• Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
  • Racial Justice Book ClubSunday, October 24th, 12pm-1:30pm; 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
  • Flowers sign up – Click here
  • Nov 20th Food Drive and Harvest Ingathering sign up – Click here
  • “Rooted in Love” Online Pledge Card – Click here


Pumpkin Decorating Coffee Hour

Join the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) and the Board of Christian Education for a fun hour of pumpkin decorating and social engagement after worship this Sunday, October 24th. Bring your own pumpkin/gourd (limited extra pumpkins will be available). Weather allowing, snacks and drinks will be served for outside enjoyment and all kinds of pumpkin decorating will liven up our homes and yards for the fall season. There will be tools and supplies for carving, painting, and other creative decoration ideas for pumpkins and gourds. All ages are welcome and encouraged to come carve or decorate, even you adults! No one is too old when it comes to the creative arts! Adult supervision is requested for those under the age of 12. Please contact Hopi Stosberg or Molly Koontz with questions. Find and share the Facebook event here.

Racial Justice Book Club

The Racial Justice Book Club will meet Sunday, October 24th, 12pm-1:30pm, to discuss “How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice” by Jemar Tisby (through Part 2). Participants are encouraged to purchase the book, read the designated portion, and come to the meeting prepared to share learnings, questions, and curiosities spurred by the reading. Contact Laurie Eynon at leynon73@icloud.com with any questions. In-person participants will gather in Room 6; online participants may join the Zoom meeting here.

First News Deadline

While that stated deadline for articles to be included in the November newsletter has passed, there is still time for boards, committees, and other church groups to share information about upcoming events. Please send your article to Lisa by 9am Monday, October 25th if you have relevant information to share with our congregation.

Special Congregational Meeting

A special meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, November 14th immediately following the worship service to consider and vote on a proposal to upgrade the church’s audio/visual technology. Please plan to be in attendance in person or virtually (simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar).


Anti-Racism Symposium

You are invited to “The Prophetic Rhythm of Anti-Racism,” a virtual symposium (held via Zoom) on Saturday, October 30th, at 3:00pm. Join the ABCUSA Anti-Racism Task Force for a keynote address and Q&A with Rev. Dr. Elyse Barry, associate for Advocacy and Leadership Development for the Council of Health and Human Services Ministries of the United Church of Christ, followed by paper presentations and discussion led by select American Baptist leaders presenting on anti-racism and reparations. All are invited to learning and conversations. To register for this free event click here. For more information visit the ABCUSA website by clicking here.

Harvest Ingathering and Food Drive

November is Harvest Ingathering and an opportunity to help others who need help putting enough on their tables during the holidays—at a time when food pantries typically run low. You are invited to bring donations of non-perishable food items through the month until Sunday, November 21st when the bounty will be displayed in front of the Communion Table and blessed before distribution at the MCUM food pantry. To increase the bounty of food, we will hold a Food Drive on Saturday, November 20th from 10am to 2pm. Extra volunteers will be needed from 1-2pm to arrange food donations in the sanctuary. Sign up to help here.

Reader’s Choice Book Group

First United’s Reader’s Choice Book Group will meet Monday, November 8th, 1:30pm at the home of Jean Peters (2455 Tamarack Trail Apt. 4; Meadowood).  The group will discuss the best-selling novel “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. It’s the story of twin girls from a small black community in Louisiana, who run away to New Orleans, where one of the twins passes as white and abandons her sister. Everyone is welcome to join the discussion.

Fall Justice Forum

NOT TO BE MISSED! The Board of Christian Ed will host a November Social Justice Forum on the Dementia Friendly Bloomington Movement! This all-ages event will be held via Zoom on November 14th, from 2-4pm. Guest speakers for the event include Jan Bays, Director of Education and Outreach for Jill’s House and Amanda Mosier from IU Health Alzheimer’s Resource Service-Community Health. Learn more about our family, neighbors and friends living with dementia and what YOU can do to support the creation of dementia-friendly spaces wherever you go! Find and share the Facebook event with friends here.

To participate in this event online via Zoom, click here. Or call in at (253) 215-8782 (Meeting ID: 829 5392 6991; Passcode: 603992).

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

On Tuesday, November 9th, our Tuesday morning group will begin a new study focusing on how the books of the New Testament were selected and passed down to us as scripture as we view and discuss a 12-session video lecture series led by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. 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. During our next two sessions, the group will complete our current study of a series entitled The Apocryphal Jesus, offered by David Brakke, Ph.D., M.Div. Join us for the conclusion of this study or join us fresh on November 9th. 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.

Rooted in Love – Stewardship 2021

First United is blessed with an abundance of generous friends and members who dedicate their resources to living out the mission of our congregation. Thank you all who give with such generosity! As we engage in our 2021 Stewardship Campaign over the next few weeks, you are invited to open yourselves to the movement of the spirit as you witness testimonials by fellow members of our congregation sharing some of the many ways in which our church is rooted in love. Throughout the campaign, we will reflect on the words of the Psalmist: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season” and consider how First United roots you in faith. You’ll then have an opportunity to express your gratitude through making a pledge of generosity for the upcoming year joining your gifts and resources together in support our shared ministry. These pledges will be offered and blessed during worship on Sunday, November 21st. Submit your pledge card online by clicking here. Pledge cards will also be mailed out at the beginning of November.

The work of our church happens only because of your generous financial and volunteer support of our community. Because of you, our congregation shares God’s love. While there are many ways to support the congregation, our annual campaign provides a chance to think in a particular and prayerful way about the choices we make with our money in support of the church. May God bless us in our discernment!


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will feature Derek Roe, M.Div., in the pulpit, a message from Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai for the young and young at heart, and wonderful music from Hansol Kim, Sam Grace, and the First United Bell Choir. Additionally, Noel Koontz with share his “Rooted in Love” testimony (as part of our stewardship campaign), and Siri Loescher will speak about the tremendous ministry our Board of Worship is doing. Terrie Kercher will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. The Koontz Family, Phyllis Perkins, and Siri Loescher will offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary, and Rebecca Keith will greet those joining us via Zoom. The beautiful flower arrangement is provided by Sharon McCann, in memory of Tom McCann’s 72nd birthday. And Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will ensure that all the tech 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; offering plates available at each entrance into the Sanctuary

Time to Order Holiday Poinsettias 

Brighten the church sanctuary with Holiday Poinsettias and support the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra! The BSO’s Annual Poinsettia Sale has begun! To order poinsettias to decorate the chancel during Advent and take home afterward, bring your check no later than Monday, November 8th, made out to BSO Poinsettia 2021. Write “poinsettias” in the memo line. Each plant costs $13.00, beautifies the church, and supports the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. Your poinsettias may be picked up outside Fellowship Hall on Monday, December 13th, if you would like to take them home. Please let Lisa in the church office know if you would like to order one.


Nursery Care Now Available!
First United’s Nursery is now open! Young children will now be able 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). Derek Roe is the contact person for nursery scheduling and questions and may be contacted at faithformation@firstuc.org.

Fall Workday

Join your Board of Building and Grounds on Saturday, November 13th, 8:00am-12:00pm. We will be raking, weeding, and mulching. Bring a rake, pitchfork, garden sheers, or just bring yourself. It will be a good time.

Refugee Support Ad Hoc Committee Formed

Want to help the stranger, the other, the immigrant? The Board of Outreach has started an ad hoc committee to investigate church support of international refugee resettlement in Bloomington. This effort reignites church interest that was begun in 2016 on refugee sponsorship; work that had to be shelved during the last Presidential administration. The current committee members are Dave Meyer (chair), Rebecca Nunley, Hopi Stosberg, and Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai. We are looking for additional committee members to develop plans to host an individual refugee or family. Can you help? Another way to help is financially as First United will need additional offerings and pledges to support the efforts beyond regular budgetary expenses. Please contact either Dave (dwm@davemeyer.org) or Jessica revpetersenmutai@firstuc.org) for more information or to express your interest in helping.

Winter Clothing Drive

First United is participating in a winter clothing drive organized and directed by Trinity Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Bloomington Fire Department. You are invited to donate winter coats, winter hats, hoodies, scarves, socks, and thermal underwear in all sizes. The clothing can be new or used but must be clean and in good condition. It must also be utilitarian, not necessarily stylish. We will receive items now through Sunday, October 31st. Items may be placed in the large, labeled box in the Narthex during office hours Monday-Friday and on Sunday. The clothing will be distributed from the Main Fire Station (300 E. 4th Street) on Saturday, November 6th, 8:00am-12:00pm. Snacks and drinks will be provided at the distribution event.

Volunteers are needed to help sort, fold, and hang clothing at the distribution site on October 12th, 19th, and 26th, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Additional volunteers are needed to oversee the distribution of the clothing on November 6th (7:30am-10:00am or 10:00am-12:30pm); this will involve helping people find clothing, helping with bagging clothing, and loading leftover clothing for future distribution. Please use SignUP Genius to volunteer by clicking here.

Healing Hands, Bloomington will distribute clothing not selected by individuals during the distribution event to: The Shalom Center/Beacon, Wheeler Mission, New Hope Family Shelter, The Rise/Middle Way House, and New Leaf/New Life.


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 Roger Williams Hall 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!


Indoor Gatherings

A reminder that our building is open for in-person gatherings. In accordance with the current Monroe County Mask Mandate, masks and distancing are required for all regardless of vaccination status. If you would like to hold a meeting in the church building, please contact Lisa to reserve a room.

Announcements Deadline

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