March  18, 2020

THIS WEEK ALSO HAPPENS TO BE "NATIONAL INTROVERTS WEEK"  (wow... the country has really gone out of its way to make these folks feel good!
Well, I didn't think my last three months before retirement would look like this.  Jie and I have been healthy, but highly anxious to find ways to serve our churches during this surreal time.  We were sad to miss our granddaughter's first birthday last week.  But love means setting selfishness aside and doing what is best for everyone.
The two of us did take advantage of the nice weather yesterday to get outside and do some hiking.  
Please remember that I am available by phone if anyone needs me... or simply needs to talk to avoid going crazy.  My cell is 217-898-3148, and all our church members are most welcome to call, text, or email me.  Every pastor I know is working extra hard these days to keep our people connected and our congregations healthy.  That is also true of the staff at First United Methodist.  Each one is stepping up the pace to serve all of you in new and creative ways until we get through this.  

We are currently juggling several different sets of instructions/requests/reports as we determine what to do and what NOT to do around the church.
From President Trump :  recommendation that there be no gatherings of 10 or more people
From Center for Disease Control :  report that viruses can live on surfaces up to three days, be airborne for up to 30 minutes.  People should stay six feet apart when in public places.
From Governor Pritzker :  an executive order banning gatherings of 50 or more people
From Bishop Frank Beard :  request that no "live" worship services be held in Illinois United Methodist Churches until at least April 1
The only staff member who has shown any symptoms of flu is Tammy Young.  She has been to the doctor twice, who indicated that she did not meet his criteria for a coronavirus test.  She is feeling better today and has not had a fever since yesterday.  No one in her house has caught any symptoms.
The church trustees have five volunteers who will disinfect sections of the church (along with Jim Johns and Dora Dallas) at 9 a.m. tomorrow.  This will allow some of our staff to begin working again from the office, observing the six-foot distancing recommendation from the Center for Disease Control.
The church council is voting today on Bishop Beard's recommendation that we suspend all live worship services until March 31.  We will let you know in tomorrow's update what the plans are for this weekend.  If the council votes to suspend worship temporarily, Jordan and I will be providing several ways for everyone to join us online or on the phone.  If it comes to that, you'll be receiving more information on that Friday.


Here is our list of retirement centers and nursing homes and the people from our church who reside there.  This is a difficult time of isolation for them, and cards and simple notes would be very appreciated.  If you know of phone numbers we can use for any of these people, please send them to me if they want them published in this update.
Brookstone North  1920 Brookstone Lane  Mattoon  61938
   Norma Edwards         Rm 38
   Christine McConnell   Rm 26
   Pat Campbell             Rm 22
   Merle Lowry                Rm 17
Brookstone South  2008 S. 9th St.   Mattoon  61938
   Dorothy Shepard       Apt 3 
   Virginia Beasley        Apt 28
   Mary Sheppard         Apt 34

Brookstone-Charleston  300 Lincoln Highway Rd  61920
   Larry Zachow

Mattoon Healthcare   2121 S. 9th St.  Mattoon 61938

   Dorothy Gullion         
   John Zachow
   Pauline Andrews       
   Joan Beals 
   Norma Grisamore 
   Charlotte Upton             

Oddfellow-Rebekah  201 Lafayette Ave. East  Mattoon   
   Betty Eisner
   Sabra Culp

Mason Point  One Masonic Way   Sullivan  61957
   Gerald Lowry   L107

Copper Creek  920 Country Club Rd   Mattoon  61938    
   Maxine Chapin
   Ed Behm
   Mabelle Wooddell

Palm Terrace  1000 Palm Ave. Mattoon  61938
    Ione Hill

Hilltop Nursing Home   910 W. Polk Ave.  Charleston  61920

    Lela Holderfield
Heritage Woods   480 W. Polk Ave.  Charleston 61920
     Mary Lou Malmborg
Clark-Lindsey Village   101 W. Windsor Rd  Urbana 61820
     Jean Johnston         Apt 4313


Gene Eagleson sent me this note earlier today (written by someone he knows).  I found it very informative.  Plus, most of us still trust a pharmacist!!
Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. 
It has to do with RNA sequencing.... i.e. genetics.

Seasonal flu is an "all human virus". The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year... you get immunity two ways...through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot. 

Novel viruses, come from animals.... the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1...birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once one of these animal viruses mutates and starts to transfer from animals to humans... then it's a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn't human, and the human immune system doesn't recognize it so, we can't fight it off. 

Sometimes the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human. For years it's only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human... once that happens...we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that's what decides how contagious, or how deadly it's going to be..

H1N1 was deadly....but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It's RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too. 

Fast forward. 

Now, here comes this Coronavirus... it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long...but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in November 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animals to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person but in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, "slippery"

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a "human" virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity) took off like a rocket. And this was because, humans have no known immunity...doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs..

That's why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza.... this one is slippery. And it's a lung eater...And, it's already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L....which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

There really are no tools in our shed with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu. 

Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed...(honestly...I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation...

And let me end by saying....right now it's hitting older folks harder... but this genome is so slippery...if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next. 

This is why it's imperative that you stay home unless you must go out. Keep your kids at home. If you work in healthcare, wear your PPE. Wash your hands like you were taught. Be smart people."

Click here if you would like to see the annual conference page on coronavirus related issues for churches.

3/15   Tabatha Ames
3/18   Mona Buckley
3/18   Tyler Tutt
3/20   Steve Parker
3/21   Cheryl McDowell
3/23   Mariah Beltran
3/23   Tiffany Johns
3/23   Charlotte Upton
3/27   Alice Nelson
3/16  David & Julie Viertel
If we have missed someone, or you know of a birthday or anniversary coming up, please be sure and let us know so we can include everyone.  Since we may not be seeing each other in the next few days, reach out and celebrate with these folks!

B Your grandparents were called to war.

You're being called to sit on your couch.

You can do this!