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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-28

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Thursday May 28th 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
  
 Dear Friends,
 
This from Cousin Tom, who prays for our congregation:
 
In a London Review of Books essay by Jacqueline Rose discussing Camus’ The Plague, she dwells on the disparate suffering experienced during a pandemic. In New Mexico we have first-hand knowledge of the pandemic’s apparent prejudice, watching the mortality and morbidity numbers of the Navajo nation sky rocket. 
 
For decades Navajos and Mexican-Americans have had intolerable rates of adult-onset diabetes, heart disease and essential hypertension. For more than a century a large segment of Navajos on reservation has lived at the margin, with too little nutritious food, too little good water and with substandard shelter and health care. 
 
Rose delivers a sort of reverse rationale employed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who identified AIDS as God’s punishment of gays: the dispossessed suffer for our sins of bigotry and neglect.
 
Today I opened the June Harper’s and found the Easy Chair in which Thomas Chatterton Williams describes quarantining in Paris and thinking about Camus and The Plague.  
 
Quoting Camus: “There’s no question of heroism in all this. It’s a matter of common decency. That’s an idea that may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is –common decency.”
 
Quoting Williams: “For Camus, the question of sickness, of life’s two irreducible teams – pestilences and victims – and of the Sisyphean struggle for meaning in a godless, absurdly indifferent universe, was always quite literal. He worked on the book for six eventful years: first in Oran, then in the French Alpine village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, where he went to treat his tuberculosis, and afterward in Paris, during the Resistance, distilling into fiction his painstaking research on the history of plagues in Europe and Asia…
 
“A pandemic, if you are fortunate enough not to be hospitalized or killed by it, wears you down by other, more subtle measures. It administers by a thousand cuts, a kind of spiritual and psychological incapacitation… Indeed one of the key insights of The Plague is its emphasis on the fundamental fragility of all human arrangements, and the concomitant inability of most people to acknowledge this tenuousness until it is far too late for meaningful collective action. (Beyond the particular menace of the coronavirus, this is ultimately what is so terrifying about the climate crisis.)”
 
Yesterday the NY Times reported on the Columbia U study by public health statisticians as they looked back at the beginnings of the pandemic in the United States.  Creating elaborate calculations dependent on a list of variables, the researchers were able to estimate that at least 36,000 deaths could have been avoided had federal officials declared the lockdown a week earlier.  
 
That estimate, however, depends on the assumption that Americans would have been willing to accept the need for an earlier sheltering-in-place, an assumption that seems non-sensible given the current rush to have tatoos and hair styling as the disease curve in many states reach record heights in a kurtosis of death.
 
News:
 
Wednesday Vespers! Thanks for joining us last night.

 
* * *
 
Members in the News:
 
Lisa Ainsworth elected to the National Academy of Sciences
https://ripe.illinois.edu/press/press-releases/lisa-ainsworth-usda-ars-elected-national-academy-sciences
 
Stretch Ledford receives teaching award!
https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/808778
  
* * *
 
John Muirhead invites us to celebrate Louise Allen’s 95th Bday!
Louise Allen
The Bickford
1002 S. Staley Road
Champaign, IL 61822 
 
* * *
 
Presbyterian Women will gather next week! Plan now. 
\For 150 years, the women of this church have faithfully served within the church and the community and world.  During the present need for “social distancing”, we’re missing meeting together for study and fellowship, but the ministries continue.  So a first step in moving forward is the annual installation of women in the variety of positions in Presbyterian Women.  Yes, we’ll Zoom forward, on June 4 at 1:00 p.m.  Every woman in the church is invited to log in to her email account and click on the link provided for PW officer installation, thereby joining in support and embracing all that is to come.

— 
 
Humor:
 
What gets wet as it gets dryer? A towel.
 
When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.
 
When the three-legged dog walked into the bar, what did he say? “I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my Pa.”
 
I know, groan…
 
New monthly budget:  Gas $0  Entertainment $0  Clothes $0   Groceries $2,799.
 
Breaking News:  Wearing a mask inside your home is now highly recommended.  Not so much to stop COVID-19, but to stop eating.
 
Good Word:
 
Galatians 5:22-23             
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
 
Let us pray: 
 
Holy God,
today I thank you for the Peony:
the way the heavy-headed buds
bow before you then lift their
heads in that profusion of color.
 
May I lift my head to you
with such radiance, even
if only for a single day—
 
for your Son, 
for your Spirit,
for your Whole Self
with my whole self.
 
AMEN
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-27

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Wednesday May 27th 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
Some of you have asked for Sunday’s lyric. Here it is:
 
 How Do I Pray?
 
I.          
How do I pray?
What do I say
to a God from whom 
nothing is secret?
 
II.
How do I say
What’s in my heart
—a heart that is swirling and aching, 
a heart that’s a secret to me?
 
III.
God of the cosmos
Ruler of all
Lover of nature and nations 
O Spirit of God I’m in awe . . . 
 
IV.
I stand here before you
I shake in your sight.
Unworthy and broken and 
pleading and seeking your light.
 
V.
How do I reach you
With a voice that’s so weak?
Or do you do the finding
And into this darkness 
you seek even me?
Even me?
 
VI.
How do I pray?
What do I say 
to a God from whom 
nothing is secret? 
 
(Matt Matthews, for the play Kara’s Dance)
 
News:
 
Wednesday Vespers! Tonight at 7:00 p.m. our weekly Wednesday Night Gathering via ZOOM will feature Dr. Rachel Matthews leading a Bible study on the Old Testament book of Joel. Let’s build our church! Email info@firstpres.church for the link.

The Pathways To Peace / Pakistan Group would love to have you join them. Come on in for a visit, Wednesday, May 27 at 1:30
Join Zoom Meeting  

Email info@firstpres.church for the link.

Members of Mission Possible have been busy creating and installing a handrail to the stairway leading up to the choir room and Sanctuary.   Many thanks to Bill Gamble and Itch Jones for their work…note they are obeying the “mask” guidelines!


 
For All The Saints . . . We celebrate the lives of Elizabeth Robinson Eisner (Nancy Martin’s mother) and Jeannie Murray. Both saints died on Friday. The families appreciate your prayers and we all look forward to the day when we can have Memorial Services in the Sanctuary to celebrate the God of life. 
 
Humor:
 
What gets wet as it gets dryer?
 
When is a door not a door?
 
When the three-legged dog walked into the bar, what did he say?
 
(I’ll share your answers tomorrow.)
 
Good Word: (David’s prayer)
 
2 Samuel 7:18-19 Good News Translation (GNT)
 
18 Then King David went into the 
Tent of the Lord’s presence, 
sat down and prayed, 
 
“Sovereign Lord, I am not worthy 
of what you have already 
done for me, 
nor is my family. 
 
Let us pray: (Another David’s prayer)
 
Glory to you, Prodigal Provider, 
for the bumper crop of generosity 
being harvested in this season. 
 
I pray your heart gladdens with delight 
as you see children’s encouraging 
sidewalk art, 
 
or an exhausted parent’s calming hug;
 
hear sweet music from balcony soloists 
or virtual choirs; 
 
smell donated flowers, 
 
aromas from chef-prepared meals 
donated for the poor, 
 
or fresh baked goods left at 
the front lines of care; 
 
feel the pulsing flow from donors’ 
veins to blood banks, 
 
or the touch of nurses’, doctors’, 
 
or chaplains’ gloved hands on the brows 
of the sick or dying, while still speaking 
words of hope, comfort, 
 
or blessing to those in need. 
 
In the midst of the bombastic bedlam 
of the self-serving, may I not miss 
these beautiful, bounteous blessings 
discretely planted, fed, and nourished 
by your goodness and grace. Amen.
 
(Rev. Dr. David Hindman)
 
Much, much love to you all.
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church
 



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-26

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The Heart of Mission
May 26, 2020


 
 

Happy Birthday, Church! Pentecost Sunday is this coming Sunday, May 31, 2020. It is hard to believe the Easter Season is over. I will share the Pentecost Offering minute for mission with you today. After I give the minute for mission, please read the mission updates and announcements. At the very end I have included an updated list of food pantries that are open.
 
Each year on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. What we celebrate at Pentecost is God’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit so that people of every identity and language can hear a word of welcome into God’s household.
 
At Pentecost, we look especially to our young people with whom God has called us to live. The psalmist reminds us of the importance of faith being established during our earliest years, saying, “God from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” God’s youngest family members need support to build their full potential in both faith and life, and all of us have a role to play. These young ones can teach how the Holy Spirit is moving in our world.
 
The Pentecost Offering lets us support the development of children, youth and young adults in our community and throughout the country. Forty percent of this offering stays within our community because we want to build the household of God together, in this place. The remainder is sent on to our denomination so that young adults can lay a foundation for their lives through a year of service as part of the Young Adult Volunteer program. At Sunday’s online worship you will be able to give to the Pentecost Offering by mail, or digitally at firstpres.live/giving.
 
The Pentecost Offering is also used to support ministries with youth, through experiences of worship and formation like the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which gathers nearly 5,000 young people every three years to learn and grow together (Our congregation send a delegation with the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois last year).
 
There is also a portion of this Offering that supports the education of every child in this country, through the Educate a Child, Transform the World national initiative. Even when there are no children or young people in the places where we live, there are many, many with us in the household of God.
 
Our children in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Savoy will benefit from this offering through DREAAM which we have been highlighting the past three weeks in our Heart of Mission Newsletter. During this Pentecost season, let us celebrate the fact that we are building a life of faith and building the household of God with our children, youth and young adults. Through our gifts today, we join with them and with God in building that household together.
And you know what we always say … if we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
 
Let us pray, Holy Spirit, breathe on us. Inspire us to give and to grow your household. Thank you for the special place you offer to the youngest members of your family. May our efforts reflect the joy and delight that Jesus showed in welcoming children. Amen.
 
Peace,
Rachel Matthews, Temporary Mission Coordinator
First Presbyterian Church Champaign

ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Go and Serve: We cannot keep the Mission Possible people down! Bill Gamble, and Itch and Sue Jones have been building a handrail for the choir stairs. Those of us who are short in stature (me included!) will be able to hug the wall with confidence when they are finished. I have a few people taking pictures so hopefully we will be able to see the final results in upcoming newsletters! Thank you all!
 
Prayers for mission coworkers in Indonesia: Prayers for our Muslim neighbors here in Champaign-Urbana but also worldwide as they have just celebrated Eid-al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. We pray that the COVID infection rate does not rise for their communities. To this end Indonesia has been in the news lately since it is the largest Muslim country in the world. We pray for our mission coworkers Farsijanna Adeney-Risakotta and her husband Bernie who live and work in Indonesia.
 
Update on food distribution:
Restoration Urban Ministries (R.U.M.) has been continuing its food pantry through this shelter in place as well as offer virtual worship services on its Facebook page. They operate on a shoestring but have continued their work through this time.
 
At the end of the newsletter is an updated list of food pantries for the area. Thank you to Bob Kirby and Compassion, Peace and Justice Committee for keeping us updated on food pantry and immigrant concerns.
 
The NAWC Immigrant Relief Fund:
The New American Welcome Center’s Immigrant Relief Fund provides time-sensitive monetary assistance to local immigrants for one-time expenses. To request assistance, please submit this form, e-mail welcome@universityymca.org, or call 217-417-5897. To make a donation to the fund go to: www.universityymca.org/irf
 
Jesus is the Way Prison Ministry Fundraiser: THE DATE IS STILL SET FOR: Friday, August 28, 2020 at 6:00pm Since this is our largest fundraiser of each year WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP = TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF OUR MINISTRY. Contact us at info@jesusisthewayprisonministries.org or 217-892-4044 so we can share with you the ways you can HELP. Additional details coming soon — STAY TUNED!!!
http://jesusisthewayprisonministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2020-May-Newsletter.pdf
 
Cuba Partners Network: American Airlines is beginning to book flights to Cuba again for people with special religious visas. However, in a message from Rev. Edelberto Valdes General Secretary from the IPRC Synod, there is concern for the safety so meetings and activities of the churches with more than two persons remain suspended until the last quarter of the year (October, November, December). 
 
We are being encouraged to communicate with our Cuban partners through some of the other various ways possible (WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, email) and that you share photos (via Facebook), news, reflections, Bible studies and prayer concerns with each other to maintain your connections. Also, we are being encouraged to continue to pray for our Cuban friends and to join the Advocacy efforts to urge the U.S. government to allow humanitarian aid, medical supplies and test kits, currently blocked by the U.S. embargo, into Cuba. Remember, you can read translations of daily devotionals of our Cuban partner church, “Su Voz”. (Ask Rachel Matthews if you are not getting “Su Voz” and want to.) We hope to send to you some ways you may send funds to our church and seminary partners in Cuba soon.
 
Frontera de Cristo – We have finished the fourth video coffee and conversation with our mission coworkers at Frontera de Cristo. “Peacebuilding Through Education in Communities of Violence” in which Marina Forero, the Director of Frontera de Cristo’s Children’s Enrichment Ministry, and her husband David Barillo discussed the role of education in peacebuilding within communities of violence.
 
Here is a Facebook link to some of the pictures of their work at the Hope Community Center run by FDC https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10159038987901412&set=pcb.10159038988501412
 
These conversations have been enlightening. Also, you might want to note that they are having a special on coffee through the end of this month as we participate in these compassionate conversations. $2 for every 5lbs ordered will go to COVID relief in Agua Prieta in addition to keeping the jobs open at the Café Justo roastery. Email office@fronterderisto.org for a zoom link to these wonderful conversations.
            May 28: FDC Board Member Rosie Mendoza and Author Aaron Bobrow-Strain discussing The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story
            June 4: 4th Anniversary Celebration of Cafe Justo y Mas
            June 11: PCUSA Mission Co-workers Miriam Maldonado and Mark Adams: 
Borders as Places of Encounter
 
A bonus for this week as summer descends upon us: a video link for a recipe for Iced Coffee in the Café Justo shop. https://www.facebook.com/fronteradecristo/videos/2726099074168140/
 
Friends of PEB
Two videos updating us on what is happening at Presbyterian Education Board Schools in Pakistan. These are fantastic videos to show this country, our friends, teachers and children that we support. The second video is a particularly wonderful Christian witness they give to this country.
1. https://www.facebook.com/296290880468314/videos/578803929648714
2. https://www.facebook.com/296290880468314/videos/339733273670349
 

Let us keep all our mission partners in our prayers, those who are waiting to go back to their place of ministry and those who are able to work where they are. Listen for God’s call to you in their ministry.
 
Our PC(USA) Mission CoWorkers:
Mark Adams and Miriam Maidonado Escobar (Mexico)
Farsijanna Adeney-Risakotta (Indonesia)
Jeff and Christi Boyd (Central Africa)
Jo Ella Holman (Carribean and Cuba)
Bob and Kristi Rice (South Sudan)
 
Our regional and global mission partners:
Kemmerer Village (and Camp Carew)
Lifeline Pilots
Marion Medical Mission
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Opportunity International
Friends of Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan Presbyterian Cuba Partnership
Special Offerings of the PC(USA)
Theological Education Fund
Young Adult Volunteers
 
Here in Champaign – Urbana:
CU Better Together
CU at Home
CANAAN S.A.F.E. HOUSE
CANTEEN RUN
COURAGE CONNECTION
DREAAM
eMPTY TOMB, INC
FAITH IN ACTION
JESUS IS THE WAY PRISON MINISTRY
THE REFUGEE CENTER
RESTORATION URBAN MINISTRY
SALT & LIGHT
 
Here at First Presbyterian Church
FPCC Amateur Preachers
FPCC Environmental Committee working with Faith in Place
FPCC Presbyterian Women
FPCC ESL
FPCC Children, Youth and Families
FPCC Mission Possible/Go and Serve
 
FOOD PANTRIES, CHAMPAIGN COUNTY
Please note: In light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) some of our partners may cancel distributions temporarily. Please check our COVID-19 Updates and Information page (www.eifoodbank.org/news/) or contact the site directly to find out if they will be having distributions. Some of our agencies are closed on major holidays. Please contact the site directly for holiday distribution hours.
If you’re in need of help, but haven’t visited one of EIF’s partners in the past year, please visit www.eifclient.com to pre-register.

Champaign Church of the Brethren
Call Church Monday-Friday 8am-12pm to schedule appointment
1210 N. Neil Street  Champaign, IL 61820
217-356-3852
Serving Champaign County

Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
Lunch served 7 days a week 11am – 12:30pm
116 N First Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Serving Champaign County

Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal
Monday-Friday 9am-10am (until takeout sacks are gone)
208 W University Ave Champaign, IL 61820
217-352-9827
Serving Champaign County

Faith Baptist Church-Champaign
By appointment only – call church to schedule
4601 N. Market Street  Champaign, IL 61822
217-367-9918
Serving Champaign-Urbana & surrounding area

Faith UMC Emergency Food Pantry
Open Monday-Wednesday 11am-2pm
1719 S. Prospect Ave, Champaign, IL 61820
217-359-3631
Serving Champaign County

Friends of Champaign County
(located inside Champaign-Urbana Public Health District)
Open Thursday 12pm – 2pm
201 West Kenyon Road Champaign, IL 61820
217-352-7961
Serving Champaign County

Grace Lutheran Church
Open Thursday 10am – 12pm
313 S. Prospect Ave Champaign, IL 61820
217-356-6232
Serving Champaign County

Jubilee Café (located inside Community United Church of Christ)
Serves hot meal  Monday’s from 5-6:30pm
805 South 6th, Champaign
All are welcome!    https://www.facebook.com/jubileecafecucc/           

Restoration Urban Ministries
Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10am – 1pm
1213 Parkland Court, Champaign, IL 61821
217-355-2662
Serving Champaign County

Salvation Army Pantry
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9am – 4pm / Tuesdays 9 am – 5 pm
2212 North Market Street, Champaign, IL 61822
Serving Champaign County

St. Vincent DePaul-Champaign (Inside Holy Cross Church)
Call Church for an appointment 
405 W Clark Street Champaign, IL 61820
217-352-8748
Serving Champaign

St. Luke CME Food Pantry
Open 3rd Saturday 10am – 12pm
809 5th Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Serving Champaign County 

St. Vincent DePaul-Urbana
Open Monday -Thursdays 4:30pm – 5pm
Inside St. Patrick Parish Center
708 W Main Street, Urbana, IL 61801
Serving Champaign County

Stone Creek Food Pantry – Urbana
Open second & fourth Friday of the month from 10:30am – 1pm 
2502 S. Race St, Urbana, IL 61801
Serving Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and surrounding areas

UniPlace Christian Church
Open Wednesdays 6pm – 7pm (while University classes are in session)
403 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820
217-362-5118
Serving Champaign County

UniPlace Christian Pantry – Open Door
Open Tuesday 10am – 12pm
403 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820
217-362-5118
Serving Champaign County

The Vineyard Food Pantry
Open Wednesdays 10am – 12pm, & 5pm – 6pm
Inside Hope Center
1802 N. Lincoln, Urbana, IL 61801
Serving Champaign County

Windsor Road Christian Church 
Open Monday-Thursday 9am – 4:00pm
2501 Windsor Road, Champaign, IL 61822
217-359-2122
Serving Champaign County

Wesley Evening Pantry at Wesley United Methodist Church
Thursdays 5pm – 7pm
Additional hours for Champaign County College Students only: Fridays 1pm – 3pm
1203 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL  61801
Serving Champaign County

Wesley Evening Pantry at Parkland College
Open every Wednesday 1pm – 3pm / 1st and 3rd Saturdays 10am – 12pm
Parkland College “M” Building (room M138 across from the Planetarium; park in the M1 lot)
2400 W. Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
Serving Champaign County

Foodmobile Schedule
 
If you plan to attend one of the following distributions, please visit www.eifclient.com to pre-register. Please note, pre-registering does not reserve a spot in line.

Upcoming Foodmobiles will be held on the following dates, times, locations and serving the following areas:

Drive-Through Food Distribution in Normal, IL
Saturday, May 30th from 9:30am – 10:30am
Normal West Community High School
501 N Parkside Rd, Normal, IL

Drive-Through Food Distribution in Bement, IL
Saturday, June 6th from 9:30am – 10:30am
Bement High School
201 S. Champaign Street
Enter from Highway 105
 
https://www.eifoodbank.org/help/champaign.html
 
 


  302 W. Church Street
  Champaign, IL 61820
  217-356-7238
  info@firstpres.church



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-25

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Monday May 25th 2020
A Special Memorial Day
Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, IL. At 13, he drove a milk wagon. He spent two weeks enrolled at West Point but failed math and grammar. He worked as a farm laborer in Kansas. Was a bricklayer for a time. A coal heaver in Omaha. In 1945 he moved to Flat Rock, NC. He was in his late sixties. His wife raised famous goats, which sounds like a Marx Brothers’ joke. The goats were famous because they held milking records. She bred them to be strong, productive, old. 
 
I’ve walked through the Flat Rock house and grounds many times. I’ve met some of Mrs. Sandburg’s goats. We saw a play on the grounds once, a reading of his Rootabaga Stories. His wife was the former Lilian Steichen; her brother was the famous photographer Edward whose son Alfred married Georgia O’Keefe, which is another story. Sandburg called his wife Paula, and interestingly, she never allowed a single drape, blind, or window dressing of any kind to be hung in their Flat Rock home, which they called Connemara. Mrs. Sandburg said windows frame the beautiful world, and the beautiful world ought not be covered up. Suffice it to note their rural estate did not border meat factories or laundromats. 
 
I digress, again.
 
A big piano fills the front room of Connemara. I’ve seen the guitar on which Sandburg composed his folk tunes. I’ve looked into his bedroom. I’ve walked through his voluminous book collection. 
 
He won the Pulitzer prize thrice. Twice for his poetry and once for the biography of Abraham Lincoln during the war years. Lincoln, as you historians will know, only a few generations before Sandburg, lived just over two hours away in New Salem, IL. 
 
I have a point and I’m almost there.
 
Sandburg as an old man wrote late into the night. He slept until noon every day. His breakfast was to be left on a tray at his door; whomever brought it was never to knock. He wrote about a third of his published work in the Flat Rock house that once belonged to the treasurer of the Confederate States of America, a cause that couldn’t have been farther from Sandburg’s heart. The NAACP counted Sandburg as one of their champions, and he was, staunchly.
 
He loved America. 
 
He wrote powerfully about Chicago, the city in which he took his first newspaper job. The City of Broad Shoulders, he called Chicago. Player of Railroads, he said. Did he know Rev. George McKinley’s son (our pastor who built our current sanctuary), William, who got rich with the Illinois Traction System? Did he know Chicago-born Robert Henry Allerton, whose nearby estate brings such joy to me and Rachel? (The peony garden is alive with color right now!) 
 
Sandburg knew a lot of people. Befriended the little man, spoke out against big business, championed the rights of the worker. 
 
And he was a great writer. 
 
Stormy, 
 
husky, 
 
brawling,
 
Chicago. 
 
 
Why all this blather about Sandburg? 
 
Because he wrote what I think is the perfect Memorial Day poem. It is a truth, a memorial, a warning, a prayer.
 
Let me know what you think.
 
 
 

Grass

BY CARL SANDBURG
 
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
                                          I am the grass; I cover all.
 
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                                          What place is this?
                                          Where are we now?
 
                                          I am the grass.
                                          Let me work.
 
 News:
 
CU-Better Together Coming together to fight hunger and give hope to school families in need. Here is the sign up for the Interfaith Alliance. Please share widely. Thank you!
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F044EAEA822ABFA7-cubetter
 
Good Word:
 
Proverbs 1:7 (King James Version) (Notice I keep repeating this.)
 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
 
Let us pray:
 
A Prayer by an Unknown Confederate Soldier. 
 
I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for
but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered,
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
 
Much, much love to you all.
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-05-22

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Friday 22 May 2020
 
Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends, 
 
Last night the Session appointed a Covid-19 Response Team. Your staff and worship teams have been talking about this for many weeks with Peter Yau’s input; those people realized we needed a larger group to think more widely about opening and other issues. Please pray for them and be in touch with your observations and ideas.
 
Motion to Session: That the Session of First Presbyterian Champaign elect a Covid-19 Response Team coordinated by the Head of Staff for the purpose of discerning how and when our church reopens, and all matters related to the Covid-19 World Pandemic. The Team will function as a permanent committee of the Session until such time as the Session dissolves it. The Team will have advisory role only unless the Session elects to allow otherwise in specific circumstances.
 
Members shall include the following.
 
1 Peter Yau
2 Ron Deering
3 Judi Geistlinger
4 Ken Chapman
5 Matt Matthews
6 Eric Corbin
7 Mark Schoeffmann
8 Ruth Craddock
9 Tim Young
 
 
* * *
 
I’ll ‘see’ you on Sunday.
 
Expect a miracle.
 
Turn on your “device” and find us at:   FirstPres.Live
 
Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.
            Be amazed.
                        Tell somebody.
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church
 
 
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New fun photo challenge! Each Friday the Nurture Committee is challenging us to read an assigned scripture about Jesus and come up with a representation of the story using whatever you already have around the house and share it in photo form.

CHALLENGE #6
CRUCIFIXION – Matthew 27:32-56
Betrayed by a friend, Jesus was arrested
He was tried by a court and his death was requested
On the saddest of days, our Savior did die
But within the dark moment, our salvation did lie

When Jesus died on the cross, his disciples and friends lost all hope. But God had a bigger plan. A beautiful plan that was way bigger than they could see at the moment.
We remember the cross as a place of suffering but also as a place of hope for all eternity.

With your family find or a make a cross and take a picture of it.

Post your photo to:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstpreschampaign/ 
 live@firstpres.church
 For Instagram @fpcchampaign

Example

  
 
 
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The Covid-19 Response Team has considered these and many other resources. I share them with you so that you aren’t in the dark, and that you might share your resources with us.
 
 Required reading:
 
 PCUSA response:
https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/covid-19/returning_to_public_worship_may_2020.pdf
 
Wisconsin Council of Churches
https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/covid-19/returning-to-church.pdf
 
Why every organization is now a startup:
https://journal.praxislabs.org/leading-beyond-the-blizzard-why-every-organization-is-now-a-startup-b7f32fb278ff
 
41 in worship. 24 get Covid-19. 2 dead. The pastor has regrets:
https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/mobile/i-would-do-anything-for-a-do-over-calgary-church-hopes-others-learn-from-their-tragic-covid-19-experience-1.4933461?fbclid=IwAR0e8AuLEORMcaASNFvFRabP7lKI9XKJJz9Y-Wd36nBMsjVh1UkhsWsz7Bg#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=g255pgZ
 
NYTimes: How do churches reopen? One pastor’s personal story:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/us/church-reopening-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare
 
Corona comeback? NYTimes
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/health/coronavirus-second-wave-infections.html?referringSource=articleShare
 
How Pandemics End NYTimes
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/health/coronavirus-plague-pandemic-history.html?referringSource=articleShare
 
Useful websites:
 
Presbyterian Outlook keeps a resource list:
https://pres-outlook.org
 
PCUSA has a good Covid-19 page:
https://www.pcusa.org/
 
CDC:
https://www.cdc.gov/