- Sunday Morning Worship – Sundays @ 10:30am; Join Zoom Webinar here
- Morning Café and Discussion – Tuesdays @ 10am;Join Zoom Meeting here
- Off-Topic Scripture Circle – Thursdays @ 5:30pm; Join Zoom Meeting here
- Scripture Reader sign up – Click here
- Usher sign up – Click here (needed 09/11 & 09/18)
- Flowers sign up – Click here
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 09/11)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Pizza & Play
Members,families, and friends are invited to come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area TODAY, Friday, September 2nd, 5:30pm-7:30pm. As the name implies, pizza and drinks will be provided. These gatherings will be offered on the first Friday of each month, so mark your calendars now. And, feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!
First United member Lisa Kwong will do a poetry reading this Saturday, September 3rd, 3pm, as part of the Writers Guild at Bloomington’s Spoken Word Stage at Fourth Street Festival. The full schedule of readings is here.
Welcome, Eric Meincke, and Return of the Choirs!
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Eric Meincke as First United’s new Music Director! Eric has just begun as a doctoral student in Choral Conducting at Indiana University in the Jacobs School of Music. He is “thrilled to have accepted this offer to join this loving and inclusive community at First United” and is very eager to work with us (especially our vocal and bell choirs) to help create meaningful worship experiences for our congregation. Rehearsals for both the vocal and bell choirs have resumed, and all are welcome to join (vocal choir, Thursdays @ 7:30pm; bell choir, Sundays @ 12pm). Welcome, Eric!
Outreach Food Drive – THIS SUNDAY!
The Board of Outreach encourages you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on at table in the narthex. Please bring non-perishable food items this Sunday, September 4th 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!
Church Office Closed
The Church Office will be closed on Monday, September 5th, in observance of Labor Day. If you have an emergency, you may contact Pastor Jessica.
Pastor Jessica’s Vacation
Pastor Jessica will be taking the vast majority of her remaining vacation time to travel with her family to Kenya (her husband’s country of origin) September 6th through October 6th (she will be back with us for worship on October 9th). While she is away, Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall will offer worship leadership and pastoral care and will facilitate both the Tuesday Morning Discussion and Café and Thursday evening Off-Topic Scripture Circle. Rev. Byron Bangert will also share in offering worship leadership during this time. We wish Pastor Jessica and her family safe travels and rejoice in her taking the time to model healthy self-care and life balance. You may contact Rev. Rebecca at 812-219-3672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW/UPDATED THIS WEEK
A Coffee Hour Every Sunday!
As we cautiously resume fellowship activities, the Member Relations Committee (MeRC) has been supporting coffee hours on 2nd and 4th Sundays each month. In this season of so many new arrivals in our university town, and as we eagerly gather with old friends after long isolation due to Covid, we would like to try offering simple fellowship after worship every Sunday. We will continue to encourage traditional coffee hours on 2nd and 4th Sundays, AND invite YOU 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.
Our Afghan Friends
Now that our church’s Afghan guests have moved into their own apartment (where they now pay the rent), they’ve become our Afghan friends. In a sense, they’ve graduated beyond our day-to-day care. First United’s Displaced Immigrant Support Program (DISP) is now in transition and reflecting on the lessons that we have learned from 9-months of intensive work dedicated to supporting, along with Exodus Refugee Immigration, one gentle Afghan family. We are still supporting the family periodically, but as friends. The church’s volunteers have experienced both the joys (i.e., the birth of child) and sorrows (i.e., the household being struck by COVID) of this family over the preceding months.
Ahad, Brishna, Heela (age six, meaning “to hope” in Persian), Emraan (age four, meaning “prosperity”), and Emaan (age two months, meaning “faith”) now live just two blocks from church. They have many hopes and dreams for the future. The family will continue to be part of our church family, and we expect to see them regularly at Pizza and Play, Sunday Funday, and church potlucks. With our congregation’s help, they have been given a start in the U.S. that will help them thrive.
Over the next few months, DISP will be seeking additional members to the support team. We will also seek additional funds to support the next family that Exodus Refugee Immigration assigns to our church. Cynthia Neidhart and Dave Meyer plan to continue to extend their condominium apartment at Claritz and East 3rd Street to the church to support this important mission. The church also now owns an e-bike to support refugee initial transportation needs. If you have questions about DISP or interest in joining the team, please contact Dave Meyer at email@example.com.
Special Congregational Meeting
A Special Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, September 25th immediately following worship. During this meeting, the gathered congregation will attend to the very important business of voting on the proposal to amend the Constitution and Bylaws of First United Church. The most recent version of the Constitution and Bylaws will be made available soon (at least two weeks prior to the meeting). In order to take action on these proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws, 50 members must be in attendance. If you cannot attend in person, please do so online (simply stay on the webinar and you will be made a “panelist”).
BMA Faith for Racial Equity
You are also invited the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance Faith for Racial Equity (BMA F4RE) committee for their regular meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 12pm-1pm. Click here to join this month’s meetings via Zoom on September 8th and 22nd. The committee is continues focusing their work on 1) assembling a map of Bloomington’s whites-only properties and neighborhoods in order to visualize just how much housing in Bloomington was once whites-only by policy and 2) connecting with Monroe County schools and their Parent-Teacher Organizations to address resource disparities.
Members and friends of First United are invited to gather for fun and fellowship Sunday, September 18th, 2pm-4pm (and the third Sunday of each month). Plan to join us for Sunday Funday as we come together for an informal, unprogrammed play time in Fellowship Hall and on our playground and surrounding area. A light snack will be available for each Sunday Funday. Feel free to bring an indoor and/or outdoor game/activity to share!
UPCOMING WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship
Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. In addition to welcoming new members into the First United family, this Sunday will feature Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai in the pulpit. We will welcome Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall into leadership during Pastor Jessica’s vacation, and celebrate communion together (if worshiping from home, please prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of worship)! Lisa Kwong 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, and our fabulous vocal choir will make their glorious return offering the day’s special music. Mary Peckham will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. Dave Meyer, Sara Frommer, and Keith Gerber will offer a warm welcome to all those who gather in the sanctuary, while Dedric Dennist will welcome all who join via Zoom. Marge and Jim Faber will provide a beautiful floral arrangement in honor or all those who labor to provide us with the goods and services we enjoy. Finally, Kyle Hetrick will ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. Looking forward to worshiping with you!
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
Attendance Pads Return!
The Attendance Pads have returned to the Sanctuary pews! As you gather for worship in the Sanctuary on Sundays, you are encouraged to let us know “I was here!” by signing in. Why do we want to know you were here? To offer perfect attendance awards? To penalize folks for absences? No, we want to know because we care about one another and would like to be able to reach out and check in on you and your well-being should you be away multiple Sundays in a row unexpectedly.
Ways to Support Recovery Efforts in Eastern Kentucky
While the Disaster Ministry of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference (UCC) focuses on long term recovery, they invite church to be a part of the immediate response by sending financial donations. Please do not send any items at this time; warehouses can become overwhelmed with items they do not need. Financial contributions are best at this point in the recovery as the funds can be disbursed to the areas needing help and used to provide the greatest need at any given time. Also, the funds will help the communities recover from the economic strain they are experiencing.
Here are some options to make financial donations shared by the Disaster Ministry of the IKC:
- Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
- If you go to the ikcucc.org website, there is also an option to donate through PayPal. See this website for donation instructions. If you go this route, please designate “IKC-Kentucky Recovery Fund.” to the “Add special instructions to the seller” note field.
One of our congregation members also shared a list of resources to assist flood victims in Appalachia. You are invited to consult the list here.
CLT and Nursery Care
This Sunday, kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are welcome to Children’s Learning Time (CLT) in Room 2 during the first half of the Sunday morning worship service; they will join the rest of the congregation in the Sanctuary for the final half of worship to celebrate communion. Many thanks to Ted Wininger and Noel Koontz 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 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.
Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion
Join us in Roger Williams Hall or via Zoom (click here) on Tuesday mornings, 10am-11:30am, as we embark on the final third of a 36-session video series entitled “The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation.” After a time of informal conversation, we engage in thought-provoking theological study and discussion as we explore the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, with all its remarkable diversity and complex dimensions. Professor Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson will lead this examination of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping activities from its inception to the Reformation. While we’d love to see you each Tuesday for the next several months, perfect attendance is not required, neither is previous participation.
Off-Topic Scripture Circle
You are invited to join with members and friends of First United on Thursday evenings, 5:30pm-6:30pm 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 will meet via Zoom only in an effort to be more accessible to folks after work and near dinnertime; join the Zoom meeting here.
Reader’s Choice Book Group
During their August meeting, participants shared a variety of books to explore over the course of the year ahead. The books selected for the coming months are: “The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland” by James Madison for September 12th and “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” by Mitch Albom for October 10th. If you like to read, come join the group at any or all of its meetings at 1:30pm on the second Monday of each month.
Feminist Women’s Book Club
Our feminist women’s book club will meet again on Sunday, September 11th at 12pm (for about an hour) in person in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom for anyone who would prefer to join virtually. The book for the September gathering’s discussion is “The Women’s March” by Jennifer Chiaverini—a historical novel of the women’s suffrage movement inspired by several courageous women who risked their lives to win the vote. Alice Paul from Britain, journalist Ida B. Wells, and others tell the story of the challenges for women, especially for women of color to be included. The Women’s March offers a fascinating account of a crucial but little-remembered moment in American history, a turning point in the struggle for women’s rights. As always, new members are welcome to visit as a guest. For Zoom or more information contact facilitator Cindy Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
First United is seeking to hire someone as a part-time Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please see the job description here. Share widely or apply today! Candidates should respond to Lisa Stanger (email@example.com) with a resume and email cover letter detailing relevant experience and intent to apply. While the hiring team has received materials from a number of applicants, none have yet seemed to be the right fit. Thank you for your help!
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Cell) (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Rev. Rebecca Hoke-McCall, Senior Minister Sub (Sept 6th-Oct 6th) – 812-219-3672 (Cell); email@example.com
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-332-4439 (Office)
- Eric Meincke, Music Director – email@example.com; 501-837-2708 (Cell)
- Dedric Dennist, Web Content & Media Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rebecca Keith, Church President – email@example.com; 812-325-0145 (Cell)