February 26, 2021

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

My birthday this past Tuesday was typical: a hint of spring with snow drifts. We continue to see good news in COVID infection rates, and even with a few disruptions with vaccine deliveries, it is looking like our resumption of the usual worship activities will occur before the end of the year! Our new worship service schedule begins this weekend with in-person worship on Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday mornings with 8 am and 9:30 am services. I fully expect the high attendance service will be the Sunday at 9:30 am, with rather even attendance for Saturday and early Sunday services.

If you want to worship now, you may do so on our online worship page. Just a note to our Facebook friends: the service will premiere at 9:30 am. About this weekend's in-person & online worship...

Worship This Week: What's Wrong with Religion? The Answer for Judgment is Love
I continue to explore answers to the question of What's Wrong with Religion? Have you encountered a judgmental Christian? Unfortunately, in many polls and surveys of non-Christians and non-religious people, this word is strongly associated with Christianity. The other words mostly associated with Christians is hypocrisy.

Jesus confronted judgmental religion, too. As described in the gospel of John (although it is repeatedly marked "to be removed" by the copyists), a woman caught in the very act of adultery is brought to Jesus while he is teaching in the temple. In what has become a proverb in common life, "Let the one without sin cast the first stone," is Jesus' response to this judgmental mob. One by one, each accuser leaves until only Jesus and the woman are left.

Judging is selective, destructive, hypocritical, and contrary to the teaching and example of Jesus. We are called to love God and love neighbor as ourselves. If we are genuinely loving others, we will not find it easy to serve as judges or God's police. We are judged by acts of service to those in need, not our faith or our theology. God waits to judge until the last day. We should follow the example. Judging only reveals one thing for certain: our failures, too.

Join me in worship on our website, Facebook at 9:30 am, or in-person at our new times: 5 pm Saturday, 8 am Sunday, or 9:30 am Sunday.

Stewardship Update
Thank you for your pledge commitments for 2021! If you have not sent yours in, please do so by mail, by e-mail, and in-person during the week. Your generous support is greatly appreciated always. We will be dedicating this pledges during worship this weekend! If you have not submitted your 2021 pledge, or have lost your pledge card, please contact the church office at 428-3327.

Several weeks ago, on the morning of February 7, a glacier burst in the Raini village of the Himalayas, causing a flash flood in Rishiganga River. The resulting landslide killed at least 36 people, and nearly 200 more remain missing. Most of those killed or missing are believed to be workers at the hydropower projects, where the landslide originated. Villagers that were close to the river when the disaster occurred were also swept away.

​Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our partners on the ground who are working tirelessly to get critical supplies to those in need, despite many significant challenges. 

In addition to the tragic loss of life, this disaster has impacted the livelihood and living conditions of people in the affected villages. Farm land and crops have been lost; the hydro projects that employed many have ceased operations; and in many cases, those who have employment elsewhere can’t get to work. The event damaged two hydropower plants and five bridges, and much of the supply to the national power grid has been cut off. 

This damage to infrastructure also makes it difficult to get aid and critical supplies to many of those in need; while also making it hard for people to generate income in the meantime. 

In this crisis period, CASA--long time partners of Week of Compassion--is gathering information of the affected families and missing people. Much of their focus is on getting relief to the most vulnerable, including migrants, Dalits, widows, women heads of families and the disabled.  ​

Because of their longstanding relationships in the area, CASA has established means of identifying need in hard to reach areas. Their goal is to reach 500 families in 10 villages with critical supplies including dry ration kits for food security; WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) kits for health and hygiene; and materials to provide temporary shelters until more permanent solutions can be established.
Suresh Satapathy, Program Manager for CASA, says “Some villages are still completely cut off, so this is quite a task. About 2500 cannot cross this part of the river. There is no electricity restored. We are concerned.” So far, food has been distributed to about 200 people, with help of neighbors. Other community members are prepared to assist with distribution, once supplies can reach the impacted area. 

“They need supplies-- and light,” says Suresh. “This reconstruction could take 10 to 20 years. In the meantime, we have to support them, or it will be very difficult to survive…I hope we can move forward with the implementation of the emergency program. It has been 15 days. People are expecting something from us.  

Week of Compassion continues to work with partners, including CASA, to help provide immediate relief in the coming weeks and will accompany the local community in the years to come as they rebuild.

When you give to Week of Compassion, you Let Love Flow in tangible ways. Your gifts help deliver aid to those in urgent need, and keep the flow of supplies moving even to places where damaged infrastructure creates significant barriers. We are grateful for our partners who are working around the clock to overcome unthinkable challenges; and we are grateful for the generosity that allows us to support this life-saving work and share hope in the midst of heartbreak.


DISCIPLES BAPTISM STUDY GROUP A study group for baptism candidates to explore the teachings and identity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will begin this Sunday February 21 at 7 pm. All those interested in joining Prairie Avenue Christian Church by transfer or baptism are encouraged to attend, with six weeks of planned lessons.

STEPHEN MINISTRY A training class to develop Stephen Ministry candidates will begin Sunday, February 28, 10:30 am in the Sunshine Classroom.

I look forward to seeing you all very soon,

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.

Ina Woodworth, who passed on Saturday, February 20 in Springfield. Her visitation and service is Saturday, February 27, 10 am, with funeral 11 am and graveside following at the Christian Church of Mackinaw, IL.

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