Staying involved in the Bloomington/Normal area, and beyond. 
Where do you fit... Beyond the Bricks?

Welcome... to the latest issue of
Beyond the Bricks!

Dear Christian Friends,
We care for one another at First Christian Church.  I have been on the receiving end of that care many times in the past months and will be forever grateful.  But we don't just care for ourselves.  Our caring reaches out to include those who are "beyond the bricks" of this church.  This monthly publication highlights opportunities we have for extending our care to others.
Won't you take a few moments to look over this issue of Beyond the Bricks?  Perhaps you'll discover ways you can help us be, as our vision statement says, "a growing church who welcomes all, grows spiritually, and serves others."
Blessings to you,
Jim Warren 
Get Involved in Deep Green Faith:  Learn about the Environment with Normal First United Methodist Church   
Various Locations

Everyone can Join in these conversations and discussions of our environment:

Thursday September 12: 6:00-8:00 p.m. "It's getting hot in here; A conversation about climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice". 6:00 p.m. refreshments and reception in church Narthex (entryway). 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. presentation in Sanctuary

Tuesday, September 17: 6:00-7:30 p.m. Faith in place conversation about clean jobs initiative in Illinois. Presentation at the Normal Public Library

Sunday, September 22: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. View and discuss at Illinois State University's Milner Library a photography and plant material exhibit, Prairie Suite; then participate in a contemplative exercise at the ISU Horticulture Center.

A conversation for the entire community - Deep Green Faith:  Healing Our Spiritual Relationship with Nature. All ages and all faiths are welcome. Monday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Normal (211 N. School Street). Dr. Robin Gottfried and Rev. Jerry Cappel will be coming to town to help lead these activities. They come to us from The Center for Religion and Environment at the University of the South.

Faith Leaders Conversation on Deep Green Faith:  Healing Our Spiritual Relationship with Nature Monday, September 23, 10:30 a.m. - noon at the church. Dr. Gottfried and Rev. Cappel will come to town to lead us in thinking about how we can heal our spiritual relationship with nature, and how we can lead this healing in our faith communities. Please RSVP to or call the church office at 309-452-2096.
Get Involved in MCCA (Mid Central Community Action)  
September Suppers

Join us at the "September Suppers" Fundraisers with portions of the proceeds benefiting MCCA!  Please invite and encourage friends, family, and community members to participate! Flyers need to be shown to support MCCA.

Red Robin
107 South Veterans Parkway
Thursday, September 19   4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

208 Greenbriar Drive
Tuesday, September 24   4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Survivors: Local Stories
of Domestic Violence
Monday, September 30
7:00 p.m.
Normal Theater, Uptown Normal

Dr. Shelly Clevenger and her CJS 342 Victimology class, in coordination with YWCA Stepping Stones and Neville House, will be coordinating a performance highlighting quotes from local survivors about domestic violence and their healing.

Purchase a ticket in person or online from the Normal Theater.  All proceeds benefit YWCA Stepping Stones and Neville House.

Please contact Shelly Clevenger at or
(724) 840-7485 for more information.
Attend the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Showcase  
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
7:00 to 8:30 a.m.
Radisson Hotel &  Conference Center
Bloomington, IL  61704
McLean County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting our annual NONPROFIT SHOWCASE -- free for all to attend. 
This is your chance to meet those individuals that represent the nonprofit organizations in our community and hear about their programs and efforts in McLean County.
For inquiries, please contact Andi Elliott at  or call (309) 829-1183.
Pause for PBD (Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder)  
Saturday, October 5, 2019
All Day
#PauseforPBD, our worldwide awareness day, is only one month away! Every year, on October 5, @thegfpd pauses to recognize and honor all of the families that have lost a child or are currently fighting a peroxisomal disorder. 
Read more below.
Mental Health & The Church:  A Panel Discussion
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
6:15 p.m.
City of Refuge Ministries
401 E. Jefferson St.
Bloomington, IL  61701
Join us to learn more about mental health and substance use disorders, and have an open discussion on the churches' response.
Work Your Faith is partnering with City of Refuge to host a panel discussion on mental health and the churches' response. You will have the opportunity to hear a dynamic group of professionals give guidance and answers to your questions concerning mental health.  Come on out and ask questions, get educated, and gain resources.   - Tamara Childress, LCSW

Our own Luella Mahannah is one of the panelists.
#WorkYourFaith #reducethestigma #seekhelp #therapyisOK   
Be a Part of the Bed Blitz by Being on a Team and/or by Donating a Pillow 
Saturday, October 12, 2019
YouthBuild McLean County
  724 West Washington St.
Bloomington, IL  61701
It is the fourth annual Bed Blitz event, a community-driven project sponsored by The Tool Library, YouthBuild McLean County, and West Bloomington Revitalization Project, where we will be building beds for children in the McLean County area. The day of the event is October 12, 2019 and is at Youthbuild. To make this event a success, we need help from the community to donate items that will be included with each bed frame and mattress.

Julie Robinson of FCC has signed up a team to participate in the Bed Blitz,
and for FCC to donate ten new pillows to the effort. 
Contact Julie at jerobinson21409@yahoo .com to be a part of a team and/or to donate a pillow or two.
Learn about Mental Health First Aid
Various Locations
July through November Individual Classes
Bloomington and Normal, IL
The Mental Health First Aid class teaches a five-step action plan to offer initial help to people with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in a crisis, and to connect them with the appropriate care.  Mental Health First Aid is for anyone:  parents, neighbors, college students, teachers, members of faith communities, first-responders, and caring citizens.
Upcoming training classes for this eight-hour course are as follows:
  • 10/10/19: Youth Mental Health First Aid (content covers ages 12-18), Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, call 800-323-8622 to register
  • 11/4/19: Mental Health First Aid, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, call 309-661-5151 to register
For more information or to ask questions, contact:  Morgan Rondinelli at or 309-888-5443.
Join with Welcoming America to Support New Neighbors 
Bloomington-Normal, IL, Area and Beyond
Welcoming America provides direction and support to communities to become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. Launched in 2009, Welcoming America is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that fosters a culture and policy environment to make it possible for newcomers of all backgrounds to feel valued and to fully participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of their adopted hometowns. Its approach goes beyond a single program or service to work with institutions across the community to reduce the barriers that immigrants face to fully participate and build bridges between newcomers and long-time residents.

Next meeting is at Heartland Community College on Thursday, September 19, at 6:00 p.m.  Kerry Urquizo and Khrystyna Sanborn will have a group of HCC's ESL students in attendance, as well.  The plan is to break up into small groups of students and coalition members so that the students can talk about what difficulties they face when navigating our local health care system.

We are there to listen to student concerns that night.  Through our endeavors as a WA coalition, we will hopefully be able to rectify those problems for the students in the future.  Please RSVP to Kris Williams ASAP to ensure the adequate-sized room is reserved.

To get involved, contact Kris Williams at 
Volunteer as a Reader as Part of the Grandparents are Gifts Program at the Boys & Girls Club 
Now through May 15, 2020
4:00 p.m through 5:00 p.m.
Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal
Bloomington and Normal, IL
We are looking for volunteers for our Grandparents are Gifts program, a small group reading program at the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal.  Come as often as you like.  To get involved, contact Jenny Hall at or by calling 309-829-3034 x109.
Volunteer at or Donate to the WBRP  
(West Bloomington Revitalization Project)
724 W. Washington Street
Bloomington, IL  61701
Whether it's repairing tools, painting, assisting with the Bike Co-op or riding the Book Bike to community events, we have something for every volunteer. Stop by during our hours (below) to get more information or to sign up. You can also email for more info.

Monday: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.; 5:00-7:00 p.m.
              (Bike Co-op open 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.)
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.; 5:00-7:00 p.m.
*Thursday: 2:00-7:00 p.m.
*Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
               (Bike Co-op open 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)

                              *need extra help these days
Make a one-time or monthly donation that will help keep the WBRP programs thriving.  Donate Online
Help with the Sunnyside Community Garden and Food Forest 
Location:  West End of Illinois Street
Bloomington, IL  61701
The garden began as a high school project with eight beds for the Boys & Girls Club. It grew into an eight-week summer educational program, where children observe insects, plant seeds, and snack on fresh strawberries or carrots.
Today, Sunnyside has 12 beds that produce tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, collards, spinach, squash, herbs, onions, potatoes, berries and more. Neighbors share the freshly harvested produce at the seasonal Free Market Stand on Wednesday nights. And several thousand pounds of produce are donated to the Boys & Girls Club, Home Sweet Home, and Veggie Oasis, helping food insecure families. In addition, two pollinator gardens have been established and are thriving.
Future visions for the garden:
  • Semi-permanent greenhouse for growing vegetable starts for garden and winter salad greens to be sold for income to sustain and grow Sunnyside
  • Low-cost CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions for West Bloomington residents
  • Full-time farmer 
  • Summer teacher for Boys & Girls Program
  • Student interns
  • More volunteers
Apply to be a Marcfirst Host Home Provider
1606 Hunt Drive  
Normal, IL  61761
Marcfirst's Host Home program assists individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages in McLean County with finding a home designed to encourage independence in a family environment. Host Home Providers open their homes up to individuals supported, allowing the individuals to be immersed in both community and family life. Individuals are matched with a Host Home Provider based on a variety of likes and dislikes.

Host Home providers receive complex training in health and safety, implementation of service plans, and person-centered services. This ensures a quality relationship of support and guidance. Marcfirst staff will visit all homes a minimum of three times per month, checking that the home is safe and individual needs are being met.

Host Home Providers are independent contractors who will be compensated for opening their home to an individual with a developmental disability. Providers make a difference in a person with a disability's life from within their home, by helping individuals achieve their goals, create relationships within the community, and live more independently!
Around the Community
First Christian Church || 309 829-9327  |
401 West Jefferson St.  Bloomington, IL  61701
Bloomington's Oldest Continuing Congregation
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