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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

Daily Mailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-19

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Thursday 19 March 2020
A Daily Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois

Dear Friends, 
 
At 3:09 a.m. CST Rachel and I arrived home from O’Hare with our son John Mark safely in tow. Like study abroad students everywhere, his program at Universidad ORT in Montevideo, Uruguay, closed for a week, then another, and now promises on-line classes. We’ll see. He and his cohort from the University of South Carolina have all safely returned to their homes. 
 
In the meantime, he’s self-quarantined upstairs with an electric piano, acoustic guitar, banjo, and wifi connection. Rachel and I are not quarantined, per Peter Yau’s instructions, unless John Mark shows symptoms or we do. We all feel fine, so far.
 
Is everyone in your family settled? Traveling mercies if they are not.
 
My CPA’s sister-in-law said, “We’re about three weeks away from knowing everybody’s natural hair color.” 
 
News:
 
PHONE CALL. If possible, you’ll get a prerecorded call from me today. We’re still working out the bugs, and are doing our best to be in touch by phone with folk to whom we are not yet connected via email. Ask your church friends if they are getting these emails from their church; if they are not, consider adding them to this list.  Send their name(s) and email address to info@firstpres.church and we will get them added.
 
YOUR SESSION meets tonight via Zoom with our Corona advisor Peter Yau. Pray for them. They are:
Ken Chapman – Spiritual Formation
Ron Deering – Spiritual Formation
Judi Geistlinger – Worship
Sabrina Hwu – Nurture
Celeste Kim – Clerk
Debra Miller – Missions
Mark Schoeffmann – Finance
Eric Stickels – Outreach, Nominating Committee
Ann Stout – HR
Steve Tock – Finance
Karin Vermillion – Children, Youth, and Families
Tim Young – Building and Grounds
 
SUNDAY WORSHIP. We will be worshiping this Sunday remotely on-line. Tune in on Facebook or firstpres.live
 
The Good Word: Psalm 23 (King James Version)
 
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
 
Let Us Pray:
 
Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves 
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, 
because we sailed too close to the shore.
 
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess, 
we have lost our thirst for the water of life 
when, having fallen in love with time, 
we have ceased to dream of eternity 
and in our efforts to build a new earth, 
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
 
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas 
where storms show Thy mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes 
and invited the brave to follow.
 
Amen
 
(Attrib. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu adapted from a prayer by Sir Francis Drake.)
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Daily Mailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-18

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Wednesday 18 March 2020
A Daily Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 

Dear Friends, 
 
Thanks for staying in touch with one another via emails, calls, and notes. Here’s an email I got yesterday from Beth Hutchens: 
 
“Today I am grateful . . . 

  •        that our heating system works on a chilly morning (am reminded of a Valentine’s Day ice storm years ago when Church St. was without power for 6 days)
  •        that phones and internet are working and tv too
  •        that we may be socially distant but we are not emotionally distant
  •        that God is near”

 
Thank you, Beth. 
 
Respond to this email and tell me what YOU are grateful for these day? Marcia will compile our responses and I’ll share them soon. 
 
If you’ve looked out your window lately, or gone for a stroll, you’ll notice that spring is springing! God is good!
 
News:
 
YOUR STAFF. Your staff has met and is working hard to stay in touch with you. They are praying for you. Consider praying for them and their families.
 
YOUR SESSION meets tomorrow (Thursday at 7:00) via Zoom.
 
SUNDAY WORSHIP. We will be worshipping next Sunday remotely on-line. Tune in on Facebook or firstpres.live
 
REACH OUT. Set a goal of reaching out to a few “new” people each day. I am particularly concerned about our flock who do not connected electronically. Lots of us don’t use Facebook or, even, email. That’s where YOU come in. There is healing in your “touch.” Please, reach out.
 
 
The Good Word:
Matthew 6:25-34                                            
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 
 
26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 
 
27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 
 
28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 
 
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
 
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
 
 
Let Us Pray:
 
Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christ beside me, Christ to win me
Christ to comfort me and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend or stranger.
 
(attrib. St. Patrick of Ireland, 390-461 A.D.)
 
 
PEACE, 
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Daily Mailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-17

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Tuesday 17 March 2020
A Daily Emailer from
Dr. Peter Yau
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois

Dear Friends, 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic requires that we take action to avoid catching and prevent spreading of the virus.  FPCC has cancelled our regular worship services and will use live streaming instead.  We suggest that you follow the standard guidelines.

  •       If you feel sick, having a fever (above 100.4F), with respiratory infection symptoms, do not go to work, call your medical providers for consultation, self-quarantine.
  •       Avoid gathering with more than 10 people
  •       You are more vulnerable to the virus if you are older than 60 years old or anyone with underlying health conditions (cardiovascular diseases, immune compromised, diabetes, asthma etc.)
  •       Practice good personal hygiene; do not touch your face (including nose and mouth).
  •       Wash your hands with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands.
  •       Avoid touching suspicious surface in public places, if possible sanitize first.
  •       Cover your cough, wear a face mask if you are sick.
  •       Keep a distance of 3 ft. between people.
  •       No handshake, hugs etc.
  •       Practice Social Distancing.

As a body of Christ, let’s practice our love for each by checking on the elderly, the frail and those who otherwise might be left behind. Yesterday, 5 people approached me saying they were out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I told them we will share what we have with them. In Acts 2:44-45.  “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
 
If you have any needs or wish to talk to someone, please call the church office, our ministers, elders and deacons.
 
News:
 
SONG FROM JEAN RENE. Our friend Jean Rene Balekita wrote a song in response to the COVID-19 pandemic fear. Find it on our church Facebook page. 
 
SUNDAY WORSHIP. We will be worshipping next Sunday remotely on-line. Tune in on Facebook or firstpres.live
 
The Good Word:
Psalm 91:1-2      
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
 I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
 my God, in whom I trust.”
 
Let Us Pray:
Be good to me, dear Lord, for the sea is so wide and my boat is so small. 
(Breton Fisherman’s Prayer)
 
PEACE,
 
Peter Yau
(217) 621-0448



Daily Mailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-16

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Monday 16 March 2020
A Daily Emailer from
Pastor Matt
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois

Dear Friends, 
 
Since our world is working so hard to practice “social distancing,” I’ve decided to reach out for an electronic “touch” every day. If all goes well, expect an email from the church every morning with a hello, a tidbit of news & congregational prayer concerns, a scripture, and a prayer. I hope you won’t mind my filling your in-box with seven mails per week. I think you understand why I think it prudent.
 
News:
 

  1.   BAD MAIL. Fraudulent emails are going out from a scammer claiming to be “Pastor Matt.” Please note these emails are coming from pastormattmatthews@gmail.com, which is NOT my correct address. Please do not respond to these messages. My correct address is matt@firstpres.church. If you are unsure, contact the church office.
  2.   PHONE CALLS. Your church will send occasional pre-recorded phone messages to you. We believe “human touch” is important, and if we can’t touch, we can (and should) be reaching out with our voice.
  3.   SUNDAY WORSHIP. We will be worshipping next Sunday remotely on-line. Tune in on Facebook or firstpres.live
  4.   REACH OUT. Telephone a church member or a friend to say “hello.” Social distancing may be wise to slow the spread of Coronavirus, but isolation is not good for our spiritual and mental health. So, “get out there” not physically but with a phone call, note, email, Facebook post, ZOOM call to family, et cetera. Forward parts of this email to somebody you love.
  5.   EXPERTISE. Dr. Peter Yau is coordinating First Presbyterian Church’s response to Coronavirus. He’s monitoring the CDC and local Health Department and guiding us in terms of keeping our flock and community safe.

The Good Word:
Philippians 4:4-7                          
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
Let Us Pray:
O loving God,
to turn away from you is to fall,
to turn toward you is to rise,
and to stand before you is to abide forever.
Grant us, dear God,
in all our duties your help;
in all our uncertainties your guidance;
in all our dangers your protection;
and in all our sorrows your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN. 
                                                  (attrib. to Augustine of Hippo, 354-430)
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



First Pres Worship – 2020-03-15

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Please be in touch, by Facebook messenger or comment, or email live@firstpres.church, or text 708-762-FPCC (3722)