The Chimes


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The Chimes A publication of United Presbyterian Church

. Peoria, IL

Volume.11 Issue.12 January 7, 2015

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December 2014

In this issue: Page 2 Those in Uniform Website Prayer List Page 3 Message from Pastor Stephen Page 4 Message from Pastor Patricia Page 5 Christian Education Connecting Point Page 6 Children Page 7 Prayer Corner Library News Page 8 Quest Page 9 Worship & the Arts Page 10 Worship & the Arts Cont’d Page 11 Mission Stephen Ministry Page 12 Mission Cont’d Page 13 Parish Nurse Stewardship & Giving Page 14 Church Life News and Notes Page 15 A Christmas Carol Insert Calendar Advent Meditations

Tony Anthony Eunice Andrews Robert Avery Jack Bensing Dorothy Bloom Margaret Brunner Lorraine Bunker Fern Deemie Betty Dixon Delores Fogler Bob & Carolyn Gnepper Margaret Greiner Midge Hillard Margaret Hochstrasser Loretta Horst Mary Johnson Dwight & Corda Jones Mike Kelley Vicki Kirchgessner Helen Kreighbaum Maureen Leuba Bill Maule Stephanie Murray Gladys Neal Annie Nichols Nathan Pennington Althea Rauen Helen Sandman Sherry Shedenhelm

Interested in joining United Presbyterian Church? Contact a pastor or visit our website at: www.unitedpc.org.

LTC Jim Pugh SETAF CMR 427, Box 3778 APO, AE 09630 SGT Scranton, Joseph H. IS1 Chris Davis Capt. Elton Herrick

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The Year That Was and the Year To Come

2014 was a record-breaking year for United Presbyterian Church. We had more baptisms this year than ever before. We had record numbers at VBS, we used our church bus more than ever to go on trips and outings, we started small group ministries, we had more fellowship events than in any other year, and we had more Bible studies and educational classes than ever. We’ve started new mission programs and grown existing programs. We are a church that is alive. We continue to welcome new members into our church family every month. More people are involved in the ministries of UPC this year than in previous years. Despite all that growth and activity, we’ve experienced the lowest pledge total in UPC history. That may seem odd. We are growing in numbers, but we have less money committed to the ministries of the church. While 2014 was a year of great growth, it was also a year of loss. Some of our most faithful and generous members moved away in retirement, relocated with job transfers, or joined the church triumphant in heaven. We also lamented the loss of a few members who decided UPC was no longer the right church home for them. We are also a younger church than we have been in the past. Our median age has slowly been declining over the last five years. Often young families do not have the disposable incomes that more established individuals have. So while we have a more active membership, we have less financial resources pledged this year. What does all this mean? It means we may have to rethink how we do ministry. We are not the same church we were five years ago, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Change is an opportunity for a new thing. With less financially pledged to UPC, we will have to cut our ministry budgets. I am not sure what that means yet. We may have to rely on volunteers more for nursery care for certain events. It may mean eliminating some of our long-standing programs. It may mean scaling back some of the large events we look forward to each year. It may mean we have to rely on volunteer work to help keep our building and grounds looking so beautiful. We might have to eliminate certain programs that have been long-standing traditions at UPC. These decisions rest with the church Session, who will look at the budget again at their January meeting, but we want you to be a part of the process. If you haven’t made a financial commitment to UPC, it is not too late. Every dollar pledged means more ministry that we can do. It means the building remains open, staff can continue to minister to God’s people, outreach can still be done, and programs can still be run. Please be in prayer for our Session, our treasurer, and our Stewardship and Finance Committee as they wrestle with tough decisions. No matter where we end up financially, you can be assured that 2015 will be a year of growth. We will grow and nurture followers of Christ in a welcoming community. We will continue to share the love and grace of God and impact lives in a powerful way. Ministry may look a little different, but it will be Christ-centered ministry, because that is who we are. In common calling, Pastor Stephen

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Recounting and Hoping Blessed New Year to each of you! May the light of Christ from the season of Christmas continue to be the lamp to your feet and light to your path, leading you in grace and truth in 2015. Many of us have seen many years come to an end. Year-end comes with recounting what has occurred in the previous year with budget reports, annual reports, and others which record and keep us accountable. They help us to know if we are on track. In addition I have been also recounting that 2014 was a year of many firsts for John and I here in Peoria. This is the first time John and I together have lived this side of the Rocky Mountains, as well as first time to live in a big city. We arrived to the frigid Midwest December 26 one year ago. We learned firsthand alongside our new Peoria friends the meaning of “Polar Vortex.” The first Sunday worship of 2014 was the smallest attended; only about 15. What a snow storm! Sharing with our Peoria friends a record snow season and one of the coldest on record, for the first time since 1994 we wished we owned a snow blower! This year we are prepared. We have a mighty snow moving machine in our garage! And then as my first year as a pastor, there were countless firsts! First time to be ordaining and installing elders. First time to be commissioning Stephen Ministers. First time to teach classes about religious traditions foreign to me. First time to lead an Ash Wednesday Service and weekly Lenten services. First time to officiate communion services. First time to be installed as an Associate Pastor. First time to experience a UPC Easter Egg Hunt, to lead Easter Sonrise and Easter Services. First time to lead bus trips with parishioners. First time to lead worship in a nursing home and assisted living facility. First time to lead a memorial service for someone unknown to me. First time to lead a discussion on the topic of Christian Spirituality. First time to lead a Bible Study which is not written by others. First time to coordinate a church retreat. First time to moderate session. First time to attend the Symphony! And a Madrigal! (thank you!) First time to plan and lead worship in the Celtic Tradition. First time to plan and lead a service of Light and Hope. My list is so long and this is not exclusive! And is just t list of the firsts! There were so many amazing and blessed moments of 2014. Perhaps Psalm 40:5 sums it up. “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.” That is how I am feeling! More firsts and more blessings than can be counted. So I thank God and thank all of you @ UPC for calling me as your Associate Pastor. We feel so Blessed! We are looking forward to the many ways we will grow together as followers of Christ alongside you! Grace and Peace to you! Pastor Patricia

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Christian Education Adul

t Classes

9 am Enrichment Hour Every Sunday has 4 choices for adults! The Story: The Bible in chronological and easy to read format as Story. This Month: The Israelites after the time of King Solomon. Weekly discussion will be led by Pastor Patricia based on a chapter from The Story and a DVD presentation. You are welcome to join in even if you have not read the chapter. January 11: Chapter 15: God’s Messengers January 18: The Beginning of the End January 25: The Kingdom’s Fall The Wired Word: discussion on current events and relevant Scripture passages led by Betty Pugh and Gordon Selling. Wired Word works to keep our Christian Faith grounded to a current and fast changing world. Bring your thoughts and opinions! If you like, bring your electronic device and the downloaded lesson. Journey Through the Bible: I Samuel (the story of Saul and of David) led by Don Baker and John Warning. It is an insightful study offers questions to help the reader dig into the message of the Biblical text, provides information on the historical and cultural setting, insight from the original language, what the passage meant to its first readers, and it invites insight into life applications of individuals, our church and our community. 3:16 Bible Study Group meeting Sunday Jan 11 and 25 @ 11:30 in room 100 A DVD based group Bible Study using 3:16 by Max Lucado. Child care is available. 10am Thursday Morning Bible Study: Isaiah After spending a few weeks in November and December looking at how we interpret Scripture, particularly on some current theological issues, we are returning to Isaiah chapters 4066 and God’s redemption plan for Israel. Bring your Bible and join the discussion led by Pastor Patricia.

5 Faith and Family Class The Faith and Family Class is open to everyone regardless of age of family situation. In January we will play a game at the beginning of class and then begin using the book But I Don't See You As Asian: Curating Conversations About Race. The class meets at 9:00am in the Library. PRAYER Join Pastor Patricia in her office for Noon Prayer: a time for mid-day prayer and intercession on Wednesdays. 3:16 Bible Study Group meeting Sunday, Dec 7 & 21 @ 11:30 in Room 100 A DVD based group Bible Study using 3:16 by Max Lucado. Child care is available. 11-Minute Lessons We are starting a new series in 11-Minute Lessons this month, “What is the Bible?” We will be exploring the origin, meaning, context, and history of the Bible while studying its contents. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the Bible this is the class to come to, eleven minutes at a time. Spiritual Book Club: Spiritual Book Club will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27 to discuss the short mystery story "The Blue Cross" by G.K. Chesterton. "The Blue Cross" is the first of many short stories featuring Chesterton's iconic sleuth, Father Brown, and has been adapted many times for film and television since its initial publication in The Saturday Evening Post in 1910, most recently for a BBC series that aired on PBS in 2013. We will also discuss the future direction of the book club, and because this story is only about ten pages long, January is a great time to join us! Copies of "The Blue Cross" will be available in the church office, or you can read the story online at http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/ Gilbert_K_Chesterton/ The_Innocence_of_Father_Brown/ The_Blue_Cross_p10.html

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Children Rotation Sunday School Ages 3 – 3rd grade Rotation Sunday school in January will focus on John the Baptist, his life and the baptism of Jesus. We will learn through science, film and cooking. We are always in need of teachers. Please prayerfully consider how you can help with Children’s ministry and sign up in the Narthex or talk to Karen. 4th Grade and Up Worship Preparation Class Begins January 4th after the Time for Young Disciples In the Youth Room To better serve the needs of our upper elementary and middle school friends, we are beginning a new class during worship. In this class we will spend time preparing this age group for their transition into worship in fun and creative ways. They will learn about the parts of the worship service, learn why we do certain things and write some of their own that they will eventually lead in worship services. We will spend 2 Sundays in class and 2 in the pews as a group where we will be listening and learning. We hope this class will create a group of youth that don’t just go to church, they worship. If any adults would be interested in helping with this program, let Karen know. Parents Night Out Friday, January 9th 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. Sign up today for a night out while we watch the kids! Contact Karen Miller to reserve your spot today.

Young Explorers @ Connecting Point Wednesdays at Connecting Point While parents are getting their mid-week recharge, children are invited to the Sunday school rooms for a brief lesson and activity just for them. We always end with some fun time in the gym. Join us for a nice break in the middle of the week.

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In this month’s Adult class (Wednesdays @ 6:30) we will be growing in our understanding of ourselves and our understanding of others. We will begin with the 5 Love Languages (did you know there were 5?) Come learn your language and that of the significant others in your life. And then the class will move on to The Enneagram. The Enneagram is an early monastery method of understanding personality and spiritual growth. We will learn the various personality types, and have opportunity to discover our own personality type. By gaining better understanding of ourselves and others in the areas of our love language, our fears, our desires and our challenge for growth, we each can grow in our ability to love and accept ourselves and others. Loving and accepting in the ways that Jesus loves and accepts us. In other words, growing in our following of Christ and as a truly welcoming community!

QUEST MIDDLE SCHOOL This is a youth group for grades 5th-8th to learn, serve and enjoy fellowship. It is a place where everyone is able to be themselves amongst friends. If you have any questions, please contact Karen Miller. UPCOMING EVENTS Quest Middle Gathering Sundays, January 11 AND January 25 3:30- 5:00 p.m. Join us for snacks, games and devotion! We may be spending some time working on re-doing our youth room during these meetings. QUEST HIGH SCHOOL Quest High School Gathering Sundays, January 11 AND January 25 5:00 -6:30 p.m. Join us for snacks, games and devotion! We may be spending some time working on re-doing our youth room during these meetings. MARK YOUR CALENDARS MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLERS! SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER Tuesday, February 17 Mission trip fundraiser! Put the date on your calendars now as we will be preparing a sausage and pancake dinner to raise money for our summer mission trip. It is important that everyone plans to come and help.

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Prayer Corner Prayer for the New Year The New Year is often a time to think about new beginnings. We reflect on the year we have just lived and we hope for the life that is ahead of us. I imagine that, for all of us, 2014 had times of joy and times of sadness. I imagine 2015 will be much the same in that respect. I pray we can continue to care for one another through all the times, and serve God so that God’s hope, peace, joy, and love are profoundly present in Peoria this year. May we have the eyes of faith to see these things, the hearts of faith to receive them, and the hands of faith to share them. Please pray with me: God of new beginnings, you wipe away our tears and call us to care for one another. Give us eyes to see your gifts, hearts to embrace all creation, and hands to serve you every day of our lives. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen We continue to lift in prayer Mary Johnson, Veronica Shumaker, Fannie Ort, Jeannie Boswell, Dorothy Brand, Margaret Brunner, the family of Evelyn Perrine, and Bob & Mary Kay McDowell’s son.

Health & Wellness Winter Walking Love walking in the spring, summer and fall but hate doing it in the cold, rain, snow or sleet? Do you want to avoid the expense of a gym membership? A warm and safe alternative is to walk at a mall! Northwoods Mall in Peoria typically opens its main doors an hour before stores open. Grab a friend, put on your tennis shoes and get in a walking workout. This is a great way to stay active ALL winter long. Northwoods Mall store hours are 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sundays. Questions contact Kirsten Tharp, Parish Nurse. Blood Pressure Screenings The Health and Wellness team offers free blood pressure screenings the first Sunday of each month. Screenings are held in the fellowship area from 9:15am-10:00am and again following service in the Quilting Room. This is an easy way to take an active role in your health! The next blood pressure screening will be held on Sunday, February 1st.

Goals for the New Year This year I am going to eat better, exercise more and lose weight. Sound familiar? About 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% actually achieve them. How can you put the odds in your favor and be a part of that 8% in 2015? The answer is simple: by being S.M.A.R.T. Vague resolutions like “losing weight” get vague results. If you are specific, you will be more successful. Here is a formula for making goals for the new year. Your goals should be: Specific: Identify exactly what you want to achieve Measurable: Decide how you will measure your progress Action-oriented: Use action words to describe how you will reach your goal step by step Realistic: Make sure this is something you have the ability to accomplish and it is something you actually want to do Timed: Have a set start and end date Here is an example of a SMART goal: Starting next Monday, I will walk for 15 minutes in the evening after dinner three times a week. The following week, I will increase the time I walk to 20 minutes three times a week. Or, starting Monday, I will add an extra serving of vegetables to my dinner meal three times during the week. The following week I will add one more serving of vegetables to my lunch meal. Set goals that motivate you, but aren’t so hard that they overwhelm you or cause you to get burned out. Source: www.webmdhealth.com Kirsten Tharp, Parish Nurse

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Worship & Arts Turning Points: Moments That Matter Our new sermon series for the winter is “Turning Points: Moments That Matter.” We’ll be looking at six key events that were turning points in the life and ministry of Jesus, and how those events speak to the turning points in our lives. The six moments we’ll explore together are: the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus, the first miracle of Jesus, Peter’s declaration of faith at Caesarea Philippi, the transfiguration of Jesus, and the raising of Lazarus.

Preaching Schedule January 4: Matthew 2:1-12 “The Bad News About the Good News” Pastor Stephen January 11: Matthew 3: “A Life-Changing Moment” Pastor Patricia January 18: Matthew 4:1-11 “The Way of the Kingdom” Pastor Stephen January 25: John 2:1-12 “The Abundance of Wild Space” Pastor Stephen Celtic Worship Service On January 20 @ 6pm we will be holding a Celtic style worship service prior to the session meeting. Our Celtic services feature some wonderful Celtic music, and Celtic instruments like the Hammered Dulcimer and the Bagpipes (we have many gifted musicians). The liturgy and prayers and communion also are faithful to Christian Celtic themes of the intertwining connections of life and faith with creation, Creator, and the Trinity.

January 2015 Heart Songs of UPC At United Presbyterian Church, we value worship being an action not exclusively done by those in leadership, but rather by everyone who is present in worship. Worship on Sunday mornings is communal, participatory, inclusive, and representative of those who are gathered. In order for worship at UPC to function in this way, the staff designs worship services with the congregation at the forefront of our mind. On January 11th, we are going to have an insert in the bulletins. On it you will have the opportunity to write down your favorite song(s) that are located within the Christian tradition as well as describe why these song(s) are important to you. This could include old hymns typically not sung in church anymore, favorite hymns we do sing in church, sung responses, songs you hear on the radio, or songs you listen to on a regular basis. As we gather this information, we will get a better understanding of what kinds of music speaks to the congregation in powerful ways. In other words, we want to know the music that has been a source of encounter between you and God, which are called “heart songs” in some circles. In the future we will try to integrate some of these songs within public worship and maybe even ask you to share with the congregation what the song means for you in your life. We look forward to reading about the songs that have been important in your faith journey, and we hope these songs can be shared with the larger family of UPC. Aaron Pastor Stephen Pastor Patricia

News and Notes Dunlap High School’s “Stage 323” will present South Pacific on Friday, January 23 @ 7:30 PM, Saturday, January 24 @ 2:00 PM & Sunday, January 25 @2:00 PM. Tickets maybe purchased as the door or by calling the high school office or contacting Robin Hunt @ 309-6484383. Cast and crew members from our church include Elise Hanson and Alex Scranton.

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Worship & the Arts The Dietary Pyramid of Musical Consumption Some influential scholars in liturgical studies have used food as a metaphor to speak of music in Christian worship. I find this both intriguing and annoying at times; however, I do believe it speaks to some important truths about music’s role in our lives of worship. Since our early childhood, we have been introduced to the food pyramid. The size of the boxes within the pyramid and the food associated along with them are proportionate to our healthy consumption of the given foods. We need more whole grains and legumes in comparison to dairy and sweets! There is a quantifiable composite of healthy food consumption. But can we talk about music (more specifically music appropriate for communal worship) in those terms? Is there such thing as a healthy musical diet? Some people would say the music one hears on Christian Radio is the equivalent of musical candy; it feels great to listen to, but if this was the only music one consumed and worshiped to they would be artistically and spiritually malnourished. Some people would say the music of Bach or Mozart is musical kale; full of rich nutrients and fully able to provide a wide range of artistic, creative, spiritual and sustaining nourishment. If this were the case, one could argue, then there would be a direct correlation between someone’s music playlists on iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify and their creative, spiritual, and intellectual progress as human beings! As fun as this may be to pursue investigating, I think we can use the analogy of food to talk about music in less preposterous ways. I do not believe people that listen to Bach are objectively more intelligent than people who listen to Taylor Swift, Chris Tomlin, or Usher. I also do not believe that people who worship to Gregorian Chant are more spiritually balanced than those who worship to Contemporary Christian Music. But I do believe that certain music demands different things from the people who are consuming the given music. We do not listen to a Rachmaninoff piano concerto in the same way we listen to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”. Listening to certain musical compositions requires different categories for consumption and interpretation; most of which have to be identified, learned, and cultivated over time. The same can be said of food. We do not drink Coca-Cola with the same level of appreciation as a 20-year-old bottle of Burgundy, nor do we drink them in the same manner. We might consume Coca-Cola on hot summer’s day at the beach, and we might drink the wine with a pairing of our favorite dish. The possible flavors we extract from these two drinks are completely different. The aromatic profile of the wine far exceeds the aromatic profile of the Coke, which makes the wine much more complicated in structure. Does this make the bottle of Burgundy inherently better than the can of Coke? I would argue no. But I do

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think the bottle of Burgandy demands more of our palate, concentration, appreciation, and imagination than the can of Coke. I would say the same thing about the Rachmaninoff concerto and Pharrall’s hit. We also eat food for multiple purposes: pure pleasure of eating, out of respect for the person who made the food, to be healthier, to expand our palate, to learn about other cultures, or to comfort us when we are upset. I think we should think about consuming music in similar terms. If we only listen to music for enjoyment, we are not allowing other music that will otherwise challenge, energize, frustrate, or inspire us. Music can teach us about other people, other ways of being, other perspectives, and other creative dimensions. Music can confront our ignorance and reveal other possibilities for seeing. In worship and our daily lives, I believe music can instruct us by demanding a diversification of palate. I cannot offer an objective musical “super-food”, and I cannot offer an objective musical “artificial sweetener”. I encourage you to think about what you are listening to and why and how you are listening to it. I also encourage you to think about what music you experience God with. Does the music only function to make you happy about God? Or to be on fire for God? Or to be emotionally connected with God? What about music that tells us a more complicated and far-reaching story? Music that challenges how we view God? Or music that promotes meditation or contemplation? Or music that teaches us how other cultures or groups of people experience God? What happens when we learn how to listen to these different types of songs in such a way where we can worship through them? I believe this is a musical dietary pyramid we as worshiping beings can work towards and find nourishment in. Aaron Schultz

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Sharing Our Stories Marissa Mroz My name is Marissa Mroz. I am originally from Chicago but moved to Peoria about 2 years ago. I am finishing a master’s degree currently through The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I also work for the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network which is a division of Trinity Services in Peoria. My passions in life include helping people with mental illness and developmental disabilities overcome the challenges they face in life, scuba diving, and traveling. I have been through some difficult times in my life, especially recently. For many years, I stopped going to church frequently and felt lost and afraid of the future. Then I began to come to UPC and the weight that was on me lifted. I feel exponentially better and now know that no matter what I am going through, God has not left me and I will always have someone to guide and protect me. I know now that the tough times I endured were all part of a plan and that they have led me to something better ultimately. I have since been doing better at work, at school, and in my love life where I recently have gotten engaged! I am currently participating in a Life Group here at UPC and the support I have been given has been invaluable. I had never met such friendly and inviting people at past churches I attended. I also recently volunteered to help with the Family Christmas Shop which gave me such joy by showing me that even though I don’t have a lot of money to donate or offer, I can give back in a meaningful way with my time and energy. The smiles on the faces of the family members were well worth the time spent and I hope to have the privilege to volunteer more often (Note: Marissa became a member on December 16, 2015.)

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News and Notes Tai Chi Donation Thank you to the Tai Chi group that meets at UPC four times a week. Beside all the food pantry donations, a check for $582.50 was recently donated. Dear Friends, We sincerely thank you for your donation to Peoria Rescue Ministries Ester House of Bibles and warm outer clothing. May the Lord Bless you. Jerry J. Trecek, Executive Director Dear Church Family, Thank you for the visits, cards, and prayers after my recent surgery. I felt God’s healing presence. Thanks, Donna Selling Thank you so much for the pretty balloon. It brightens up my room and makes it more festive. Thank you again. Bertha Mueller I was so pleased and surprised by the lovely poinsettia that Kim delivered here. It really is a bright spot for me. You all make me want to get well and get back to church. Thank you. Love, Mary Johnson Thank you for all the prayers, cards, visits, flowers and special Thanksgiving meal delivered by Pastor Patricia. Bill & Pegyy Hill Thank you so much for donating to our Critters on Wheels program. We are able to provide food to 125 pets because of community supporters like you. Becky, Neighborhood House Dear UPC, Thank you so much for your gift for the Foster Care Program at Children’s Home. Because of the tremendous generosity and support of special friends, like you, we are able to respond to that need! Matt George, President, Children’s Home A huge thank you goes to everyone involved with the Christmas luncheon for the homebound. The entire UPC Staff– Pastors Stephen & Patricia, Trish, Kirsten, Karen, Sabrina, Stephanie, and Aaron—greeted and waited on us. The Thursday morning Bible Study and the Ladies Night Out groups made delicious soups, salads, cheese trays, and desserts. Nick Nott drove the UPC Bus so that 5 members could attend. The festive Christmas balloon is yet another reminder of how much our church deeply cares about its members. How blessed we are to be a member of UPC. Jack & Pat Bensing

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Sharing Our Stories Rich & Judy Helm Rich and I both grew up in southern Illinois seven miles from each other and attended the same high school. Rich grew up with a tradition of church involvement. My parents were church supporters but not church goers. (My mother who was catholic was actually excommunicated when she married my father who was non-catholic. This didn’t endear them to organized religion.) My sister and I, however, were expected to regularly attended Sunday school and youth group at the nearby Methodist church where a dedicated youth leader made faith real to me. Rich and I married after I graduated from college. Church has always been a part of our lives, although we have sometimes felt uncomfortable with some of the rules of the churches we joined. While attending West Virginia University for our doctorates, I was the first woman to serve communion in that church. In 1980 we became Presbyterians because of the more egalitarian and democratic church structure. We both served as elders and have also served in various leadership roles including chairing the stewardship drive, teaching Sunday school, playing instruments, singing in choir, and participating in mission projects including the Yucatan Presbyterian Ministries in Mexico. We were supporters of a major property purchase and building drive. I began a preschool program and served on the committee for that program for many years, bringing Pam Scranton into the program and encouraging her development of the program at UPC. About three years ago, our current church decided to leave Presbyterian Church USA. This was very difficult for us as we had been part of that church since 1980. After much soul searching and discussion, we decided we wanted to be part of a church that was open and affirming, that would welcome and accept all people. We began searching for a new church.

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At UPC we found a welcoming attitude, intellectually stimulating sermons, and a preschool program that we already knew was outstanding. I was able to keep my commitment to children and families by joining the preschool committee. We have been very blessed with two wonderful daughters and three grandchildren who live in Brazil. United PC became a second home to them as our youngest grandchild, Gabriella, who was born in Brazil, was baptized this summer at UPC by Pastor Stephen. Rich enjoys continuing to play in Jericho Brass which has played at UPC and singing in the choir. Since he is retired, he has been able to devote time to the Properties Committee, which he will soon chair. I continue to write and provide consultation and training to schools and educational institutions nationally and internationally. I share the work of the outstanding UPC Discovery staff throughout the world. I am living my passion and am so grateful to be able to continue doing that. In gratitude for all we have received, we continue our financial commitment to the church, budgeting for our pledges and special gifts. We enjoy giving back in this way as we have been very blessed. There are still days that we miss our old church family and I think that will probably always be true, but at UPC we have found a new church home.

News and Notes Annual Reports Annual Reports to be included in the compiled report for the Annual Meeting on Friday, January 25 are due by Friday, January 9. Please send them electronically to in 12pt Calibri font to [email protected]. You can of course send them in earlier! Annual Meeting The Annual Meeting of the congregation of United Presbyterian Church will be Sunday, January 25 at 11:00am. The purpose of the meeting is to receive the annual report, act on recommended changes to the by-laws, and approve terms of call for the pastors.

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Church Life Life Groups This year, UPC began a new small group ministry called “Life Groups” with seven pilot groups. So far, the feedback has been excellent. Over eighty people have been meeting monthly with their Life Group to pray together, support one another, and gather for fun and discussion. We hope to expand our new Life Group ministry to more groups this Spring. In order to do that we need more Life Group leaders. Life Group leaders help organize the group and get it started, but are not responsible for organizing every gathering. Typically, Life Group members take turns hosting and planning events. If you are interested in being a Life Group leader please talk to Pastor Stephen. You can also talk to some of our current leaders: Dave and Colleen Rouzer, Mike and Linda Kelley, Debbie and Mark Hanson, Alicia and Megan McKeighan, Evan and Jenna Hague, and Alex and Christi Marshall. If you are are interested in being part of a Life Group, but not a leader, please talk to Pastor Stephen. You can read more about Life Groups on our church website.

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Family Bowling Night Mark your calendars now for Family Bowling Night Saturday January 24 @ the Christian Center! Come One! Come All! The fun begins at 6pm. Sign up in the Fellowship Hall or call the church office. Bunco Bunco will be January 9, 2015 @ 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Bring snacks if you want and a dollar for prizes. For more info contact Eunice @ 688-8458 or Betty @ 822-8500. Ladies Night Out Ladies Night Out will meet on January 15, 2015 @ 6:00 pm @ the Perkins on War Memorial Drive. RSVP to Eunice @ 6888458 or Betty @ 822-8500. There is NO Ruth Circle in January. Anna Circle When: Thursday, January 8, 2015 @ 6:00 PM Where: WeaverRidge Lesson: Chapter10, Bad Girls of the Bible Mission: Share the Warmth Blanket Ministry. Our next workday is January 24, 2015. Everyone is welcome. Fantasy Football Champions Congratulations to Mark Hanson and Matt Sadilek. Mark won the UPC Live Draft league. Matt won the UPC Online Draft League for the second year in a row. We had twenty teams participate in Fantasy Football this year. Sports Events Sports events are held every Sunday at 4:00 pm in the gym. Basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, etc. Come join the fun!

Local Lunch This month, the third Monday fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some of our staff and mission committee members will be at the MLK Luncheon at the Peoria Civic Center. The church purchased a table this year and a few spots are still available. If you would like to come please let Pastor Stephen know. It will be on a first come basis. We would love for more church members to join us at the luncheon. Tickets are available online or at the Civic Center.

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L-R Rick Tremper, Corrina Pieterse, and Mike Eakle

Please welcome our United Presbyterian Church November 2014 New Members. Yes, the faces are familiar. They have been worshipping with us for many Sundays. Rick was invited to UPC by his good friend and house mate Robert Tuttle. He is also good friends with Daniel Cronin and Daniel’s family Mike and Charlotte. Rick enjoys bowling and was very proud to report he has a 299 bowling score in his portfolio. A ‘source’ volunteered that Rick has a very “social” personality and would love to meet you! Corrina was referred to United Presbyterian by her neighbor. She enjoys walking, swimming, bird watching, reading and theatre. She also loves to sing and has already blessed us with her gift by joining our choir. Mike chose UPC after his wife, Carrie Eakle, invited him to her church. Mike is a teacher at Limestone High School and a sports enthusiast. He is already a member of a UPC Life Group and is willing to help out at church wherever he’s needed. Noted on his personal biography he is interested in learning about being a “Bus Driver/Greeter”. Great news we need you!!!!