October 2, 2020

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

We have entered the final quarter of 2020, with its usual pace of shorter days, longer nights, colder temperatures, and holiday observances. Less than a month is a national election, on Tuesday, November 3. I encourage you to vote in whatever manner you are comfortable and keeps you safe. I also urge you to register to vote, or the check your voter registration to confirm or to correct your status. Voting is the minimum duty of a citizen within a democratic republic. Silence in the ballot box will only bring about silence in the halls of local, state, and federal government. It is an opportunity to express praise or criticism directly. Do not let your ballot go blank or untallied.

Work on our solar installation is drawing to a close, as the sanctuary panels are mounted today. Final wiring tasks will likely be completed next week, with full interconnection to be completed hopefully next Friday. Working with Hawk-Attollo & Roy Keith Electric, we are planning to host a COVID-19 safe dedication service in the weeks ahead.

Our 2nd annual pumpkin patch fundraiser will begin on Monday October 19, 10 am to 7 pm. The shorter schedule is due to COVID-19 disruptions with transportation as well as tardiness in confirming our interest as host. We will only be receiving half of what we had last year. We will need a crew to unload our inventory from the truck on Saturday, October 17 at 4 pm. The patch will run Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm, October 19 - 31.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is discouraging traditional Trunk and Treat activities in its Halloween guidelines. The City Council will consider modified Trick and Treat guidelines with COVID-19 amendments on Monday evening. A modified Trunk and Treat could be held out on the parking lot, with spacing and tables, with candy distributed like a grab and go, rather than personal. Spacing between cars would have to be increased, and guest parking would then be reduced. Many of our candy participants are also in COVID-19 risk groups. Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions about this popular event.

Worship This Weekend - Thriving: Living in the Generous Life
We begin a four-week stewardship focus this weekend. Many times the stewardship season is marked by the annual "Sermon on the Amount." It is a common trope that the church "is only interested in my money." The truth is much closer to home: nearly everything and everyone is interested in opening and receiving from your treasury. How you feel about the exchange makes a difference in your perspective. You expect to pay for the groceries you choose at the grocery store. But the intangibles like a life a deeper spiritual meaning and purpose also comes with costs. As COVID-19 is aggravating already taunt lines of income and expenses, how should one be generous in the midst of balancing burdensome debt, lifestyle maintenance, and limited savings?

Rather than an appeal to "guilt until you give," a generous life offers personal benefits when we commit to faithful stewardship. If your life is not balanced, then it is likely your generosity is also not balanced. The more we have grace, lead by example, and speak to the joy of giving, the more lives can thrive!

Our scripture reading this weekend gives us an illustration of trust. It is rare that a parable of Jesus appears in all three of the synoptic (meaning "seen together") gospels (Mark, Luke, and Matthew). Only the parables of The Sower, The Mustard Seed, and The Tenants. Each of the writers felt the story of Jesus' life and ministry would be incomplete without these three parables.

But the Parable of the Tenants probably is not as familiar or as beloved. This is one of several "parabolic traps" that Matthew records as Jesus countering the Temple officials and religious authorities during his last week in Jerusalem. The trap lures us into judging someone else, only to discover that we ourselves are the ones we have judged. An owner provides all of the equipment necessary for workers to complete their tasks of gathering the vineyard's harvest. The workers (tenants) do not have property rights, yet, when the owner sends slaves to collect the owner's share, the slaves are beaten, killed, or stoned by the workers (tenants). There is disrespect and irresponsibility present throughout the story. We forget that we are tenants, not owners, those invited to work in brining in a life-giving harvest.

The good news is that Jesus is the vine and we are all the branches, and it is by his love that we can be fruitful and work together so that our fruitfulness and gifts remain dedicated to the household of God. Christ invites us to work together. What a joyful and sweet opportunity it is!

Join me this Saturday at 5 pm worship-online, or Sunday at 9 am.

RECONCILIATION OFFERING - September 27 & October 4
The Reconciliation Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) began out of the civil unrest that ensued following the martyrdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Beginning with Resolution 29 of the International Convention of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) in 1968, our Church has persistently pursued ways to address the sin of racism through resolutions and direct action in our congregations, Regions, General Ministries and Recognized Ministry partnerships.

In 2001 the General Assembly adopted the 2020 Vision which named four inter-connected mission priorities. Becoming a Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racist Church alongside developing new leadership, establishing 1000 new churches and transforming 1000 churches were identified as critical initiatives for our 21st Century church. Reconciliation Ministry was restructured in 2002 in accordance with the mission priority to strengthen the Church’s effort to achieve this mission priority.

The Pro-reconciliation/Anti-Racism Initiative was founded upon the need to make visible God’s beloved community. It invites the church to listen to the once silenced voices of its racial/ethnic communities, learn from their wisdom and gain insight from their leadership. It calls the church to discernment and prayer, study of the scriptures and reflection, dialogue and table fellowship. The true goal is to transform, strengthen and deepen the church’s spirituality, resulting in a community that understands its mission to be about bringing justice and salvation to the world.

As we have seen another season of civil unrest associated with racism, I invite you to join me in responding to support financially the Pro-reconciliation/Anti-Racism Initiative of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Our goal is $200. We have raised $70 so far.

Other News This Week
Regional Church Assembly The FREE online only assembly for the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin will be held on Saturday, October 17, 10 am to Noon. You can register to participate in the public activities and worship. I was nominated and consented to serve as secretary of the Regional Church Council, the administrative board of the regional church that I have served on for the past year as an at-large delegate. I will be formally elected to this position during the business meeting.

See you in worship in the sanctuary on Sunday morning at 9 am or Saturday online at 5 pm this weekend!
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