• 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 (needed 10/15)
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 10/08, 10/15, & 10/22)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 10/08, 10/15, & 10/22)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 10/15)
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 11/05)
  • Donate to First United Online – Click here
  • First United Vimeo Channel – Click here


Pizza & Play TONIGHT!

Members and friends of First United of all ages and family configurations (and your friends and family) are encouraged to gather for Pizza & Play TODAY, Friday, October 6th, 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.

Feminist Women’s Book Club THIS SUNDAY

Our feminist women’s book club will meet at 12pm on Sunday, October 8th in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom to discuss “The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches” by Sangu Mandanna—A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

“Racially Restrictive Bloomington” Presentation & Conversation

All are welcome to gather together in Roger Williams Hall THIS Sunday, October 8th, at 5:00pm with the Mennonite Fellowship to learn about “Racially Restrictive Bloomington.” Nate Johnson and Keith Gerber will share findings regarding racially restrictive housing covenants in our community having diligently researched over 400 properties in cooperation with other BMA F4RE members and the Monroe County Recorder’s Office and History Center. Click here to access some of their findings.

Out of the Office      

Pastor Jessica will be on vacation Monday, October 9th thru Sunday, October 15th. Please contact Lisa Stanger with any needs during regular office hours and Mitchell Farmer for any after-hours needs. Many thanks to Byron Bangert for offering his extraordinary worship leadership on October 15th while Pastor Jessica is away.


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, October 19th. 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!

Youth Connections

Youth in grades 6 and up are invited to gather in Room 6 on Sunday, October 22nd following worship. Feel free to grab a snack from Fellowship Hall and then join us as we consider your questions, big and small, and explore faith matters as they are relevant to your life. We are planning to gather after worship one Sunday each month for about an hour (schedule TBD). If you or your youth are interested in getting involved, please contact Pastor Jessica.

Additionally, in an effort to invite youth to engage move fully with the worship service (should they choose not to attend CLT), a “Sermon Notes” sheet with prompts and questions will be offered each Sunday morning. Adults are welcome to take one as well!

Support the Love Fund

Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. On Sunday, October 22nd, a special offering will be received to support First United’s Love Fund, which was created to help those who turn to First United with emergent needs. Mike Carson from St. Vincent DuPaul will share how disbursements from the Love Fund have been used to assist local people through our cooperative efforts. Lisa Stanger reports, “Not only do they give me a referral for clients that need assistance, they also sit down with the client and help them with community resources.” Thank you for considering making a donation!

Potluck & Pumpkins!

Mark your calendars for the Fifth Sunday Potluck Sunday, October 29th 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 afterward 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.

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. 

Newsletter, Congregant Monday Musings, and Announcements Deadlines

The First News deadline is Friday, October 20th.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.

Members and friends of First United are invited to prepare a “Monday Musing” to be shared with the wider congregation via email on the third Monday of each month. Please contact Pastor Jessica and/or Lisa Stanger if you would like to share your thoughts and ideas through this avenue, and they will help you get it scheduled.

And, 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.


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; and she will offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. Kim Yaussy Albright will present the day’s scripture reading and serve as our congregational lead. Eric Meincke and Hansol Kim will lead us in song, and the First United Vocal Choir will 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. Dave Meyer will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary (sign up here to help), while Kyle Hetrick and Jim True will welcome all who join via Zoom as they ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment hosted by Malissa Sparks and Mary Peckham.

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. The bell choir and vocal choirs will rehearse together on Thursdays, 7:30-9pm, now through the end of October as they work on a beautiful, collaborative piece.

Both groups are a great way to share your time and talents with the congregation and for fellowship with your First United community. We perform a diverse selection of music ranging from the Renaissance era to present day and are proud to continue performing music by composers from a variety of backgrounds. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Eric Meincke at ericdmeincke@gmail.com.

The choirs don’t work for you? All those who are musically inclined are encouraged to offer your gifts of music during worship as special music. Please contact Eric Meineke or Pastor Jessica to arrange your special musical offering.


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. However, if information isn’t shared with others in the community and no one reaches out, it can feel like we are on our own. In an effort to more fully live out our identity as a community of love and acceptance, we invite you to share what is going on in your lives. Contact Lisa Stanger and/or Pastor Jessica so we can appropriately share information (with your permission) with our wider community of care (via email, newsletters, announcements, and even from the pulpit) that we might offer our support whatever you may be facing.

You are encouraged to continue offering your prayers and actions of support for Jeanne and Norm Overly, Keith Gerber, Sam Troxal, and Carol Walter (who recently underwent a medical procedure and is recovering well at home).

Teal Pumpkin Trick-or-Treat Trail

Mark your calendars and plan to 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 are looking for:

1) Trail and Trunk Volunteers: Our trick-or-treat trail will be a combination of trunks and tables. These volunteers will dedicate themselves to decorating their car, truck, table, etc. and serve as a spot for the kids to stop and get treats on their walk around the parking lot. This is a great opportunity to meet and connect with the children and families. Also a wonderful idea for those who are creative and love to think big! Contact Pastor Jessica by Monday, October 23rd if you are interested.

2) Treat Sponsors: We are going to need A TON of treats! Because we are dedicated to making this an allergy-conscious experience, we are encouraging financial donations that will then be used to purchase appropriate treats for the kids. Send your donation to the church office or drop it in the offering plate on Sunday mornings; clearly indicate that your gift is designated for the “Trick-or-Treat Trail” by marking your check or envelope. Additionally, we are accepting donations of the following sweet treats: DOTS, Skittles, Smarties, Ring Pops, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Swedish Fish, AirHead Minis, Mott’s Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks. You may leave these donations on the marked table in the Narthex or deliver them to the church office.

3) Inviters/Sharers: Invite friends, family, neighbors, all to come! And, share the event on Facebook; access here.

Your Member Relations Committee (MeRC) is seeking donations!

In order to stay connected to and engage with folks who might not be able to be with us in person, MeRC is seeking donations of iPads. If you have a generation five or higher iPad that is in good working condition that you could donate for this purpose, Rebecca Keith is happy to accept your contributions. We will also accept cash donations. For more information and to commit to this effort, email rekeith@iu.edu. MeRC will prepare these iPads to enable users to participate in Sunday morning worship and get them to loving hands!

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.


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.

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.

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 Sabine Lammers and Sandra Meder 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 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.

“Poverty, by America” Book Read

First Unitedis offering a reading group focusing on Matthew Desmond’s “Poverty, by America” as a part of the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity book read. The group’s final meeting is Thursday, October 19th at 12pm-1pm (Chapter 9 & Epilogue) via Zoom (click here to join). Contact Pastor Jessica with any questions.

Additionally, 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.

2023 Annual AWAB Lectureship Recording

“The church has no problem telling lies if it works to advance their political ambitions, and we see now the extent of Christian nationalist desire for a theocracy rooted in white supremacist, patriarchal values which have nothing to do with the gospel and everything to do with power,” Rev. Dr. Susan Shaw told supporters of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) as she offered the 2023 Annual AWAB Lectureship on September 11th. Her full lecture, entitled “Truth and Lies at the Foot of the Cross: The Church and God’s LGBTQ+ Children,” can be accessed here. All are encouraged to explore these truths and lies at the foot of the cross, as Rev. Dr. Shaw draws from the latest headlines, biological, medical, and social sciences, gender studies, and theological and biblical studies and makes a specific case for Baptist welcome of God’s LGBTQ+ children.


Finance Update

At the end of August, total income was $222,000 or 69% of budget. Total expenses were at $221,000, or 62% of budget. Therefore, we were breaking even two-thirds of the year through. Unfortunately, some of the anticipated major expenses mentioned previously have not shown up in the accounting yet – they will start showing in September. Beyond the budget, we raised nearly $300 for Stone Belt as part of the August special offering, $420 for Amethyst House during our September special offering, and $200 for IU’s Crimson Cupboard as part of WelcomeFest.

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