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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-03-27

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Friday 27 March 2020
 

Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois  

Dear Friends,

I miss seeing you face-to-face. 

firstpres.church/vlog 

Please plan to worship on Sunday with your church. Last week there was streaming trouble with the whole world trying to stream at the same time. Sorry for that glitch. We think we have a good ‘work-around’ for this week. Find us on Facebook OR firstpres.live If Facebook doesn’t “stream,” which is beyond our control, go to

firstpres.live

See you on Sunday!

* * *  

Many in our church have a close relationship with the Pakistan Presbyterian Education Board (PEB), and most of us have met Executive Director Veda Gill. She reports,

The PEB main office is working in shifts . . .  the poorest of the poor are going to suffer the most, either by the virus or by hunger.  It’s a heart wrenching situation.”

Explore the PEB website: https://www.peb.edu.pk/

Veda is concerned about her students and about finances, in that order. Our Pathways to Peace/Pakistan Study Group will keep us informed about how we can help. For now, let us pray for Veda. 

And as we pray for Veda and PEB, how can your church pray for you? What do you need? 

What do others around you need?

* * * 

During this surreal season of Coronavirus, focus on things besides television news.

               Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.

                              Be amazed.

                                              Tell somebody.

I can’t wait to worship with you again on Sunday.

PEACE,

Matt Matthews

864.386.9138

Matt@FirstPres.Church

 

In last week’s movie suggestion, I forgot to make clear the movie I meant. The 2007 version of Death at A Funeral is a hoot. The later version, less so. Roger Ebert rated the original directed by Frank Oz three out of four stars and commented: “The movie is part farce (unplanned entrances and exits), part slapstick (misbehavior of corpses) and part just plain wacky eccentricity. I think the ideal way to see it would be to gather your most dour and disapproving relatives and treat them to a night at the cinema.”

This week I suggest another double feature. The Right Stuff is a fun, America-can-do drama about our race to space. A lot of the early space program happened in my hometown in Hampton, VA, at NASA, formerly NACA. A Prairie Home Companion is a subtle comedy—but a little off the beaten path. 

ENJOY.

 

Friday night at the movies:

Ebert’s take on the movie The Right Stuff

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-right-stuff-1983

 

Friday night at the movies:

Ebert’s take on the movie A Prairie Home Companion

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/a-prairie-home-companion-2006-1



First Pres Worship – 3/29/20

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We invite you to join us for worship Sunday morning, March 29, 2020 at 9 AM. Be in touch. Comment here, email live@firstpres.church, or text (708) 762-FPCC (3722). Visit http://firstpres.live for more info.



Psalm

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Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-03-26

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Thursday 26 March 2020
A Weekday Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois 

Dear Friends,
 
Here’s an encouraging note: 
 
Good morning, First Pres Family,
 
I am writing to thank you for the lifeline that is our Sunday morning worship! 
 
Although the logistics can be challenging, you should know that what you are doing is making a difference. At prayers last night, more than 15 hours later, your efforts were lifted up by my children. Unprompted. Ellie mentioned Jip by name.
 
Thank you, dear friends, for all that you are doing to minister to your flock, so that we, in turn, are inspired to do the same.
 
Yours in Christ,
 
Sarah Laufenberg
 
 
News:
 
VOLUNTEERS for the phone tree are still need. We have 12. We need thirty. Come on, help out. Email me your willingness. Thanks.
 
PEONIES are rising in our garden. Rabbits are eating the tender leaves of sprouting hostas. Spring is springing. What’s growing in your world? How is your soul? What’s growing there?
 
 
The Good Word: 
 
Psalm 121             
(Assurance of God’s Protection)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.
 
 
Let Us Pray:
 
Our prayer today is the hymn “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”
 
Before our Father’s throne 
we pour our ardent prayers; 
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, 
our comforts and our cares. 
 
We share our mutual woes, 
our mutual burdens bear, 
and often for each other flows 
the sympathizing tear. 
 
From sorrow, toil, and pain, 
and sin, we shall be free; 
and perfect love and friendship reign 
through all eternity. 
 
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-03-25

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Wednesday 25 March 2020
A Weekday Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends, 
 
John Muirhead wrote me on last Friday night. I pass along his poignant email:
 
Tonight a family of 7 (mom, dad and 5 children) are arriving in Champaign after making the trip from Kabul, Afghanistan to Dubai to O’Hare airport and then being transported by car and vans to C-U.  We are certainly thankful for their safe travel and recognize they are arriving at a challenging time for all of us. They will be housed at a local hotel for a few days while they participate in the search for an apartment or house to rent.
 
Also, word from the refugee center is to be aware of the fact that many families served by the refugee center are or were employed in restaurants and service-related jobs. As most will likely qualify for some benefits there is definitely going to be a period of time where they are without the income needed to feed their families.  I am sure that there are many who are more aware of the hardships than I am but this is certainly an area for discussion as to how we might be of assistance.
 
In all situations prayers are greatly appreciated and needed.
 
Friends, how do we stand in the breach for this family? How are we to “be” the church of Jesus Christ? This period of “sheltering in place” and physical distancing is difficult for all of us, but more difficult for some of us. 
 
Your church will help this family from Kabul through the pastor’s discretionary fund. The Refugee Center is providing a great web of support for these newcomers. Our church is part of that support. 
 
Pray for this family, mightily.  
 
 
News:
 
PHONE TREE: Remember, the Nurture committee has been asked to organize a phone tree. Volunteers will call on members of the flock. Please volunteer. Contact Gary and Linda Peterson at 217-398-8504 or lindakpete@gmail.com
 
SHOES? This from Peter Yau: It is befitting to think about shoes in the COVID-19 pandemic.  As you know the novel coronavirus is a respiratory virus.  We have been told to wash our hands, not touching our face, social distancing, etc.  I am surprised there has been no mention of cleaning our shoes.  Imagine the coughs, spit, etc, that has landed on the ground; our shoes are most suspicious. Could they be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus? Taking off one’s shoes and spraying with disinfectant before entering one’s home is good practice. That is why Moses was told to take off his sandals (because they are filthy) before stepping on Holy ground.
 
SHOPPING. Nancy MacGregor reminded me that Walgreens, Schnucks, and some other stores offer shopping hours reserved for seniors. Call ahead. Also, some places around town deliver. 
 
 
The Good Word: 
Deuteronomy 10:18-20 Common English Bible (CEB)                 
18 [God] enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. 19 That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt. 20 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, cling to him, swear by his name alone!
  
 
Let Us Pray:
 
Grant unto us, O God, the fullness of your promises.
Where we have been weak, grant us your strength;
where we have been confused, grant us your guidance;
where we have been distraught, grant us your comfort;
where we have been dead, grant us your life.
Apart from you, O Lord, we are nothing,
in and with you we can do all things. AMEN.
 
(United Church of Canada, Service Book, 1969)
 
 
PEACE, 
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church