• 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 10/15)
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 10/08 & 10/15)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 10/01, 10/08, & 10/15)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 10/08 & 10/15)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 10/01)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday is THIS Sunday, October 1st. Although the elements we serve for Communion will be our traditional ones, we want to celebrate the day during Coffee Hour by sharing and sampling as many breads that are native to different countries or cultures as we can. If you are able to provide such a bread (either that you bake yourself or purchase), drop it off in the Fellowship Hall kitchen before worship for our Coffee Hour hosts, Cindy Neidhart and Dave Meyer, to prepare for serving.  Examples might be Vietnamese banh mi, Jewish challah, Ethiopian injera, or Indian naan, to name only a few. Please include a label for your bread and indicate any ethnic or cultural connection you may have to it. If you have any recipe books on baking different bread varieties that you would display, bring them along. Your Board of Worship thanks you!

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. THIS Sunday, October 1st, 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.

“Poverty, by America” Book Read

First Unitedis offering a reading group focusing on Matthew Desmond’s “Poverty, by America” as a part of the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity book read on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (August-October) at 12pm-1pm via Zoom (click here to join). The remaining schedule is as follows: October 5th (Chapters 7 & 8) and 19th (Chapter 9 & Epilogue). Contact Pastor Jessica with any questions. See below for additional book groups meeting at alternate times.

Additionally, mark your calendars for the capstone event “Poverty, by Bloomington” on Sunday, November 5, 2pm-4pm, at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. The event will feature a panel of local experts 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.

Pizza & Play

Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play on Friday, October 6th, 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. If you’re planning to attend, please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, October 5th so she can be sure to have enough food for all and account for any dietary needs.


Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club will meet at 12pm on Sunday, October 8th in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom to discuss “The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches” by Sangu Mandanna—A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

Teal Pumpkin Trick-or-Treat Trail

Mark your calendars and plan to join us on Saturday, October 28th, 5pm-7pm, for an inclusive, allergen-conscious Halloween experience! Free and open to all. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way to make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive for the one in 13 children living with food allergies and many others impacted by intolerances and other conditions by offering allergy-conscious candy options and non-food trinkets and treats that are safe for all trick or treaters. Learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here.

In addition to trick-or-treaters, we are looking for:

1) Trail and Trunk Volunteers: Our trick-or-treat trail will be a combination of trunks and tables. These volunteers will dedicate themselves to decorating their car, truck, table, etc. and serve as a spot for the kids to stop and get treats on their walk around the parking lot. This is a great opportunity to meet and connect with the children and families. Also a wonderful idea for those who are creative and love to think big! Contact Pastor Jessica by Monday, October 23rd if you are interested.

2) Treat Sponsors: We are going to need A TON of treats! Because we are dedicated to making this an allergy-conscious experience, we are encouraging financial donations that will then be used to purchase appropriate treats for the kids. Send your donation to the church office or drop it in the offering plate on Sunday mornings; clearly indicate that your gift is designated for the “Trick-or-Treat Trail” by marking your check or envelope. Additionally, we are accepting donations of the following sweet treats: DOTS, Skittles, Smarties, Ring Pops, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Swedish Fish, AirHead Minis, Mott’s Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks. You may leave these donations on the marked table in the Narthex or deliver them to the church office.

3) Inviters/Sharers: Invite friends, family, neighbors, all to come! And, share the event on Facebook; access here.

Finance Update

At the end of August, total income was $222,000 or 69% of budget. Total expenses were at $221,000, or 62% of budget. Therefore, we were breaking even two-thirds of the year through. Unfortunately, some of the anticipated major expenses mentioned previously have not shown up in the accounting yet – they will start showing in September. Beyond the budget, we raised nearly $300 for Stone Belt as part of the August special offering, and $200 for IU’s Crimson Cupboard as part of WelcomeFest.

Out of the Office      

Pastor Jessica will be on vacation Monday, October 9th thru Sunday, October 15th. Please contact Lisa Stanger with any needs during regular office hours and Mitchell Farmer for any after-hours needs.


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. 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 and Sara Cole will serve those gathering in person.

The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; and she will offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. 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 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. Kim Yaussy Albright, Molly Koontz, and Linda Smith will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Kyle Hetrick and Herbert Sizek 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 hosted by Dave Meyer and Cindy Neidhart.

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

Choir Rehearsals

We are grateful for the return of both the vocal choir and bell choir in worship and remind all who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry that rehearsals for both groups have resumed! No prior musical experience is required to join, but a foundational ability to read music is recommended. The bell choir and vocal choirs will rehearse together on Thursdays, 7:30-9pm, now through the end of October as they work on a beautiful, collaborative piece.

Both groups are a great way to share your time and talents with the congregation and for fellowship with your First United community. We perform a diverse selection of music ranging from the Renaissance era to present day and are proud to continue performing music by composers from a variety of backgrounds. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Eric Meincke at ericdmeincke@gmail.com.

The choirs don’t work for you? All those who are musically inclined are encouraged to offer your gifts of music during worship as special music. Please contact Eric Meineke or Pastor Jessica to arrange your special musical offering.


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. However, if information isn’t shared with others in the community and no one reaches out, it can feel like we are on our own. In an effort to more fully live out our identity as a community of love and acceptance, we invite you to share what is going on in your lives. Contact Lisa Stanger and/or Pastor Jessica so we can appropriately share information (with your permission) with our wider community of care (via email, newsletters, announcements, and even from the pulpit) that we might offer our support whatever you may be facing.

A reminder that you are encouraged to continue offering your prayers and actions of support for Jeanne and Norm Overly, Keith Gerber, and Sam Troxal.

Your Member Relations Committee (MeRC) is seeking donations!

In order to stay connected to and engage with folks who might not be able to be with us in person, MeRC is seeking donations of iPads. If you have a generation five or higher iPad that is in good working condition that you could donate for this purpose, Rebecca Keith is happy to accept your contributions. We will also accept cash donations. For more information and to commit to this effort, email rekeith@iu.edu. MeRC will prepare these iPads to enable users to participate in Sunday morning worship and get them to loving hands!

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.

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, October 19th. 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!

Special Offering Update

Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, September 17th, we received $420 for Amethyst House! If you didn’t have the opportunity to donate last Sunday, you may still do so by indicating “Amethyst House” on your check and placing it in the offering plate or delivering/sending your donation to the church office. Thank you!


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.

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.

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 Noel Koontz and 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.

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 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.

2023 Annual AWAB Lectureship Recording

“The church has no problem telling lies if it works to advance their political ambitions, and we see now the extent of Christian nationalist desire for a theocracy rooted in white supremacist, patriarchal values which have nothing to do with the gospel and everything to do with power,” Rev. Dr. Susan Shaw told supporters of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) as she offered the 2023 Annual AWAB Lectureship on September 11th. Her full lecture, entitled “Truth and Lies at the Foot of the Cross: The Church and God’s LGBTQ+ Children,” can be accessed here. All are encouraged to explore these truths and lies at the foot of the cross, as Rev. Dr. Shaw draws from the latest headlines, biological, medical, and social sciences, gender studies, and theological and biblical studies and makes a specific case for Baptist welcome of God’s LGBTQ+ children.


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).

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.

Contact Information