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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-04-03

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Friday 3 April 2020
 
Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois 

Dear Friends, 
 
Please plan to worship on Sunday with your church. Find us on Facebook OR firstpres.live
 
It’s Palm Sunday this Sunday. We handed out 41 Palms to 17 cars in our Great Palm Branch Handoff in our alley. It’s also communion Sunday, so bring bread and juice to our on-line service of worship. 
 
Several of you joined our prayer service last night. We’ll do it again. Remember Holy Week Services next Thursday—for Maundy Thursday—and “Good” Friday at 7:00 p.m. 
 
Here’s a hymn:
 
Frail to Sing Praises
tune: Finlandia/Jean Sibelius
text: Matt Matthews/Acts 16
 
A gift in progress to our beloved
Music Director Joe Grant
First Presbyterian Church, Champaign, Illinois 
 
Dragged through the streets,
               the marketplace grew quiet.
Silas and Paul
               stood humbly and were charged
The magistrates 
               had them stripped and beaten
and locked in stocks
               in jail by faceless guards.
Cut off from day,
               steel and stone their blanket,
a starless night,
               and trembling, sighing hearts. 
 
When midnight came,
               an airless wind was rising.
So were their fears
               of what daylight might bring.
They lifted prayers,
               and feeble lamentation,
and kindled light
               when they began to sing:
“Praise be to God,
               Creator and Redeemer.
Forgive them all,
               and may your peace we bring.” 
 
May we kneel down
               in times of desperation,
when midnight casts
               long shadows chilled with doubt.
Like Paul and Silas
               help us to remember,
to pray to you,
               when mercy has runout 
May we find voices
               frail to sing your praises
And by your power,
               cast all our worry out.

—25 March 2020
Sheltering In Place,
Corona Spring  
 
* * * 
 
I can’t wait to worship with you again on Sunday.
 
Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.
               Be amazed.
                               Tell somebody. 
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church 
 
This bread tastes wonderful. Try it:
 
Here’s Kristi Corbin’s bread recipe, if you’d like to make a fresh loaf for Sunday:
 
1 1/2 cups warm water
1  tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup honey
2 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/8 cups of whole wheat flour
 
In large bowl, mix warm water and yeast to dissolve.  Add honey and olive oil to the mixture and stir. Let rest until yeast is bubbly.  This is usually just a few minutes. Mix salt and flour together first in a smaller bowl and then add gradually to the mixture.  Knead about 5 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Punch down risen dough, knead briefly, then shape into one large loaf or two equally-sized round, slightly flattened, loaves. Using a serrated knife, carefully score the sign of the cross in the middle of the loaf.  Place in preheated oven on a baking stone or cookie sheet and bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped (around 45 minutes). Let cool fifteen minutes before lifting from the cookie sheet or baking stone.  Ideally, let cool completely before serving.
 
* * *
Here is a kitchen video for you to enjoy: https://youtu.be/r8eeol5lwaI

Missed getting palms?  Here is a picture which you and/or your children can color to wave on Sunday.

* * *
 
Friday night at the movies (Another double Feature).
 
Friday night at the movies:
Ebert’s take on the movie “Schindler’s List”
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-schindlers-list-1993
 
Friday night at the movies:
Ebert’s take on the movie “Smoke Signals”
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/smoke-signals-1998
 

“It’s a good day to be indigenous!” the reservation radio deejay tells his American Indian listeners as “Smoke Signals” opens. We cut to the station’s traffic reporter, who scrutinizes an intersection that rarely seems to be used. “A big truck just went by,” he announces. Later in the film, we will hear several choruses of a song about John Wayne‘s false teeth.
 
“Smoke Signals” comes billed as the first feature written, directed, co-produced and acted by American Indians. It hardly seems necessary to even announce that: The film is so relaxed about its characters, so much at home in their world, that we sense it’s an inside job. Most films about Native Americans have had points to make and scores to settle, like all those earnest 1950s white films about blacks. Blaxploitation broke the ice and liberated unrehearsed black voices, and now here are two young Indians who speak freshly, humorously and for themselves.
 
THE FILM OPENS IN IDAHO ON A SIGNIFICANT DAY: THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1976. IT’S SIGNIFICANT NOT ONLY FOR AMERICA BUT FOR THE INFANT THOMAS BUILDS-THE-FIRE, WHO IS SAVED BY BEING THROWN FROM AN UPPER WINDOW WHEN HIS HOUSE BURNS DOWN AT 3 A.M. HE IS CAUGHT IN THE ARMS OF ARNOLD JOSEPH (GARY FARMER), A NEIGHBOR WITH A DRINKING PROBLEM, WHO IS EVENTUALLY THROWN OUT BY HIS WIFE (TANTOO CARDINAL) AND GOES TO LIVE IN PHOENIX. HE LEAVES BEHIND HIS SON VICTOR JOSEPH (ADAM BEACH).
 
AND THEN, 20 YEARS LATER, WORD COMES THAT ARNOLD HAS DIED. VICTOR HAS A DEEP RESENTMENT AGAINST HIS FATHER, BUT THINKS HE SHOULD GO TO PHOENIX AND PICK UP HIS ASHES. HE HAS NO MONEY FOR THE JOURNEY, BUT THOMAS BUILDS-THE-FIRE (EVAN ADAMS) DOES–AND OFFERS TO BUY THE BUS TICKETS IF VICTOR WILL TAKE HIM ALONG ON THE TRIP. THAT WOULD BE A BIG CONCESSION FOR VICTOR, WHO IS TALL AND SILENT AND HAS NEVER MUCH LIKED THE SKINNY, TALKATIVE THOMAS. BUT HE HAS NO CHOICE. AND AS THE MOVIE SETTLES INTO THE RHYTHMS OF A ROAD PICTURE, THE TWO CHARACTERS TALK, AND THE DIALOGUE BECOMES THE HEART OF THE MOVIE.
 
“SMOKE SIGNALS” WAS WRITTEN BY SHERMAN ALEXIE, BASED ON HIS BOOK “THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN.” HE HAS A GOOD EAR FOR SPEECH, AND HE ALLOWS HIS CHARACTERS TO REFER TO THE REAL WORLD, TO TV AND POP CULTURE AND THE MOVIES. (THE RESERVED VICTOR, IMPATIENT WITH THOMAS’S CHATTER, ACCUSES HIM OF HAVING LEARNED MOST OF WHAT HE KNOWS ABOUT INDIANS BY WATCHING “DANCES WITH WOLVES,” AND ADVISES HIM TO SPEND MORE TIME “LOOKING STOIC.”) THERE ARE REFERENCES TO GEN. CUSTER AND THE U.S. CAVALRY, TO JOHN WAYNE AND TO U.S. POLICIES TOWARD INDIANS OVER THE YEARS, BUT “SMOKE SIGNALS” IS FREE OF THE OPPRESSIVE WEIGHT OF VICTIM CULTURE; THESE CHARACTERS DON’T LIVE IN THE PAST AND DEFINE THEMSELVES BY THE CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST THEIR PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE NEXT GENERATION; I WOULD ASSIGN THEM TO GENERATION X IF THAT DIDN’T LIMIT THEM TOO MUCH.
 
IF THEY ARE THE FUTURE, ARNOLD, THE GARY FARMER CHARACTER, IS THE PAST. VICTOR NURSES A RESENTMENT AGAINST HIM, BUT JOSEPH IS UNDERSTANDABLY MORE OPEN-MINDED, SINCE THE MAN DID, AFTER ALL, SAVE HIS LIFE. THERE ARE A FEW FLASHBACKS TO HELP EXPLAIN THE OLDER MAN, AND ALTHOUGH THEY’RE BRIEF, THEY’RE STRONG AND WELL DONE: WE SEE THAT ARNOLD IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN HIS SON IMAGINES, AND ABLE TO INSPIRE THE RESPECT OF THE WOMAN HE WAS LIVING WITH IN PHOENIX (IRENE BEDARD).
 
“SMOKE SIGNALS” IS, IN A WAY, A CONTINUATION OF A 1989 MOVIE NAMED “POWWOW HIGHWAY,” IN WHICH FARMER STARRED AS A HUGE, GENTLE, INSIGHTFUL MAN, AND A MARTINEZ AS MORE “MODERN.” IT, TOO, WAS A ROAD MOVIE, AND IT LIVED THROUGH ITS CONVERSATIONS. TO SEE THE TWO MOVIES SIDE-BY-SIDE IS TO OBSERVE HOW NATIVE AMERICANS, LIKE ALL AMERICANS, ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM THE MELTING POT–FOR BETTER AND WORSE.
 
THE DIRECTOR, CHRIS EYRE, TAKES ADVANTAGE OF THE ROAD MOVIE GENRE, WHICH REQUIRES ONLY A GOAL AND THEN PERMITS GREAT FREEDOM IN THE EVENTS ALONG THE WAY. THE TWO MEN WILL EVENTUALLY OBTAIN THE ASHES, WE EXPECT, AND ALSO SOME WISDOM. MEANWHILE, WE CAN WATCH THEM DISCOVER ONE ANOTHER: THE TACITURN, INWARD MAN WHO WAS ABUSED AS A CHILD, AND THE ORPHAN WHO, IT’S TRUE, SEEMS TO HAVE GOTTEN HIS WORLD VIEW AT SECONDHAND THROUGH THE MEDIA.
 
THERE’S A PARTICULAR SATISFACTION IN LISTENING TO PEOPLE TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY KNOW WELL AND CARE ABOUT. THE SUBJECT ISN’T AS IMPORTANT AS THE FEELING. LISTEN TO THEM DISCUSS THE INS AND OUTS OF AN INDIAN SPECIALTY KNOWN AS “FRYBREAD,” AND YOU WILL SENSE WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THE WORLD.



First Pres Prayer Meeting Online

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Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-04-02

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Thursday April 2nd 2020
A Weekday Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
JOIN US TONIGHT at 7:00 for a prayer service. Bring your concerns & celebrations. The bottom of this email has instructions. 
 
Let’s add Kristie Cozad to our prayer list. This note is from Greg, and I share it here with his and Kristie’s permission:
 
Late last week Kristie’s infection in her left breast returned and seems to also have moved to her right breast. She has had 3 appointments at Carle the past 2 days. She will need surgery to remove all implants and clean the infected area. There is also the possibility that she has developed inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer is rare but is unfortunately more advanced. She had a biopsy this morning and will likely have the results late this week.  She has no signs of Covid—cough, fever, shortness of breath and feels ok other than the breast related issues.  
 
So as you make your prayer lists for the next couple days please lift up Kristie. Specifically please pray that she remains cancer free and that they can clean up the infection without complications.  
 
* * *
This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. We will celebrate communion. Yes, even though we are physically separated, we will celebrate communion, a sacrament that celebrates our unity in Christ. When you tune in for Sunday worship (firstpres.live), bring some juice (or wine?) and some bread. The Christ who gathers with us is not put off by barriers of time or space. He can be with each of us at once, in different locations, around “one table” which he spreads in our hearts.
 
Here’s Kristi Corbin’s bread recipe, if you’d like to make a fresh loaf for Sunday:
 
1 1/2 cups warm water
1  tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup honey
2 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/8 cups of whole wheat flour
 
In large bowl, mix warm water and yeast to dissolve.  Add honey and olive oil to the mixture and stir. Let rest until yeast is bubbly.  This is usually just a few minutes. Mix salt and flour together first in a smaller bowl and then add gradually to the mixture.  Knead about 5 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Punch down risen dough, knead briefly, then shape into one large loaf or two equally-sized round, slightly flattened, loaves. Using a serrated knife, carefully score the sign of the cross in the middle of the loaf.  Place in preheated oven on a baking stone or cookie sheet and bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped (around 45 minutes). Let cool fifteen minutes before lifting from the cookie sheet or baking stone.  Ideally, let cool completely before serving.
 
 
Much love to you all.
 
News:
 
Palm Branches: If any of you wish to drive through the alley between our Sanctuary and Education buildings TODAY, this afternoon between 1:00 and 2:00, you will be met by a gloved volunteer(s) who will hand you through your open car window a palm branch for every member of your family. The palms have been boxed for over a week, so they carry no infection, advises Peter Yau. We will make no flesh-to-flesh contact in the exchange. 
 
Email us a picture: We’d like to share a picture of you with palm branches, picture of you with your cat, picture of you in your worship space, picture of you…where ever. We’re attempting to stay connected during this season of physical-distancing. Send a picture to live@firstpres.church.
 
A Video Message from Matt: Matt’s friends in jail? (“Paul and Silas”).
https://youtu.be/uyY_UmxjH90
 
 
The Good Word:  
 
Psaumes 150 La Bible du Semeur (BDS)
150 Louez l’Eternel?!
Louez Dieu |dans son sanctuaire?!
Louez-le dans l’étendue céleste |où éclate sa puissance?!
2 Louez-le pour ses hauts faits,
louez-le |pour son immense grandeur?!
3 Louez-le au son du cor,
louez-le au son du luth, |au son de la lyre?!
4 Louez-le avec des danses |et au son des tambourins?!
Louez-le avec le luth |et avec la flûte?!
5 Louez-le par les cymbales |bien retentissantes?!
Louez-le par les cymbales |résonnant avec éclat?!
6 Que tout ce qui vit |loue donc l’Eternel?!
Louez l’Eternel?!
 
 
Psalm 150 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
150 Shout praises to the Lord!
    Praise God in his temple.
    Praise him in heaven,
    his mighty fortress.
2 Praise our God!
    His deeds are wonderful,
    too marvelous to describe.
3 Praise God with trumpets
    and all kinds of harps.
4 Praise him with tambourines
    and dancing,
    with stringed instruments
    and woodwinds.
5 Praise God with cymbals,
    with clashing cymbals.
6 Let every living creature
praise the Lord.
    Shout praises to the Lord!
 
 
Prayer:
 
Unseparating One,
Hold us together, 
a fragile web of many strings attached, 
net forming compassion, 
patchwork sky-linked stars. 
By your word, 
recreate us in your image. 
Amen.
(—Kathryn Johnson Cameron)
  
(Prayer service instructions below…)
 
PEACE, 
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church
 
Prayer Service instructions:
 
The simplist thing is to find First Presbyterian Church Champaign on Facebook at 7:00 and join us there! You won’t be able to speak, but you’ll hear and can type in comments/prayer concerns.
 http://fb.com/firstpreschampaign/
 
Otherwise, join us on ZOOM!  If you wish to pray aloud during the prayer meeting, you’ll need at least a microphone, and preferably a camera, on your computer/phone/tablet.  To connect, you will need to get the link from the church office.  If you received the daily email today, it will be there.  Otherwise, email info@firstpres.church.
 
If you have not yet participated in a Zoom meeting, please watch this Zoom basics video from another Presbytery: https://youtu.be/twmWqRDXBKw and then test at http://zoom.us/test
 
REMEMBER, THE EASIEST THING: If you wish to be part of the prayer meeting, but do not intend to pray aloud where all can hear, you can join instead by Facebook Live.  Simply go to our page, http://fb.com/firstpreschampaign/ and you should find the Live video there.  We’ll keep an eye on the comments there, so that we can include your typed prayers, as well.