• 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 11/06, 11/13)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 10/30 & 11/06)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Sermon Talk Backs

Our monthly sermon talk back will take place THIS 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 (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).

Voice Faculty Cabaret

The Voice Faculty Cabaret will take place in First United’s Sanctuary THIS 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.

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 next Senior High Group (grades 9-12) gathering is THIS Sunday, October 30th, 5:30-7:30pm at First Presbyterian (221 E 6th St.). The Junior High Group (grades 6-8) will meet next on Sunday, November 13th, 2-3:30pm at Trinity Episcopal (111 S Grant St.).

Out of the Office

Lisa Stanger will be out of the office this Monday, October 31st. If you are in need of assistance, please contact Pastor Jessica.


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, we are forming 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. Times discussed so far are Sundays before worship, or Mondays or Wednesdays at 3:30pm. If you are interested in being a part of this group, please contact Rebecca Hoke-McCall (rjimenez@indiana.edu) with your preferred day/time. We hope to begin in November.

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.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click hereon Tuesday, November 1st, 10am-11:30am, as we finish the 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” Then come together on Tuesday, November 8th, (same time and place) 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.

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.

Fauré’s “Requiem”

On Saturday, 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.

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 everytime 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 10th; 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.

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 Friday, November 4th and Saturday, 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.

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

First United will play host to a fundraiser concert next Saturday, November 5th, at 7:00 pm 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.


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 Harold Fiscus. 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. Fiora Pizzo 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 as we utilize Marty Haugen’s “Holden Evening Prayer” (with a few minor word changes to make it fitting for morning worship), and our fabulous bell 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. Sara Frommer and Molly and Noel Koontz 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. Rev. Petersen-Mutai and Martin and Jabali Mutai will provide a festive “floral” arrangement in celebration of Halloween and Jessica’s upcoming birthday. And Carol Walter will be our gracious Coffee Hour host.

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

All Saints’ Sunday

Join us next 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.

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.

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) next 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, 12pm-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.

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 Molly Koontz and Sandra Hendricks 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 Katie Silvester 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 – NEW TIME!

You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Monday mornings at 10:00am 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.

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