December 17, 2021

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

This weekend is the last weekend of Advent and next week we’ll be celebrating at Candlelight Christmas Eve! Today, I’ll share with you what’s up this weekend, the details for Candlelight Christmas Eve and year-end. I’m so excited about the next ten days!

Worship This Sunday:
The Heart That Grew Three Sizes: When You're Sure You're Right
The Christmas story is a three-scene play that leads us from the palace to the manger, bringing us closer to God's own incarnate heart. We find in the Grinch's story a three-part transformation of his own heart, which started out two sizes too small and grew to the point of overflowing. His heart had been transformed, and it was transformed yet again when he rushed to share the fruits of that change with everyone else.

And the Whos? How will they react? At the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! we see that the Grinch, the outsider, the other, the one who should be feared and excluded, was the one who is now at the head of the table, carving the roast beast, as they all sit together in table fellowship. Will we receive the Grinch's of our lives? Who is missing from our table fellowship? Have you reached out to them? Can you? Will you?

Join us in-person at 8 am or 9:30 am, or online at Facebook or our website:

Christmas Eve Is Coming!
Friday, December 24
7 pm & 9 pm In-person
& Online
This year marks the return of our two in-person worship services. We only had one in-person service last year. We’ll still be online and on TV as well. Each service will have beautiful Christmas music and I’ll be sharing a message that I believe will inspire you and your family and friends, and we’ll close by singing Silent Night as we pass the candlelight! Masks are recommended if you plan to mingle with others outside of your family group!

For many of our congregation, their first connection with Prairie Avenue Christian Church, and often the moment they came to faith or returned to faith, was a Candlelight Christmas Eve service. Imagine if someone came to faith in Christ or returned to church because you invited them. Who might you invite or, better yet, bring with you, to Candlelight Christmas Eve?

We will have Facebook Live premiere at 7 pm and it will be posted on our website online worship channel at 9 pm.

Candlelight Christmas Eve Offering Serves Dove, Inc.
As is our practice, unless designated, all contributions collected on Christmas Eve will be presented to Dove, Inc. for Dove Financial Services, providing emergency financial assistance for medical, utility, and other financial needs. Payments are applied directly to unpaid bills, not clients.

Longest Night Service
Sunday, December 19
7 pm Facebook LIVE
People have experienced losses this past year. Family and friends have succumbed to death in this ongoing pandemic, economic uncertainties, or loss of employment, and businesses they built over a lifetime. We grieve at the continued disruptions of our beloved rhythms of life that felt familiar and gave our lives the richness of gatherings and adventure. And we can name so many losses related to hatred and violence. Each of the candles will represent some aspect of loss, while the white candle represents Christ in the midst of our losses. During this meaningful service, we will recognize the loss of life, livelihood, love, and liveliness. We hope this worship service will provide presence and purpose to those who may find it difficult to join in the joy of the festivities of this season.

Christmas Special Offering
Sundays December 12 & 19
The Disciples Special Christmas Offering supports our regional church staff and programming. It provides support for the School of Ministry, an alternative to traditional seminary coursework to provide a certificate of pastoral ministry to serve as Commissioned Ministers. It helps maintain our regional campground at Camp Walter Scott in Effingham. 100% of offering receipts remain in the region. Please consider your generosity for these important ministries.

At Prairie Avenue, your generosity makes everything possible. I’m proud of the process by which our budget is set, the integrity with which your money is handled and the way it is used to make ministry happen and to transform the world.

I know many of you will be completing your pledges for 2021 between now and the end of the year and some may be making special year-end gifts. If you are doing so, I have a couple of reminders.

  • You can easily make a year-end gift by using our online platform at our website ( using a debit card, credit card or your bank account.
  • If you would like to pay by check, your regular year-end tithes and gifts to the General Fund (including Capital Campaign offerings) must be marked as such in the memo line. You can place your gift in an offering envelope during the worship service or mail it to the church, postmarked no later than December 31, 2021. On Christmas Eve, all gifts marked for the Christmas Eve Offering, as well as any unmarked donations, will automatically be designated to the Christmas Eve Offering.
  • Your year-end gifts can also be brought directly to the church offices during open office hours. Call 217-428-3327 to confirm someone is there between Christmas & New Years!

Traveling Mercies
Our family will be traveling over to Indianapolis next week on Tuesday, December 21, returning Thursday afternoon to attend services for Ruth Mathus, Amanda's aunt who passed on December 8. I am the funeral officiant, as she requested.
Invite someone to join you for worship this weekend, in person, online
In-person on Sunday mornings at 8 am or 9:30 am. Masks are encouraged regardless of vaccination status if social distancing cannot be kept.

Online at, and Facebook Sunday at 8 am or 9:30 am.

See you this weekend online or in person,

Blessings to you all,

As a church family, we care for and pray for one another.

As a matter of online privacy, we will only disclose public sympathy to a church friend or family member whose passing has also been publicly disclosed.

The Family of Maxine Van der Voort, who passed December 14, 2021.

If you would like prayer, please submit your prayer request online, and Pastor Jason and prayer team members will pray for you.
Prairie Avenue Christian Church | Website