Don’t laugh – I found First United in the yellow pages. ?Yes, I’d just moved in and my computer wasn’t hooked up, but I’m old and probably would have looked first in the yellow pages anyway. ?Our wonderful new web site has taken the place of those yellow pages ads – my timing was right.

I learned First United is affiliated with the United Church of Christ; that was the first reason for choosing to dig a little deeper. My husband and I had belonged to a UCC church in Santa Fe before my move here, and it was the first UCC church in that conference to take an open and affirming stance. ?I was hoping to find the same here in Bloomington; worshipping with people of faith who are welcoming and non judgmental was important to me. ?In addition, First United Church is only 2 miles from my home and has great parking – two more good reasons to give it a try.

That first visit was in August 2008, just a couple of weeks after my move here. ?The service wasn’t half over before I KNEW I had found my church home. ?The first sermon I heard Jack preach was honest and frank as that year’s presidential election approached; I found his candor refreshing. ?I was fortunate to choose a seat behind Malissa Sparks, who welcomed me and took me to coffee hour, introducing me to many very kind people. ?I found the church welcoming and sincerely interested in what I was looking for in a church and community. ?It hasn’t changed except to seem to be seeking always to be more welcoming of everyone, with a deep concern for those outside our church doors as well.

I quickly made the decision to become a member of First United. ?The open and affirming stance of the church, the opportunities to find and serve some needs of the community and, especially, the stimulating and challenging sermons each week have set me free in a way I didn’t even know I was needing.

As time has passed I’ve found this a wonderful place to worship as well as a place to learn and serve. ?First United has become a home, a source of comfort and friendship. ?It is a place where I can wonder and question and learn and grow, and constantly be challenged to find the person I should be in God’s amazing kingdom.