Candlelight & Carols Service: Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 6:30 PM | Christmas Eve Service: Friday, December 24, 2021 at 6:30 PM

QUICK LINKS

  • Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Sundays @ 9am; Join Zoom Meeting here
  • Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar 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

DON’T FORGET

Anti-Racism Symposium

You are invited to “The Prophetic Rhythm of Anti-Racism,” a virtual symposium (held via Zoom) on Saturday, October 30th, at 3pm. 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.

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, 8am-12pm. 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-10am or 10am-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.

NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK

“Rooted in Love” Stewardship Campaign

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 continue this year’s 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. If you missed worship last Sunday, you can check out Noel Koontz’s heartfelt testimony here.

A stewardship mailing will be sent out in the mail next week, so please keep an eye out for that. The mailing will contain a commitment card inviting you to express your gratitude for the ministry of our congregation through making a pledge of generosity for the year 2022. These pledges of financial support will be offered and blessed during worship on Sunday, November 21st. You may submit your pledge card online by clicking here.

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.

All Saints’ Sunday

Join us next Sunday, November 7th as with reverence and in remembrance we light candles 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. These can be for family members and friends or other influential individuals. There will be a table on the side of the sanctuary to light and display the candles. Those who choose to bring candles should take them with them at the end of the service.

Green Team Film Series

First United’s Green Team will host the next screening of their fall film series in the Sanctuary at 2pm on Sunday, November 7th. You are invited to gather to view Wasted: The Story of Food Waste (2017), an exposé on food waste and how it’s directly contributing to climate change. The film will show how each of us can make small changes to solve one of the greatest problems of the 21st Century. Through the eyes of chef-heroes like Anthony Bourdain, Dan Barber, Mario Batali, Massimo Bottura, and Danny Bowien, we will see how the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food. The post-screening discussion questions will invite us to wrestle with the ideas in the film and focus on what we can do as individuals and as a congregation to effect positive change.

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, funded by the church endowment fund. Please plan to attend in person or virtually (simply stay on the worship Zoom webinar).

Hanging of the Greens

We will mark the first Sunday of Advent, November 28th, by joining together that afternoon to decorate the Sanctuary with greenery and many, many electric candles. The job requires 10-20 people – socially distanced as possible – for about one and half hours – to work together to bring about the transformation of our worship space to welcome and embrace the Advent Season. Keep an eye on upcoming announcements for more information.

Holiday Luminaries

The Member Relations Committee (MeRC) wants your clean 1- or 1/2-gallon milk/cider/distilled water jugs for a new luminary project we hope to begin this year. We hope to build up a collection of long-lasting luminaries to use in future years. Please bring rinsed jugs to the church kitchen, where we are collecting them in the back hallway. If you are able to remove the label, all the better! Many thanks!

Nursery Care Available and Help Needed
First United’s Nursery has been open for a few weeks now, and young children are welcome 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). One of our paid caregivers has had to resign from the position, so we are currently in search of another qualified adult to add to our staff. Derek Roe is the contact person for nursery scheduling and questions and may be contacted at faithformation@firstuc.org.

UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

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, a message from Derek Roe, M.Div., for the young and young at heart, and wonderful music from Hansol Kim, Sam Grace, and the First United Vocal Choir. Additionally, Emily Caldwell with share his “Rooted in Love” testimony (as part of our stewardship campaign), and Debra Morrow, Executive Director of Middle Way House, will speak about the tremendous work they are doing in our community (work we help fund through our annual budget). Sara Ivey Lucas will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Hallie & Reese Devido, Scott and Tyler Grieb, and Siri Loescher will offer a warm welcome and bulletin for those who gather in the sanctuary, and Mary Peckham will greet those joining us via Zoom. The beautiful flower arrangement is provided by Sara Ivey Lucas, in honor of all those who are showing love for our community by sharing their talents. 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

COMMUNITY CARE

Fall Workday

Join your Board of Building and Grounds on Saturday, November 13th, 8am-12pm 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.

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, 10am-2pm. Extra volunteers will be needed from 1-2pm to arrange food donations in the sanctuary. Sign up to help here.

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), Amber Kent, Rebecca Nunley, Hopi Stosberg, Ted Wininger, 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.

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.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS 

Fall Justice Forum

The Board of Christian Education will host a November 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 12-session video lecture series: “History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon” led by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. This study focuses on how the books of the New Testament were selected and passed down to us as scripture. 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. This Tuesday, November 2nd, 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.

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.

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!

CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

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