- 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 09/17, 09/24, 10/01)
- Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 09/17, 09/24, & 10/01)
- Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here (needed 10/01)
- Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 10/01)
- Donate to First United Online – Click here
- First United Vimeo Channel – Click here
Support Amethyst House
Throughout 2023, the Board of Outreach invites you to offer additional support to a variety of local organizations and ministries through monthly special offerings. This Sunday, September 17th, a special offering will be received to support Amethyst House—a Bloomington, IN based not-for-profit United Way agency that provides residential and outpatient services for people with drug and alcohol addiction. During worship, Misty James will share more about Amethyst House’s impactful work in our community.
Rally Day 2023 – THIS SUNDAY!
MeRC invites you to attend Rally Day, this Sunday, September 17th immediately after the worship service. Join us in Fellowship Hall for a simple meal (coordinated by James Lane), fellowship, children’s activities, and an opportunity to learn more about the happenings and ministries of First United Church, both in our building and within the wider Bloomington community. Please consider bringing a side dish and/or dessert to share and join together as we kick-off another great year at First United!
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 this Thursday, September 21st. 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 (email@example.com or (812) 336-1219). Thank you!
“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 on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (August-October) at 12pm-1pm via Zoom (click here to join). The remaining schedule is as follows: September 21st (Chapters 5 & 6); and October 5th (Chapters 7 & 8) and 19th (Chapter 9 & Epilogue). Contact Pastor Jessica with any questions. See below for additional book groups meeting at alternate times.
NEW THIS WEEK
BMA Bimonthly Gathering
All are invited to participate in the Bloomington Multifaith Alliance bimonthly gathering this Wednesday, September 20th, 11:30am-1pm in the Great Room of Trinity Episcopal Church (111 S Grant St.). Rev. Ed Bird from Canterbuy House and Dr. Heather Akou, BMA Co-Chair, will facilitate a conversation about religious communities and LGBTQIA+ folks. Our time together will include opportunities to discuss and practice inclusive language. Bring a sack lunch.
Last fall, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra partnered with the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) to bring you an unforgettable mix of jazz and classical music. On Wednesday, September 20th, 7pm, they return to the archives for another journey into America’s musical heritage. Gather in our very own Sanctuary works by some familiar figures, including the legendary David Baker. Mickey Tucker, whose Spiritual Collage was premiered by the BSO last year, will also be a featured composer on the program. Mia Watts, Head of Collections at the AAAMC, will provide commentary and context for each piece. While this concert is free for all audience members, donations are welcome and appreciated.
IU Health Wellness Fair
At First United, we value the whole person and support wholistic wellness. In that spirit, all are encouraged to attend the IU Health Wellness Fair on Monday, September 25th, 2pm-6pm, at Switchyard Park. There will be loads of free health and wellness-related screenings and services including: Car seat checks/replacements; the latest COVID immunization; Flu shots; Blood pressure screenings; Diabetes screenings; HIV and Hep C screenings; Naloxone education and distribution; Gun locks; Drug take-back; International recipes with the ingredients to make it; Brain health information; Bike rodeo for kids and fun active play activities; Meet/greet new providers (and make an appointment); Safe sleep info; Resources/help with housing, food, medical care, transportation, etc.; and MORE! Click here to see the flier and a full list of the services/activities to be offered.
Interrupting Racism for Children
First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Bloomington will host a two-day, community-wide anti-racism workshop, Interrupting Racism for Children, led by facilitators associated with the Indianapolis-based organization Child Advocates. The goal of this workshop is to challenge local educators (and any who engage with children) and equip them with practical tools they need to interrupt typical responses and processes as they occur in an educational setting, to “stop racism in its tracks.”
The workshop will be held on Fridays, October 6th and 27th, 8am-4pm. Attendees are expected to participate on both days, as the material covered in the second session will build upon that discussed in the first. This is an in-person workshop to held in FPC Fellowship Hall (221 East Sixth Street, Bloomington). Lunch will be provided.
There is no registration fee, and but all participants must register here. The registration deadline is September 26th.
Newsletter, Congregant Monday Musings, and Announcements Deadlines
The First News deadline is Thursday, September 21st. If you would like to have an article included in the October 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.
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; and she will offer a message especially for the young and young at heart. 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, and the First United Bell 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. Ted Wininger and Bill Perkins will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, 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 RALLY DAY!
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
We are grateful for the return of both the vocal choir and bell choir in worship and remind all who are interested in engaging in our Music Ministry that rehearsals for both groups have resumed! No prior musical experience is required to join, but a foundational ability to read music is recommended. The bell choir meets weekly on Thursdays from 6:15-7:15pm, while the vocal choir meets on Thursdays from 7:30-9pm.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Covenant Group Revival!
Are you looking for a space where you can connect with others from First United? Our Member Relations Committee (MeRC) invites you to join one of First United’s new Covenant Groups: 1) Aging Well hosted by Malissa Sparks and Carol Walter; 2) Faith, Food, and Ale hosted by Molly and Noel Koontz; and 3) LGBTQ+ Fellowship hosted by Vickey Allen and James Stroman. These groups of 8-10 people meet in homes or in the wider community. For more information about the three groups we’ll be offering and their schedules (including start dates) please click here. Please contact the host by email to ask questions and/or let them know you’d like to participate.
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. Are you facing a health challenge? Did you receive a community award? Have you moved? Let us know! 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.
Please continue to keep Jeanne and Norm Overly and Keith Gerber in your prayers as they manage recent health challenges.
Doctoral Recital – Eric Meincke
On Saturday, September 23rd at 2pm in IU’s Auer Hall, First United’s Director of Music Eric Meincke will be presenting his first Doctoral Recital with the Indiana University Conductors Chorus. Repertoire will include music by Palestrina, Howells, and Schuetz. Admission is free, and we would love to see you there to support Eric!
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 email@example.com. MeRC will prepare these iPads to enable users to participate in Sunday morning worship and get them to loving hands!
First United Yard Signs
Spread the word about who we are as a progressive community of faith with your very own “Critical Thinking Encouraged” First United yard sign. Thanks to a generous donation from a fellow member, signs and stands are available to all at no cost. Pick them up in the Narthex or near Fellowship Hall on Sunday or stop by the church office during regular office hours. Post them in your lawns, offices, windows, etc. as a simple way to share that “We take the Bible too seriously to take it literally.”
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.
Sermon Talk Back
Our next sermon talk back will take place after worship next Sunday, September 24th. You are invited to head down to Fellowship Hall to grab a drink and a snack and say “hello” to some church friends, and then gather near the fireplace to engage in informal conversation spurred by the day’s sermon. Share with fellow congregants how the sermon connected with you and your life and ask any questions of clarification or curiosity and be enriched by their sharing. Pastor Jessica will be available to address questions, elaborate further on the day’s message, and share additional thoughts she may have had while preparing her sermon.
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. On September 19th, we will engage with “State Religion in Ancient Egypt.” 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 Emily Mathes and Jennifer Fultz 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.
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
Does First United’s book group not work for your schedule? Additional faith communities will be leading book groups as well that will meet at different times and in different modalities and will be open to all. Choose the one that works best for you!
- 5:30pm-6:30pm on Tuesdays,August 29th, September 12th and 19th, and October 10th and 17th. Contact Ruth Aydt (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested.
- will offer a group meeting via Zoom at 7pm-8pm on Wednesdays, September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, and October 4th and 18th. Contact Ellen Mills (email@example.com) if interested.
- will offer an in-person group at 6pm-7pm on Mondays, September 25th, and October 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd. Contact Sue Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested.
- email@example.com) if interested.
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).
- Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister – firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-727-4414 (Cell) (Friday & Saturday off; emergency calls only)
- Lisa Stanger, Office Manager – email@example.com; 812-332-4439 (Office)
- Eric Meincke, Music Director – firstname.lastname@example.org; 501-837-2708 (Cell)
- Mitchell Farmer, Church President – email@example.com; 812-459-3985 (Cell)