July 24, 2020

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

We gather this Sunday in our sanctuary at 9 am. We have been unable to do so since March 8, as COVID-19 restrictions began to be announced on Friday, March 13. Most of you will find your beloved pew being marked with a paper "go" sign, allowing people to be seated, being mindful to sit only with those you have traveled with. Most of our pews are just a little over 10 feet long, so two different groups could sit together (but separate) if they keep to the ends of the pews. Attendance in our fellowship hall services have been about half to two thirds of our average before the pandemic. Just a few reminders:

  • Masks must be worn to enter and to leave. You may remove your mask when you are seated and not speaking to others where distance cannot be kept.
  • Pick up your communion elements upon entering the sanctuary. Drop off your offering upon entering the sanctuary.
  • Congregational group singing will not be permitted. You can speak the words as they appear on the TV screen. We will be incorporating soloists to sing in the next few weeks.
  • Coffee and refreshments will not be available. Sunday School, Youth, and fellowship activities following worship are postponed. Limiting group gatherings are still best methods to reduce exposure and transmission.

Number of cases have been rising in the last couple of days in Macon County. Again, if you are having any symptoms, please join us via online worship, whether at 5 pm Saturday or the re-broadcast on Facebook Live at 9 am each Sunday. Please check your temperature before coming to gather with us. We expect to continue to hold in-person services each Sunday unless public health and government officials announce a reduction in permitted group gathering attendees.

Worship This Weekend
We continue our summer series Family Reunion: Lessons from Genesis . This Saturday at 5 pm worship-online , or Sunday at 9 am we will find the master trickster, Jacob, out-tricked by his own Uncle Laban on the very important matter of obtaining his preferred choice of wife. Jacob arrives in Haran with nothing other than a stolen birthright and family blessing. Gathering at a well, Jacob meets Rachel, weeps and kisses her (the first Public Display of Affection recorded in scripture). Unlike his father's envoy of forty years ago, Jacob brings no gifts, no jewelry. Only his unchallenged ability to negotiate favor from seemingly unlikely sources.

It is difficult to decide whether Uncle Laban is being sincere in the typical brides price negotiations for Rachel to become Jacob's wife. Seven years labor for one bride is agreed. The seven years pass, and the wedding party is held. Under veil and in the darkness of night, Jacob believes Rachel has become his wife. He is stunned to discover the older sister, Leah, the next morning! The trickster has been outsmarted!

Reminded that custom is necessary, that older daughters are married before younger, Jacob is compelled to work another seven years for what he wanted all along. Time after time, God has seemingly ignored custom and convention, undermining oldest for younger. This time it is upheld.

We are probably divided on our response to Jacob's bridal situation. It is nice to see Laban get the better of his nephew, a taste of his own self-serving behavior. But we also feel bad that Laban broke a promised agreement, and gained another seven years of no cost labor from Jacob. The battle of descendants will commence, as favored does not necessarily mean child-bearing, and unloved does not mean childless. The divided loyalty within Jacob's two bride household will have permanent consequences. What cost is there to long-term favoritism?

Other News This Week
Solar Equipment Arrives A rack of brackets and weights for our solar power voltaic system has been placed in the education wing garage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city staff have not completed permit approval. Work is anticipated to begin next week, pending approvals and weather. No alteration of parking or accessibility are anticipated, but work will take several weeks.

Elevator Blues The motherboard of our 1993 Dover Elevator is slowly (and rather erratically) failing to accurately follow programming. It may cancel your floor request, clearing the selection without your permission. Or spend a little extra time waiting for opening the cabin doors. Unfortunately, replacing the motherboard is not a simple exchange, since the Dover Elevator company was sold to ThyssenKrupp in 1999, and the motherboard was already old stock in 1993 (it is a 1985-85 vintage). I can say that 9 out of 10 times of use, the elevator performs as expected. I have been told that our elevator has joined a list of similar installations whose serviceable life is nearing an end without updates.

We have already received an expensive ($88,000) estimate from our current service provider Otis Elevator to modernize our service. The elevator machinery must be updated to current code regulations, which adds to cost. We are seeking additional bids and estimates for the necessary updates.

New Adult Discussion Class to begin August 5 I hope you will join me in the parlor on Wednesdays at 6 pm to explore what the Bible (in particular the books of Daniel & Revelation) have to say about future and final things. I will give away God's plan: God wins in the end. Our guide will be Craig Hill's book In God's Time: The Bible and the Future. Certainly dealing with a global pandemic, increasing natural disasters and destructive weather has made many to speak about end times. Some have used these events to sensationalize biblical prophecy. Other believers have cast doubt, or certainly skepticism about even discussing the matter. I promise you that after our ten weeks together, you will better understand the nature, theology, and Biblical testimony of last things. You do not need the book to participate. To maximize class size, we will meet in the parlor, observing COVID-19 precautions. To register, click here .

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.
 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, Sarah Hazelwonder (Barb Humphries' daughter) , Corbin Henderson, Chase Hendricks, Susie Hendricks, Dane Hodges, 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, Pamela Smith (Amanda Butterick’s sister), Brad Trotter, Melia Yarnell 

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

Family of Jim Kater (7/20). Cards may be sent to the family: 6820 Hibbard Rd, Macon, IL 62544.
Prairie Avenue Christian Church | Website