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.  
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)
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138