May 15, 2020

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

I would like to thank you for the many kind cards, phone calls, and e-mails during this unprecedented time. It is barely in living human memory the 1918 flu pandemic, which occurred 6 years prior to our founding. Most survivors are at least 102! Your patience and prayers have been considerable. Your actions make me very proud to be your pastor.

This past Monday I participated in an online meeting with the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin about the recommended stages towards resuming activities in facilities. You can view the pdf file here . A youtube video of the presentation is here .

Since the beginning of the stay-at-home orders, our first priority has been the health and safety of all participants in the life of Prairie Avenue. I do not want to lose a single participant in a rush for normalcy that provides an opportunity for this virus to kill or seriously injure someone I am responsible to care for. Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities is not freedom, it is adolescence. Many participants in our community either have pre-existing conditions (including myself) or are in high-risk age groups (although 65% of cases are among those 65 years or less). One of the most menacing symptoms of this virus is its asymptomatic stage of nearly two weeks, allowing its spread well before someone feels ill. Even when it seems to be "safe," it can be spreading. One Disciples minister in Oklahoma unwittingly carried the virus into a resumed (but safety-minded) worship service, and two congregation members died. We have already had a season of funerals. I don't want to encourage more.

It is looking possible that further stay-at-home measures will be lifted at the end of May. This will only move us to stage 3 in the State of Illinois plan, which still has a 10 person or less restriction to gatherings. While we are able to have drive-in services legally, the needed equipment and our limitations (we don't have a small FM transmitter to broadcast to the parking lot, and the building's restrooms would not be available), make it more difficult to produce than our existing online methods.
Wearing masks in public, especially for those who must have corrective glasses, has revealed the nature of our breathing (not its halitosis): there is a lot of moisture being spread into the air. The amount is even greater when we sing. Singing in groups in even a large sanctuary will probably not be safe until stage 5, when treatment or vaccine is available. Worship without singing is not full worship to me. I'd rather sing from the safety of my dining room table than to sit in our socially distant sanctuary wearing a mask and not singing a single word of a hymn.

We are a loving and caring community, and the temptation to get out of a car to talk to someone we haven't seen since March even at the necessary 6 feet of separation is just too great. But there is now an online opportunity to gather and chat:

Coffee Fellowship at 10:15 AM Each Sunday
I will host an online Coffee hour through Google Meet. All are welcome to join by video or phone. To join click h ere.

Each day that passes brings us another day closer to returning into our beloved sanctuary to hear the organ soar, the Clavinova jam, and the Gethsemane window shine! It is coming. In order to prepare for the day, I would like you to fill out this survey so we can begin to have everything ready. It will also let us know what (and who!) to expect when reopening facilities.

Alpha Film Series: Who Is Jesus? Wednesday May 20,
6 pm to 7 pm
This introduction to the basics of faith was examined by the Golden Circle Discussion Group a few months ago. Over twelve weeks, we will study and discuss questions: "How can I have faith?" "Why and How do I pray?" "Why and How should I read the Bible?" and more.

I would appreciate your RSVP to confirm your interest in joining our study group. You can also view the video and then join the online discussion group here . You will need to download the Google Meet App to join the discussion group.

Solar Equipment Installation Update
Jim Hackney of Roy Keith Electric of Farmington, Illinois and Keirvan Davidson of Hawk-Attollo reviewed the proposed Solar equipment installation plan last Monday. Mr. Hackney will be our on-site project manager. The rack system for the sanctuary panels is to be manufactured this month. On-site work is anticipated to begin mid to late June.

See you in worship (online!) this weekend!
As a church family, we care for and pray for one another.
 Names in Bold are new or updated concerns.
Peggy Bergen, Jeff Baker (Les Ruffner's friend), Joan and John Doll, Jayson Dudley (Brad Trotter's friend) , Chris & Marion Gardner, David & Janet Geibel, Corbin Henderson, Chase Hendricks, Susie Hendricks, Dane Hodges, Jim & Barbara Kater, Sondra Lehew, Tom Little (Dixie June's Son-in-Law/Linda Little's Husband ) , Elizabeth Long , Joan March (Tonda Atchason’s mother), Kathleen McDaniel (Elizabeth Long’s cousin), Stephanie Pulliam (Tonda Atchason’s friend), Kathy Ray, Tiffany Ray Peacock, Karen Sharp, Amanda Sheperd, Mike & Cheryl Sheumaker, Pamela Smith (Amanda Butterick’s sister), Brad Trotter, Melia Yarnell 

Amanda Butterick , Zachery Hocker, Those who are unemployed, underemployed, furloughed or laid-off by COVID-19.

Long-Term Care
Maxine Henson, Helen Kater, Betty Moore, Maxine Van der Voort
Prairie Avenue Christian Church | Website