Contents in this Issue:
News: Ash Wednesday
News: Contemporary Service
News: Spring Pilgrimage
News: Israel Trip
News: Bishop Beard
Contact Jordan and Mike
Volunteer & Community Opportunities
Joys and Concerns
Praying Together This Week
Our annual Ash Wednesday worship service (one of the most beautiful worship experiences our church offers) will be February 14 at 7 p.m.
More on this service in next week's newsletter.
Plan now to observe Lent in 2018 and let it be a time of personal and spiritual revival for you.
Contemporary Service in January
(Initial evaluation by Jordan Thomas, director of contemporary worship)
In the month of January the contemporary service met downstairs in the youth room (aka: old fellowship hall) for an experimental service. Attendance for our contemporary service ranged from 53 the first week, 60 the second, 77 the third, and 88 the last week. The service was geared to be more interactive and included people sitting at tables with each other and a coffee bar. It was a very different atmosphere than when we worship in the sanctuary.
Morgan Hampton and Sophie Collings worked with me during the month of December to prepare the worship/fellowship space. We aimed to make it homey and comfortable. Physical changes included: a newly build stage, a backdrop for the stage area, new lighting, a table for healthy snacks, and use of couches along the edge of the room.
Through this experience we encountered a more participatory congregation. People were highly engaged with each other, as well as with Mike and myself. There are many factors that, we believe, played into this spirited experience: space, closeness to one another, conversation built into service, atmosphere, etc. We were overjoyed to witness a congregation worship God more fully than we have seen in a long time.
The point of the experimental service was to learn. The staff has done exactly that in the last month. We have learned how to better serve First Church members and guests, and we have learned how to encounter God in more humble and intentional ways.
I would personally like to thank the congregation for participating in this service. The outpouring of encouragement and support this month has been incredible. It has truly been on of my favorite things that I have done in the last 7 years of ministry. From running a coffee counter to worshiping in such a cozy and homey atmosphere, I thoroughly enjoyed planning and executing the services in January. I also thank everyone for their increased participation in the services. I have felt completely and totally blessed this month through this service. Thank you for having the grace and patience to allow your two pastors to radically shake things up for a month! -Jordan
Sign-ups are now open for our spring Civil Rights pilgrimage, a trip led by Jordan and Mike. This year' trip will be to Alabama, leaving at 9 a.m. (Tuesday) March 20 and returning March 24 (Saturday) at 2 p.m.
The cost of the trip ($240) will include all transportation, motels, and admission fees. Each person will pay for his or her own meals. We can take up to 30 people. One bonus of the trip is that some of the participants will be Chinese scholars from the U of I, a chance for us to share both our culture and our faith with people from around the world.
Places to visit include: Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, Birmingham Botanical Garden (tulips should be in bloom), 16th Street Baptist Church, Rosa Parks Museum, a couple evenings of live country/jazz/blues music, a walk across the bridge in Selma, a couple hours in Oxford, Mississippi, and stay-overs in both Nashville and Memphis.
Contact the office and let them know you are interested. You can reserve a spot by letting Dora know and making a $100 deposit. If anyone would like to go but has financial difficulties, see Pastor Mike (discreetly) for some scholarship assistance.
Jordan Thomas and Mike Smith will be in Israel from February 19-27. The trip is a program of the Society of Biblical Studies. Anyone who wishes to help Jordan defray the cost of his trip is encouraged to make contributions to the church and mark them for the Israel trip.
The trip will include visits to the traditional sites of Old and New Testament stories. It will also include extensive conversations with people involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In addition to Jordan and Mike, Jie and Mindy (Mike's daughter) will also be on the trip.
Ron Dickinson will preach the two Sundays Mike is gone.
Mattoon is Site for Bishop's Meeting
Mattoon First UMC will host a conference with Bishop Frank Beard about the future of the United Methodist Church. The meeting here will be February 10, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The meeting will begin with Communion served by the Bishop.
If you would like to attend,
. There is no cost. If you fill out the registration form, Mattoon First is in the Embarras River District. If you would like to read the current report of the commission,
. If you would like to see a You Tube version (movie) of the commission's work,
Keeping Up with Jordan and Mike
Both pastors are reading up for their trip to Israel (in just two weeks) especially in the history books.
Pastor Mike is coordinating the spring "exams" for all candidates entering the ministry from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. February is the month that 16 candidates (this year) will be voted on by the Board of Ordained Ministry.
Jordan is having his first meetings with the new children's and youth councils to help plan and improve our work with young people in both the church and the community.
Volunteer & Community Opportunities
In the Community:
Pray for, volunteer your time or donate to the Salvation Army.
for more information.
In the Church:
~Mattoon Area PADS; a group from our church serves dinner the 4th Friday
every month; cook at 6:00 p.m., serve at 7:00 p.m., see Susie Beaumont for more information
Conference with Bishop Beard,
Saturday, February 10,
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Ash Wednesday Service, February 14, 7:00 p.m.
2nd Wind, Viola's Kitchen- February 16
, 5:30 p.m.
Youth Trivia Night, February 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Next Meeting Dates
Children's Council, March 7, 7:00 p.m.
Communications Task Force,
January 30, 2018,
Education, January 31, 6:45 p.m.
, April 19, 4:00 p.m.
Finance, February 21, 6:00 p.m.
, February 6, 6:00 p.m.
Pastor Parish Relations
Trustees, February 26
, 6:00 p.m.
UMW Executive Board, March 6, 1:30 p.m.
Worship, March 15, 7:00 p.m.
Youth Committee, March 6, 6:00 p.m.
Sunday School 9:30 a.m.
Contemporary worship 10:45 a.m.
Middle School Youth 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Sr. High Youth 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Mary Circle, second Mondays, 1:30 p.m.
Mary Mini Circle, fourth Monday of the month, 2:00 p.m.
Rebecca Circle, second Mondays, 7:00 p.m.
Pastor's Bible Study 10:00 a.m.
UMW Executive Board 1:30 p.m., first Tuesday of the month
Women's Bible Study of Romans 6:00 p.m.
Cross Training Prayer 6:30 a.m. at the Dickinson's
Chancel Choir 5:45 p.m. (Do not meet Feb. 14)
Downtown Kids 5:30-7:00 p.m., every Wednesday night from Sept-May (Do not meet Feb. 14)
Women's Bible Study, 6:3
at Pagliacci's-"When Christians Get it Wrong" by Adam Hamilton
Contemporary Worship Practice 6:00 p.m.
Men's Breakfast, second Saturday of the month,
Denny's, 7:00 a.m.
Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-12 Noon; 1:00-3:00 p.m.
for our online calendar, covering all church events.
Joys and Concerns
(including Sunday's blue cards
Wendy's (Bev & Larry's daughter) surgery was a success, no cancer!
All God's blessings
Nancy's time making chili with Nate
Continued improvement for Paul's cardiac recover and Dawn's pneumonia
Prayers for Fran Whitley
Paul Schabbing having a d-fib implant at St. John's on Feb 7
Family and friends of Jackie Streeper Green
Healing for Leanne Homan
Amelia Grace has contracted an infection and is still in the hospital
Natalie's dance teacher-cancer
Praying Together This Week
People in our church family:
Richard & Brenda West
Mark & Cathy Willingham
World Council of Churches Prayer Calendar:
Pray this week for the people of Andorra, Italy, Malta, Portugal, San Marino, Spain and Vatican City.
for information about the WCC prayer calendar.
January 28 attendance:
8:15 a.m. 68
10:45 a.m. 88
General Fund: $ 6,528 received this week
(our general fund budget is $408,000 for the year)
Cost of project: $434,766
Starting funds: 107,142
2016 receipts 57,646
2017 receipts 127,587
2018 receipts 3,451
Still Needed: $138,801
The amount received for 2017 includes receipts
last week of: $ 2,740
The renovation work (heating, air conditioning, and tuckpointing) was organized in three phases. The first two phases (completed in 2016 and 2017) are PAID FOR! Due to funds on hand and the generosity of our members, we did not have to borrow any money for the first two phases.
In addition to the money received for the general fund, contributions were made last week to the following causes:
Backpack: $ 50
Youth Trips: $425
Birthdays from 2/1
2/8 Marilyn Boyer
In Nursing Homes and Assisted Living:
Ruby and Gerald Lowry
Please let us know if we have missed anyone!!