April 23, 2021

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

After a brief brush with a late winter storm and likely our last hard freeze of this winter season, spring is making a comeback! I am also excited to see more in-person attendance as well as the steady audience of our still improving live broadcasts online. Thanks to the generosity of our memorial fund donors, we were able to install a substantial and permanent broadcast production studio in our sanctuary balcony. Our online church broadcast is just as much our faith community as our in-person activities. Our leadership team recognized this venture as a necessity both during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Our online production and broadcast ministries will not go black or offline, nor be treated as secondary.

As we close out the month of April, more activities and opportunities to participate, collaborate and reach our community will be announced. I am looking forward to surrendering my one-man-worship-song-and-production hat to a group of singers once again sharing their talents in hymn and chorus singing in worship. Last Saturday, a few Clokey Park volunteers (and a chancy weather forecast) gathered over 300 gallons of litter from East Prairie and East Main street. Nolan Evans, a 12-year-old boy who received a Macon County Legacy Outstanding Young Philanthropist Award for his neighborhood clean-up efforts last year, has reached out to host another area clean-up on Saturday, May 8 at 10 am at Prairie Avenue. I would like to have a good turn-out of our group to support this inspiring young man and his philanthropic efforts.

Our worship this weekend (no worship on Saturday due to an afternoon out-of-town wedding) focuses on love demonstrated as a witness of the resurrection. Over the next four weeks, we turn from the disciples' testimony of encountering Jesus following his death to how we can bring Jesus into our lives and have him visible to others in our actions.

How is Jesus made visible today? By love demonstrated.

Worship This Weekend:
Witness: Living in a Postresurrection World
Truth and Action
Every sermon is about love. But "love" is a word that everyone knows and everyone understands. Or so we think. We say we love tacos. I say I love Nash Metropolitans. I love my son. But our experience with love demonstrated is very different depending on the context in which love is declared. I certainly do not love my Metropolitan in the same manner or way as I love Patrick!

Love is an experience. As the writer of 1 John (there are many "Johns" in the New Testament) declares, it is able to be known, and it must show up in times of need. Withholding from another reveals the truth: our lack of empathy and compassion.

Many talk about their faith because there is no other evidence of it in their lives. How can people encounter the risen Christ without his followers, in sacrificial acts of love, offering their time, talent, and treasure to the vulnerable and suffering? When we refuse, we are also refusing Christ in us.

Too often, faith is sketched as a matter of statements of belief, not actions. Beliefs are important, but the New Testament seems to always be talking about doing rather than believing. Believing is demonstrated by doing.

The Christian mystic Teresa of Avila stated the call to embody compassion as follows, “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world."

Christ now lives in you and truth is revealed by what you do with it. Will you let Christ be seen in your witness?

Worship Leaders Needed
Our in-person services need worship leaders to assist in speaking the call to worship, invocation prayer, and the call to worship for each of our services: Saturday at 5 pm or Sundays at 8 am or 9:30 am. These materials are prepared each week by Tuesday afternoon, so you do not have to create your own! You can sign up a particular Sunday of the month, a particular time, or which service you already (or will eventually) attend in person. Contact Barb Hodges at 217-620-3268 if you would like to sign up or have questions.

Parking Lot Attendants / Greeters Needed
We need smiling faces and joyful hearts in greeting and security. I need two parking lot attendants to greet our guests and assist them with their entrance. Once service begins, these parking lot attendants will secure all entrances to the building, locking the doors, closing the garage about 15 minutes into the worship services. I would like to have attendants for each service -Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 8 am & 9:30 am. Contact the church office (217-428-3327) if you are interested in helping assist in guest/welcome services.

Music Ensembles To Resume Wednesday, May 5, 7 pm
As we look towards in-person hospitality and activity, we need additional assistants at each of our worship services. I would like to have a music ensemble for each worship service: Saturdays at 5 pm and Sunday mornings at 8 am and 9:30 am. These groups are tentatively called Meadowlands 1, 2, & 3. You will lead the congregation in singing the hymns and leading our expanding list of familiar praise songs and choruses. While the ability to read music is helpful, and holding a musical pitch (no matter what size bucket) is expected, all those willing and able are welcome to join these small ensembles.

Building Fund Needs
This past week, after six seasons of continuous recirculating service, one of our recirculating pumps in the education wing had a seal leak and needed to be replaced. The cost of this repair was nearly $2,000. Our building fund is not as robust as it should be to handle this expenditure in addition to anticipated capital needs associated with the elevator modernization project later this year. I am asking you to consider a one-time special offering or a recurring gift to increase our building fund balance by $5,000. Each donor with offering envelopes has building fund envelopes included to solicit support for costly maintenance and anticipated replacement, remodel, and repair costs outside of the operating budget. Please mark your donations "building fund" if not using a building fund envelope.

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.

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