November 13, 2020

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

It is another Friday the 13th. The last one we had occurred in March, when Amanda and I scrambled to share an online worship service with you all after cancelling worship with a pending stay at home order to go into effect on March 21. The toll and unmitigated consequences of a public health disaster continues. Number of positive cases skyrocketed, with a similar increase in deaths. Many of us have had brushes with COVID-19, but fortunately have avoided a positive test result. The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging everyone to reduce one's travel and trips over the next three weeks to only essential errands and with one person involved. It is also strongly recommended to limit the size of gatherings for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

While it seems only a matter of time before stricter mitigation measures are imposed upon our region, I want to assure you that April is continuing to do deep cleaning of our sanctuary and common-shared surfaces and rooms. Masks are required in the building, including clothing room customers and staff. The health and welfare of our community is our priority in these unprecedented times. We will return to facility closure if local public health officials request it, or our gathering capacity returns to 10 or less.

I know it is strongly desired to "return to normal." I know we hunger for the gathering of family and friends during a holiday. For the first time in 21 years, our family is not going over to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving. We will gather as a family of three in our dining room this year. With my heart condition, and Patrick's lupus, this is the only way to stay safely away from COVID-19. I hope you will take due consideration of risk, too.

WORSHIP THIS WEEKEND - Entrusted: Called To Service
This weekend we move from preparation to motivation. What motivates you? Faithfulness or fear? In the parable of the talents, three slaves/servants were handed incredible sums of wealth to use while their master was away. Each according to their recognized abilities: 5 for one, 2 for another, and 1 for the other. Both the 5 Talents and the 2 Talent servants put these extraordinary gifts into work, doubling the outcome. But the third, out of fear, buried his incredible sum for safe-keeping. When confronted, the third slave/servant made excuses and unsubstantiated criticism. A hard and mean master would have kept all of these gains for himself, but instead distributed these freely with his slaves/servants.

Each of us have gifts that should be used, not buried. We have been prepared, and now we are given what is needed to be daring, bold, and to act well during the Master's absence. Will we double our gain, or bury ourselves in excuses?

Invite a friend to join us online this Saturday at 5 pm worship-online, or In-person on Sunday at 9 am. For In-Person worship, we have a no mask, no entrance policy.

CCIW Coaches Training On Election night 2020, I formally completed my first 16 hours of Christian Coaching training provided by Coach Approach Ministries through the generosity of our regional church. Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce results in their lives. It is a relationship for people who are ready to take action and move forward to meet their goals and build upon their hopes for a better life. Coaching is not counseling. Counseling usually involves examining the past to gain understanding. Coaching focuses on the future, building awareness, self-discovery, and concrete steps forward. It may involve some brainstorming, values clarification, completing written assignments, etc. I will offer two sessions to any interested individual at no cost. Sessions will run about 45 minutes. As part of my arrangements through our regional office, I will be available for ministers and lay people of other congregations, too.

Thanksgiving Special Offering Each year the Thanksgiving special day offering is collected to assist students in Disciples-related colleges and universities as well as seminaries to provide what is necessary to live and work in the world and in our congregations. Your generous support of this special offering will help the future leaders (and even ministers) of our congregation obtain the necessary experience and skills for effective ministry, leadership, and career path.

City Shapers Cohort At the end of October, the Lupton Center of Atlanta announced they had received a $1 million grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation of Indianapolis to establish 12 City Shaper programs across the country over the next five years. City Shapers is a place-based, cohort program that invites churches and organizations into a two-year process of discovery, collaboration, and innovation. Together, they receive in-depth leadership development, lasting change roadmaps, and tools to build mutually dignifying partnerships. As a participant, City Shapers will equip you to understand your community in ways that will lead to holistic and effective engagement. I have reached out to several of our community, religious, and government contacts and agents for interest in bringing this program to our city as one of the twelve. Our informational meeting will be held on Thursday, December 3 at 12 pm via Zoom with Shawn Duncan, director of the Lupton Center. For those of you who are wondering why Lupton sounds familiar, this is the organization established by Bob Lupton, author of Toxic Charity.

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