• 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)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 10/29, 11/05, & 11/12)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 11/05 & 11/12)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 11/05)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Halloween Fall Festival

In addition to our free “Teal Pumpkin Trick-or-Treat Trail (see below), the People’s Market will offer a fabulous Fall Festival to help raise funds for the tremendous work they are doing in and with our community. This event is free for ages 10 and under, $5 for students, and $10 for non-student adults. The price of admission includes a tour of the haunted maze as well as a cup of hot cider, a donut, and a pumpkin (while supplies last) for each person! All other events listed below are free. Be sure to check it out!

  • Friday, October 27th, 5pm-9pm: Haunted Maze, Halloween Games, Hot Food & Drinks, & Outdoor Spooky Movies
  • Saturday, October 28th, 10am-2pm: Daytime Maze, Halloween Games, Hot Food & Drinks; the regular Market will also be going at this time
  • Saturday, October 28th, 5pm-9pm: Haunted Maze, Halloween Games, Hot Food & Drinks, & Outdoor Spooky Movies

Teal Pumpkin Trick-or-Treat Trail

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 still welcome your help to make this trail happen! Click here to sign up to help with set up and clean up, providing and/or funding treats, and giving out the treats provided. And, don’t forget to invite friends, family, neighbors, all to come! Share the event on Facebook here.

Potluck & Pumpkins!

We hope to see you this Sunday, October 29th for another Fifth Sunday Potluck immediately following worship. Bring a dish (or two) to share, and be sure to label your item! In order to pull it off, we’ll need a little help. Are you willing to arrive early to set up, serve during lunch, or stay late to clean up? Call/text or email Molly Koontz at (812) 360-2885 or molly.koontz@yahoo.com, and she’ll slot you with other fun people.

Be sure to stay for Pumpkin Decorating! Once you’ve had your fill at the potluck, 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 will be provided for painting and carving. Plan to attend! If you have questions, contact Hopi Stosberg.

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, 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. If you’re planning to attend, please let Pastor Jessica know by Thursday, November 2nd so she can be sure to have enough food for all and account for any dietary needs.

Christmas Is a-Comin’

The holiday season is upon us with fall festivals and Halloween events in full swing! 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.


Happy 100th Birthday to Marie Webster

Longtime member Marie Webster will turn 100 on 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.

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:

  • Michael Shell (who is recovering from a successful liver transplant)
  • James Lane and his family
  • Jeanne and Norm Overly
  • Sam Troxal

All Saints’ Sunday with Special Music

Join us 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.

Daylight Saving Time Ends – Fall Back

A reminder that Daylight Saving Time ends on 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!

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 “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.


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This Sunday’s service will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit; she will also offer a special message for the young and young at heart. Our Adult Vocal Choir (featuring Rebecca Keith), Bell Choir, Eric Meincke, and Hansol Kim will lead us in song as we worship using the predominantly sung liturgy of Marty Haugen’s “Holden Evening Prayer” (gently edited for morning use). The Adult Vocal Choir will also 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. Lewis and Patty Williams and Ted Wininger will offer a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Dave Meyer will welcome all who join via Zoom as Kyle Hetrick and Jim True ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for Potluck and Pumpkins.

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. All who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry are encouraged to join! 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 will be on break and 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 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.

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.


Fall Workday

Join the Board of Building and Grounds on Saturday, November 4th from 8am to 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 other chores. We have some rakes and snips, but more would be welcome. Hope to see you then, it will be a good time!

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, next month we encourage you to bring a donation every Sunday 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!

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.

2023 Sassiest Salsa Contest

First place goes to our very own James Lane! His Pickled Jicama Verde beat out other competitors in the 2023 Sassiest Sala Contest sponsored by Sammic a manufacturer of restaurant food prep equipment including blenders for salsa. Way to go James! To see the full article click here.

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, 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!


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 Jennifer Fultz and Noel Koontz 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.

“Poverty, By Bloomington”

Mark your calendars for the capstone/springboard event “Poverty, by Bloomington” on 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.


Stewardship Timing Notice

Your Boards, Committees, and Council are starting to draft an expense budget for 2024. Per our revised bylaws approved by the Congregation in 2022, the Congregation will vote on the budget in December. For many years, the church’s annual stewardship campaign has taken place at the same time as the drafting of the budget. This meant asking members and friends to pledge towards the budget before it was fully developed and approved. Another model used in many faith communities is to draft and approve the budget first, and then solicit pledges towards that budget. The Church Council would like to try implementing that model this year. Therefore, instead of a stewardship emphasis in October/November of this year, as has been done for a long time, you can expect this emphasis to occur early in 2024, when people may have a better sense of what they can give towards the church’s ministries and operations. While this is indeed different timing from what this community is used to, there are enough potential advantages that it is worth trying to see if it is worth moving to this new timing permanently or returning to the fall emphasis for 2025 and beyond. As always, pledges are accepted at any time of the year – the stewardship campaign is just the time when pledging is put at the forefront of the community’s consciousness. If you have any questions about this trial in altering the stewardship emphasis, please reach out to Mitchell Farmer, Kyle Hetrick, or Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai. 

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