• 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 09/17)
  • Usher sign up – Click here (needed 09/03, 09/10, & 09/17)
  • Flowers sign up – Click here (needed 09/17)
  • Coffee Hour Host sign up – Click here
  • Communion Server sign up –Click here (needed 10/01)
  • 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 TONIGHT, September 1st, 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.

First Sunday Food Drive

The Board of Outreach invites you to offer food donations on the first Sunday of each month on the marked table in the narthex. This Sunday, September 3rd, we encourage you to bring donations of non-perishable food items for our community members in need. As always, all of the collected human food and cleaning/hygiene items will go to Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), 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 donations to meet ongoing community needs and for your August donations which totaled 312lbs!

Office Closure

The church office will be closed for regular hours Monday, September 4th through Friday, September 8th for the Labor Day holiday and while Lisa Stanger is away on vacation. Please contact Rev. Petersen-Mutai should you need assistance during that time.


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.

Support First United Youth

Aidan Koontz will be performing in a small workshop performance of Lauren Bernofsky’s The Mensch this Wednesday, September 6th at 8pm in Jacobs School of Music’s Auer Hall. This new opera is set during the rise of Nazi power in Europe and portrays Anton Schmid, an unsung hero of the Holocaust who, while serving in the Wehrmacht, worked undercover to save hundreds of Jews from the Vilna ghetto in Lithuania. Admission is free.

Tuesday Morning Café and Discussion

You are invited to join us in person or online Tuesdays at 10am-11:30am as we begin a new study exploring “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 5th, we will engage with “Early Pagan Religion in Mesopotamia.” Those interested and able are welcome to gather in Roger Williams Hall; those choosing to join online via Zoom can do so here.

Feminist Women’s Book Club

Our feminist women’s book club will meet at 12pm on Sunday, September 10th in Roger Williams Hall and via Zoom to discuss “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” by Gertrude Stein. Despite what the title would have you believe, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is not an autobiography at all. It was written in 1933 by American novelist Gertrude Stein who was known for her unconventional life and groundbreaking literary style. Alice was Stein’s life partner, and Stein takes on Alice’s voice reflecting on their life together as part of a bohemian circle of artists and writers. For Zoom information or more information about the book club contact facilitator Cindy Stone, stonec@indiana.edu.

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. On 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, a speaker from Amethyst House (to be announced) will share more about their impactful work in our community.

Finance Update

As of July 31st, total income is at 60% of budget. Total expenses are at 57% of budget. Because we have a deficit budget, this means we are essentially even in terms of spending what we have taken in. There are some major expenses coming up in the remainder of the year, including some large invoices from Commercial Services, the company that maintains our air conditioning and heating system, as well as resuming salary payments to our organist. That means expenses will probably start to outpace donations unless those donations pick up in the remainder of the year.

It is also time to prepare a budget for 2024. Towards that end, we are forming a Generosity (Stewardship) Team. This is a very short-term way to serve the church, and it basically involves telling our faith community’s story, so members and friends may feel led to give as they are able towards our ministries. We collect pledges, which helps us determine what we can expect in terms of donations in the year ahead. If you are willing to help with this, please contact President Mitchell Farmer or Pastor Jessica.

At the same time, church boards, committees, and Council will prepare an expense budget. We then reconcile income and expenses as best we can, and the congregational membership votes on the budget in December. We hope you will be praying for your church leaders as they work through this process and will ponder how you can support our church’s ministries in the year ahead. 

Beyond the budget, in July, we raised over $500 for First United’s Love Fund via a special offering. We also hosted a blood drive for the Red Cross, as well as shared our building space with a new group that hosts a weekly gathering in the Chapel. Positive things are happening, and as always, we are so very grateful for all who thoughtfully give as they are able to the church’s operations and mission!


Sunday Morning Hybrid Worship

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am. This first Sunday of the month, we will gather at God’s welcome table and celebrate communion together. Note: Communion elements (bread and wine/juice) will be served in the pews for those gathering in the sanctuary; online worshipers are encouraged to prepare a “nibble” and a “sip” prior to the start of the service. Kim Yaussy Albright, Bill Perkins, and Michael Shell will serve those gathering in person.

The service will also 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 kick off their season and offer special music. Molly Koontz will highlight some of the many ways we are invited to engage in the life of the church and our wider community. The Koontz family will be offering a warm welcome to all those who will gather in the sanctuary, while Kyle Hetrick and Herbert Sizek will welcome all who join via Zoom as they ensure the audio/visual pieces run as smoothly as possible. And, a beautiful floral arrangement will be provided by Bill and Phyllis Perkins as they offer best wishes to all students and teachers for a safe and rewarding school year! Finally, be sure to join us in Fellowship Hall after worship for a time of fellowship and refreshment hosted by 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 looking forward to the return of both the bell and vocal choirs 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 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.


Rally Day 2023

MeRC invites you to attend Rally Day on Sunday, September 17th immediately after the worship service. Join us in Fellowship Hall for a simple meal, 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 plan to join us and kick-off another great year at First United!

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 rekeith@iu.edu. 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.


“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. Though the group began meeting via Zoom (click here to join) new members are still encouraged to join! The schedule is as follows: September 7th (Chapters 3 & 4) and 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.

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 (aydt@icloud.com) 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 (ellenamills@gmail.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 (suerconnell@gmail.com) if interested.
  • mfbjohn@gmail.com) if interested.

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 Ted Wininger and Noel Koontz 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.


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).

Announcements Deadlines

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