• Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – NEW TIME 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 10/30 & 11/06)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 10/23, 10/30)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (10/30 & 11/06)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Mission Moment

Be sure to join us for worship THIS Sunday, October 23rd, when Julio Alonso, Executive Director/CEO of Hoosier Hills Food Bank, will join us for worship to share about their impactful work in our community. We will also receive a special offering for Hoosier Hills Food Bank during the service to supplement our congregation’s budgeted giving to this very worthy beneficiary. You won’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity to learn more about this important organization that we continue to support in a variety of ways as a congregation (including a portion of our Outreach budget).

Rally Day and Pumpkin Decorating

Be sure to join your church community THIS Sunday, October 23rd for Rally Day and Pumpkin Decorating! After worship, head to Fellowship Hall to be treated to a souped-up coffee hour featuring a taco bar and mini garlic breads along with doughnut holes, bananas, cuties, and drinks. Then feast on the “all you can eat buffet” staffed by members of our various boards and committees serving up information and opportunities to get involved with our church community. Once you’ve had your fill of those goodies, burn some calories and put your creativity to work with pumpkin carving or painting (bring your own pumpkin; limited pumpkins will be available) and get in the mood for Halloween! All supplies (pumpkins limited) will be provided for painting and carving. Please plan to attend! If you have questions, contact Hopi Stosberg or Mary Peckham. 

Newsletter and Announcements Deadlines

The First News deadline is this Monday, October 24th. If you would like to have an article included in the November newsletter, please have your article turned in to the church office by the end of the day.

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.


Voice Faculty Cabaret

The Voice Faculty Cabaret will take place in First United’s Sanctuary on next Sunday, October 30th at 7:30pm. It will feature members of the Voice Faculty of the Jacobs School of Music, including Jane Dutton, Alice Hopper, Marietta Simpson, Deanne Meek, Patricia Stiles, Brian Horne, Russell Thomas, Zachary Coates, Wolfgang Brendel, Peter Volpe, Kevin Murphy, Allan Armstrong, and Chuck Prestinari. Admission is $10. Proceeds go to benefit the Student NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) chapter at IU.

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) on Friday, 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. Please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, November 3rd if you’re planning to attend so she can be sure to have enough food for all. Hope to see you there!

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.

Your Faith Your Vote

November 8th is our general election day for voters in Monroe County. The deadline to register to vote (October 11th) has already passed. If you are registered to vote, you have may have the option to vote by mail in addition to the option to vote in person. Applications for an absentee ballot can be made in person at the Monroe County Clerk of Court Election office (401 W. 7th St. Suite 100) or online (visit indianavoters.in.gov or monroecountyvoters.us) now through October 27th and requires a driver’s license photo ID number. To be eligible to vote by mail, you must meet one of 12 listed criteria, e.g., I am a voter at least 65 years of age.

Early voting dates and times at the Monroe County Election office from October 12-November 7 are: October 12-14, 17-21, 24-28 @ 8:00am-6:00pm; October 29 @ 9:00am-4:00pm; October 31-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.

Racial Justice Lunch & Learns

Our next Racial Justice Lunch and Learn (offered via Zoom the first and third Thursday of each month) will be held on Thursday, November 3rd, 12:00pm-1pm. Plan to join us as we begin our exploration of three powerful video presentations offered by Nurturing Justice as we discuss our questions, curiosities, and responses elicited by “Decolonizing Christianity: Becoming Badass Believers”: a conversation between the Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO and a prolific author, and the Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Lead for the UCC’s Join the Movement campaign and UCC Minister for Racial Justice. Their 90-minute conversation can be viewed by clicking here (watch prior to the Zoom meeting); join the November 3rd Zoom meeting by clicking here. Please contact Pastor Jessica with any questions.

All Saints’ Sunday

Join uson Sunday, November 6th 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.


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 Bill Perkins. The service will also feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a special message for the young and young at heart. Julio Alonso will share about the important work of Hoosier Hills Food Bank, after which you will be invited to contribute to a special offering to benefit this impactful organization. Sara Cole will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song throughout the service, and our fabulous vocal choir will offer their gift of special music. Rebecca Keith 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, Sara Frommer, Enrico Lunghi along with Julian and Luciano will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, a Rally Day celebration will be our coffee hour in Fellowship Hall following the service. Looking forward to worshiping with you!

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

Sermon Talk Backs

Our monthly sermon talk back will take place next Sunday, October 30th. 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, while online participants can simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar (you will be made a panelist so you can be seen and heard).

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.


BMA Faith for Racial Equity

You are invited to join the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity (BMA F4RE) committee for their regular meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 12pm-1:00pm. Click here to join the next meeting via Zoom on October 27th. The committee continues focusing their work on 1) assembling a map of Bloomington’s whites-only properties and neighborhoods in order to visualize just how much housing in Bloomington was once whites-only by policy and 2) connecting with Monroe County schools and their Parent-Teacher Organizations to address resource disparities.

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.

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. The Senior High Group (grades 9-12) will generally meet at 5:30-7:30pm on the final Sunday of each month (next meeting October 30th at First Presbyterian). The Junior High Group (grades 6-8) will typically meet 2-3:30pm on the second Sunday of each month (next meeting November 13th at St. Thomas ELCA).


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 Sandra Hendricks 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.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click hereon Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we explore the final two sessions of a 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation” and determine our next study. After a time of informal conversation, we engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation.

Off-Topic Scripture Circle – NEW TIME!

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.


Governance Moment: Bylaws and Constitution

Thanks to everyone for showing up and participating in our congregational meeting on September 25th to pass the Bylaws and Constitution revisions. Thank you for showing up, dialing in, and being part of this success that has been over a year in the making. We as congregants and members of First United Church are responsible for how we are run and governed. Your engagement in this process has meant the world to those of us who worked on it so much. The Constitution can be found here, and the Bylaws can be accessed 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.

Job Opportunity!

First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (info@firstuc.org) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. While the hiring team has received materials from a number of applicants, none have yet seemed to be the right fit. Thank you for your help!

Contact Information

Rebecca Keith, Church President – rekeith@iu.edu; 812-325-0145 (Cell