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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

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



Weekday Emailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-24

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Tuesday 24 March 2020
A Weekday Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
Rachel Matthews, our mission coordinator, wants us to keep our Mission Partners in prayerful mind. “People need to have information about what is happening with our mission coworkers and mission partners, which is rapidly changing,” she writes. See the attached newsletter for details.
 
Also, the Session has instructed the Nurture Committee to organize a “Phone Tree.” In Sabrina Hwu’s absence (she’s tending a sick aunt in California), Gary & Linda Peterson have stepped up. Volunteer, please. See below.
 
News:
 
MISSION NEWSLETTER. Click this link .https://www.firstpres.church/HoM20200323
 
PHONE TREE: The Nurture committee has been asked to organize a phone tree. Volunteers will call on members of the flock. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Gary and Linda Peterson at 217-398-8504 or lindakpete@gmail.com
 
 
The Good Word: 
 
Matthew 28:16-20                              
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
 
 
Let Us Pray:
 
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Walter Rauschenbusch, 1861-1918)
 
 
PEACE, 
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Weekday Emailer to Members and Friends – 2020-03-23

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Monday 23 March 2020
A Weekday Emailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois

Dear Friends, 
 
Diane Mortensen reached out to me with the story about how she got her cat—or, how her cat got her. In Diane’s words:
 
“Some of you may remember the devotion in These Days about a widow whose daughter told her she should get a cat to keep her company.  The woman replied, “If the Lord wanted me to have a cat, He would have provided one.” 
 
 At their next outdoor worship service along came a stray cat who jumped up on the woman’s lap.  She took it home and named it Lucky. 
 
I read that devotion in the autumn of 2018 when I was adjusting to living alone.  One day, my granddaughter called me nearly in tears because her friend who had recently adopted a cat, found he was allergic to it and planned to return it to the humane society.  She told him, “Wait, I’ll call my Grandma.”  
 
You can guess the rest of the story. 
 
I named him Mitty Kitty.  He is part Maine Coon, has four white feet, and is playful and friendly.  When you come to see him, he will greet you at my door.”
 
Share your pet stories with us!
 
News:
 
SUNDAY WORSHIP. I’m very sorry our live-streaming was a bust yesterday for our 9:00 a.m. service of worship. Some families were able to gather; thank you for showing up. But systems were overwhelmed, and many of you who tried could not connect. We are working on other methods to get worship to you on Sunday. Thanks to all of you who tried tuning in. 
 
Remember, you can go to our church webpage where you can find archived services
 
 
The Good Word: 
 
John 4:7-15                         
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[a] 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 
 
Let Us Pray:
 
Come to me,
O servant LORD,
pour water in your bowl,
and wash me feet.
I am bold to ask this
because of my longing
for fellowship with you.
Wash my feet, then,
and be my companion. Amen.
(based on a prayer of Origin, 185-254)
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church