra hour of snoozing time, or you may end up at the church an hour earlier than intended!

All Saints’ Sunday

Join us THIS Sunday, November 6th 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.

Out of the Office

Lisa Stanger will be out of the office this Monday, November 7th. If you are in need of assistance, please contact Pastor Jessica.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click hereon Tuesday, November 8th, 10am-11:30am, to explore a variety of options and choose our next study. 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.

Your Faith Your Vote

November 8th is our general election day for voters in Monroe County. Remaining early voting dates and times at the Monroe County Election office are: November 4 @ 8:00am-6:00pm; November 5 @ 9:00am-4:00pm; November 7 @ 8:00am-12pm.

Your Board of Outreach encourages you to make your voice heard and vote based on your own values as they pertain to issues and elected officials. One issue for you to vote on this year is the Monroe County Schools referendum proposed to replace an expiring property tax levy this year. All issues and candidates for elected offices can be viewed online at monroecountyvoters.us where you can pick your voting precinct to see your sample ballot. To view a list of all federal, state, and local government candidates go to indianavoters.in.gov.


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 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 will meet for the first time this Sunday, November 6th. 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 (rjimenez@indiana.edu) with any questions.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club will meet next Sunday, November 13th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. We will read and discuss Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. One of the most amusing high comedies, Excellent Women has at its center Mildred Lathbury, a clergyman’s daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those “excellent women,” the smart, supportive, repressed women whom men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighbors—anthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next door—the novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (stonec@Indiana.edu).

Reader’s Choice Book Group

The Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet on Monday, November 14th at 1:30 pm at the home of Nancy Martin (1047 Sassafras Circle Drive; Meadowood). The book for this month’s discussion is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. The story takes place in 1934 on the Great Plains of Texas. Severe drought has ravished the land. Crops fail, water dries up, and the earth cracks open. Dust and sandstorms roll relentlessly across the plains. Eva, the mother of two small children, must make the difficult decision to leave the land she loves and join the great migration to California. The journey is fraught with its own challenges. Come and join the discussion. Everyone is invited.

BMA Annual Thanksgiving Service

The Bloomington Multifaith Alliance will host its annual Multifaith Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday, November 15th at 7pm. This year’s hour-long celebration of unity, song, inspiration, and fellowship will be held in person right here in First United’s Sanctuary and can be accessed online via Zoom by clicking here. Hope to see you there!

Sermon Talk Backs

Our monthly sermon talk back will take place Sunday, November 20th. Worship participants are invited to remain after the service that day 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) on 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!

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.


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday, we continue our Season of Stewardship with a testimony on love and acceptance from Sandy Keller. The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also preside at the table as we celebrate communion together. 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. Sara Cole, Fiora Pizzo, and Sander Keller will serve those gathering in person.

Michael Shell 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 treat us to pieces from Fauré’s Requiem throughout the service. Rebecca Keith will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Linda Smith, Kim Yaussy Albright, and Ted Wininger will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Linda Smith will provide a beautiful floral arrangement, out of thanksgiving for the tremendous welcome she has received from our First United family. Finally, Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, many thanks to Rebecca Keith and Jim True 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

Choir and Bell Choir Rehearsals

Rehearsals for both the vocal and bell choirs have resumed, and all are welcome to join! 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. While support continues to be offered for traditional coffee hours on 2nd and 4th Sundays, YOU are invited to consider creating a “coffee hour light,” a simple gathering opportunity, on 1st/3rd/5th Sundays. 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.

Kettle Fest

Kettle Fest is a tradition we enjoyed as a church family for years until Covid put a temporary hold on potlucks. As this year’s Stewardship Season focuses our intentions toward “Growing a Community of Love and Acceptance,” we are gathering to celebrate our community. While we have no actual campfire kettle (who uses an outdoor kettle anyway?), Sam Troxal will make his delicious burgoo, and lots of smiles and fellowship will be shared. Kettle Fest 2022 will be held on Saturday, November 12th, at 5:00pm. Please click here to review the available volunteer slots, and click on the button to sign up to bring food (other soups, cornbread, side dishes, Harold and Brenda’s Famous Pie) and help out with preparations or clean up.

Fall Workday

Join your Board of Building and Grounds on Saturday, November 12th, 8am-11am to enjoy the beautiful fall weather as we rake, weed, and mulch. Bring a rake, pitchfork, garden sheers, or just bring yourself. It will be a good time.

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 donation every Sunday leading up to our Annual Harvest Ingathering on Sunday, November 20th. 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!

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 2022) to the church office or place it in the offering plate no later than Monday, November 14th; 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 19th, if you would like to take them home. Please let Lisa in the church office know if you would like to order one.

Let’s Play BINGO!

As you may have heard during last week’s worship service and Rally Day, 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 (sparksmalissa@gmail.com).

Your Time and Talent for First United

Last Sunday’s Rally Day highlighted a variety of ways members and friends of First United serve both our congregation and our wider community and ways you can be a part of that service and care. The Member Relations Committee encourages you to consider how you can give your time and talent to and through First United Church during the next year and complete the form found online here or paper version found on tables near the Sanctuary entrances/exits. And, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your past and present contributions to the life and ministry of First United Church.

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. This month the Junior High group will meet on November 13th, 2-3:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal (111 S Grant St.), and the High School group on November 27th, 5:30-7:30pm, at St. Thomas ELCA (3300 E Third St.),


Racial Justice Lunch & Learn

Our next Racial Justice Lunch and Learn (offered via Zoom the first and third Thursday of each month) will be held on Thursday, November 17th, 12pm-1pm. Plan to join us as we explore a powerful video presentation offered by Nurturing Justice and discuss our questions, curiosities, and responses elicited by “Racism as a Public Health Crisis!” with Dr. Carolyn Ross and Karen Watson (access by clicking here; scroll down to the second video from the bottom). Please view the video prior to the Zoom Meeting (join by clicking here). Please contact Pastor Jessica with any questions.

CLT and Nursery Care

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 during the later portion of the Sunday morning worship service. Many thanks to Mary Peckham and Noel Koontz 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.