December 2019/January 2020 News

Prospect United Methodist Church

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There’s a Beautiful God in the Neighborhood

As an ordained minister, Mister Rogers famously considered his work in television to be a ministry. He called the space between the TV set and the viewer “holy ground.” Perhaps you grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The red sweater, Daniel Tiger, and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe remind you of childhood. Perhaps his episodes were the only times you ever heard someone say, “There’s no person in the whole world like you. I like you just the way you are.”

Fred Rogers did not invent the concepts of love, forgiveness, acceptance and kindness. On the contrary, these were merely the lessons God had offered him the moment “Jesus moved into the neighborhood of Fred’s heart.”

As we get ready for Christmas here at Prospect, we’ll be celebrating that there’s a “Beautiful God in the Neighborhood.” Christmas is about Jesus leaving heaven and coming to Earth. Jesus, being fully man and yet fully God, moved into our world and allowed us to get a glimpse of Heaven. Just as Jesus impacted the world that He physically moved into, He asks us to do the same thing. The neighborhood changes when the Spirit of God encounters it. We have the opportunity to be a part of that on-going, Jesus moving-into-new-hearts-and-new-neighborhoods event.

Mister Rogers lived out an embodied Gospel, showing friendship and love to anyone He met. Every day, you have the opportunity to love your neighbor and live out Fred’s legacy of faith and friendship. More importantly, you and I as the people of Prospect have the opportunity to live out Jesus’ legacy of faith, forgiveness, and reconciling love. After all, that’s really what Christmas is all about.

I’m grateful, as always, to be with you on the Journey (especially in this magical season)!

<><, Pastor Steve

“The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.

We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory…”

John 1:14 (The Message)

*I’d certainly invite everyone to watch “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as part of their Thanksgiving weekend. The Pichaske crew hopes to go on Monday or Tuesday. We also hope to make reference to the movie during our Advent/Christmas sermon series.

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December 2019 and January 2020 calendars below!

You can also download the printable version by clicking on the link!

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Treasurer's Report

Now begins the busy time of year as the Holidays are almost here. Let us not forget the real reason for the season.

It has been a very busy month for the trustees as we had considerable damage due to a lightening strike. It has been very costly also, but we hope to have some of it covered by our insurance.

The finance committee has a new chairperson and that is Dani Justiv. We want to thank Jacob Bevill for all he has done for this committee and the church, and wish him well with his new job (and relocation).

As was mentioned in the last months newsletter our giving had decreased over the last six months or so, so please remember your pledge and pray about what you can do next year. In Proverbs 11:25 it says “The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” We thank you for what you have done and will do in 2020.

The turkey supper and silent auction were a big success. Thanks to all who helped in anyway and especially the chairpersons for those committees. It was just great seeing everyone working together for the church.

Our financial obligations have been met, and the conference apportionments are paid and up to date.

I wish all of you a Happy Holiday and a Great New Year.

God Bless, Bonnie Mankle, Treasurer


If you have not yet returned your 2020 Every Member Commitment Stewardship Campaign pledge sheet, we hope that you will be able to do so soon. If you have not received the 2020 Stewardship Campaign Binder (from your neighborhood group) or a pledge card in the mail, feel free to contact the church office. We will get pledge information (that includes both service opportunities and the opportunity to make a financial pledge to Prospect in 2020) to you.

End of Year Giving to Prospect UMC

As 2019 comes racing to a close, you may find yourself wanting to make an additional charitable contribution before the end of the tax year. If so, we hope that you will consider the church within such giving considerations. Special gifts above and beyond your regular contribution could be earmarked for the General Fund, our Building Maintenance Fund, Mortgage Reduction, the Youth Fund, or other special projects. Please feel free to contact Pastor Steve if you would like to discuss a special gift option. We are asking that all contributions to the church, that you want credited to your 2019 giving, be received at Prospect no later than Sunday, December 29th.

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50th Anniversary Celebration: Sunday, December 8th

In 1963, the church of Prospect Methodist Church was formed on Sunday May 22 as the congregations of Dunlap Methodist Church and Prospect Presbyterian Church voted and then met on 3rd Street between the two churches to join as one congregation. As the congregation grew and merged further with the Evangelical United Methodist Church to form Prospect United Methodist Church, the congregation realized they needed a larger church home.

Ground breaking for the new church was held in April 1968 and the first church service on Ash Street was held on December 7th 1969. On December 8th of this year it will be 50 years that we have been in our church home on Ash Street. In honor of the 50 years, a celebration is being planned that will combine the services with a brunch to follow.

Our Goal: Honor the past by focusing on the future (Deep and Wide)

Please join us on December 8th at 8:45 am as we honor the past by focusing on our future!

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If you would like to purchase a poinsettia to help decorate the church sanctuary during the Christmas season, sign-ups continue through December 1. Cost of the poinsettias will be $10/plant. Sign-Up Sheet will be available in the gathering area or you can email Dani with your information.


March to the Manger/Christmas Eve offering

This year’s March to the Manger is scheduled for Sunday, December 22nd during the 8:45 AM service. Each year, following our celebration in song, the congregation is given an opportunity to bring a special offering to the manger as a present for Christ and his work through the Missions Ministries/Partnerships of Prospect UMC. This offering, along with the entirety of the offering received during our 7:00 Christmas Eve service will go to support the missions budget of the church (i.e. We do not keep any of these special offerings for our own budget needs. We give them away as a means of reminding ourselves that“Christmas is not our birthday.”).

This year’s missions budget has been approved at $13,300. Of course, realizing the

vision of this budget is fully dependent upon your generosity. As you pray about your gift to the manger & Christmas Eve offering, you might consider a contribution that is equal in value to the most expensive gift you plan to purchase this Christmas or you might consider offering a tithe (10%) of your entire Christmas present budget.

Either way, let us all work together to ensure that Jesus remains at the center of our Christmas focus. Thank you for your gift to the Christ child… a gift that will spread Christmas love to those in need!


Join us at 7:00 pm on December 24th for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service as we celebrate the birth of King Jesus!

This service will include our bell and vocal choirs and the proclaiming of the Gospel Story. Join us for communion, along with our tradition of singing Silent Night as candlelight fills the sanctuary.


We will be de-decorating the church on Sunday, January 5th, 2020. Early service helpers will be packing up the Fellowship Hall and Gathering Area following the 8:45 service. Second service helpers will be packing up the Sanctuary and any other spots still needing de-decorated following the 10:45 service. All are invited to stay and help.

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Thank you for sharing your time and treasure to provide Christmas gifts for the children at Chaddock Children’s Home in Quincy, IL. Together, we made a difference in the lives of 42 children!

Your generous and thoughtful actions represent God’s unconditional love of these children you don’t even know. Our whole Prospect United Methodist Church family is blessed by working together and sharing this giving challenge.

Thanks, Merry Christmas, good health and abundant blessings in the New Year from your Chaddock ambassadors and many helpers!

Please return the unwrapped gifts to PUMC no later than Sunday, December 1st. You can also drop your items off early during week day office hours in the outer office CLEARLY marked. Like last year, from the suggestion of Chaddock personnel, it is being requested that the unwrapped gifts be put into a duffle bag if possible. This provides the resident with a “suitcase” for his or her belongings when leaving Chaddock.




Turn on the news or drive around the outskirts of your town and you will find what Jesus called “the least of these.” Those living in the margins of society, struggling to survive. Over and over Jesus served people like this, embracing them. And that’s what we want to model as the people of The United Methodist Church. To continue the ministry of Jesus we established Human Relations Day as a Special Sunday that calls all of our churches to participate in helping all God’s children to realize their potential.

Your support this ministry helps us to continue nurturing at-risk youth, strengthening communities’ self-improvement efforts and advocating for the oppressed.


The Holiday Food Drive was a success! Along with donations from the Dunlap American Legion Auxiliary, Dunlap Valley Middle School and the Cub Scouts; the pantry shelves are well stocked heading into winter. Thank you for your continued support. Watch for our “weekly needs” list in the bulletin and blast through the winter/spring. We wish you a blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas!

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Join us on Saturday, December 7th from 9:30-1:30 @ Peoria First UMC.

Loaves and Fish is a weekly feeding ministry providing a free hot meal, food pantry, worship service, educational assistance, clothing room & medical clinic to those in need each Saturday. Loaves & Fish serves from 250 - 375 guests weekly.

Click the link below for more info!


We have been blessed with the opportunity to again offer holiday food baskets with ham, perishables and food staples for the holidays.

We will be handing out 25 Holiday Baskets this year. We will pack boxes after the first service on Sunday, Dec. 15 and hand them out during regular pantry hours Tue, Dec. 17 & Thur, Dec. 19. Anyone interested in helping, please let Gloria or Nancy know.

If your team, small group or family would like to purchase an item for our baskets (ie: 27 cartons of eggs, 27 gallons of milk, ect.) contact the church office.


We continue to collect snack items for students at Dunlap Grade School. All snacks must be individually packaged and nut free. This month, we will be collecting breakfast bars and goldfish. You can drop off your donations to the church office and we will deliver the items once a month.

South Side Mission Christmas Dinner Preparations

South Side Mission will be delivering another Christmas blessing to the residents of Peoria's 61603 area code at Christmas. South Side Mission, "The Lighthouse on Laramie," is preparing 3500 Christmas meals for residents of the neighborhood. And they could use our help!

Volunteers are needed to help prepare/assemble meals on Monday, December 23rd and delivering meals on Christmas morning. There are many time slots and shifts available.

To volunteer, follow the link below or you can call 309-676-4604.

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New Members and Baptism

We know how difficult it is to get everyone together on the same Sunday, so are excited to announce that we will work to welcome new members/schedule baptisms based on the best options for your family schedules. Please contact Pastor Steve (or the church office) if you are interested in learning more about membership and/or baptism (for yourself or your children).


Miss a Sunday?!

No problem! Our Sunday sermons are now posted on-line! You can find them on our website and Facebook page!

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Choir has been happy and blessed to start the 2019-2020 season! However, we’re MISSING MANY VOICES!! We do need more choir members. We only have ensembles, as you've noticed. If you can't make it to Wednesday practices at 7:00 PM, come join us at 8:15 on Sunday mornings. We will practice each Sunday's song at that time. Send Carla Hogan an email, or text, or call for more info!


Bells/Chimes practice started November 20th to play through the Advent season.

Please join us! As a member of the choir once said, "Not only is it fun, but it's good exercise."

525 NEWS

How did the contemporary service move me closer to Christ?

I need to be honest at first in that I was not a supporter of the 525 service when it was introduced. I was worried about how the change would change the numbers of the church, the fellowship, the music, etc. I was challenged (repeatedly) by a sister in Christ to give the 525 service a chance. She kept telling me how much she felt filled with the Holy Spirit. I was skeptical because honestly the Holy Spirit made me uncomfortable. But I was wrong, the spirit introduced to me in the 525 has been a wonderful gift. I was moved to tears of joy. I saw, in a way I have never seen before, the love that the Lord has for me. The intimacy of the group and the power of a spirit filled room reminded me that Christ walks with me every step I take. In turn, making me more intentional with my prayers and my relationship with God. While I still enjoy the traditional service, I find myself craving the intensity of Spirit that I felt at the 525 service. I highly encourage each of you to step outside your spiritual comfort zone and attend a 525 service. I pray that you will be able to see and feel the love of Prospect’s 525 service.

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Our kids aren’t (or shouldn’t be) the only ones still in school. As a church that wants to help you grow deep in Jesus so that we can reach wide for Jesus, we believe that Bible study and small groups are essential for our individual and corporate lives. You can join at any time, there is always room for you!

ALL-CHURCH LUNCHEON: Meets on the last Tuesday of the month at Noon; potluck, open invitation

CAMILLA SMALL GROUP, Wednesday evenings @ 7:00 PM - Mary Pietreniak's house, women's group, open invitation. We will be reading the book One Minute After You Die by: Erwin Lutzer

DEEPER STILL 10:00 Sunday mornings - Conference room, open invitation

BIBLE STUDIES: Breakfast with Jesus

Tuesday mornings from 8:30-9:30, open invitation (more details below)

(Feel free to contact the church if you're interested in starting/hosting a group at another time and/or location.)

Breakfast with Jesus

Our Tuesday morning group meets at 8:30 am in the church’s conference room. Contact the church office if you would like more information about either group, or would like to talk to Pastor Steve about forming your own midweek or Sunday morning small group for intentional Bible study, Christian discipleship and fellowship!


Methodist Men will meet again on Monday, December 2nd and January 6th at 6:00pm. Please consider joining us for our meetings and events. All are welcome-young and old!!! Enjoy the good food & company! If there are questions, let Randy Juskiv know @


Mary Martha will meet on Monday, February 24th at 7:00pm!

Please consider joining us this fall! We give to ministries that include Crittenten, Lessie Bates Neighborhood House East St. Louis, Cunningham Children's home, Silent Auction, Chaddock Christmas Child, 100% of our funds are given to mission. We welcome all ladies to join us!


Prospect book discussion group is on winter break.

Our first gathering in 2020 will be 6:30 Thursday, March 19. We will discuss the Peoria Reads book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Our May book (date to be determined) is Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.

Questions? Contact Nancy Varness at 309-231-3263

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In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul wrote, “We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did.

The same is true for us today: Relationships take time, and the process of nurturing isn’t fully accomplished with one email, text, or even a phone call. It’s done with consistent, regular personal contact and follow-up.

And it takes plenty of people to carry out such a care ministry in the context of the local church.

This is why church leaders can’t do it all—and for that matter, neither can a select few volunteers. Instead, it takes the whole church to care for the whole church.

Even more, an effective care ministry goes together with discipleship. When members effectively care for one another, the pastoral staff can focus on the ministry of preaching and teaching the Word.

Second, a care ministry that actively involves members allows them to do the work of service that they are called to do (Ephesians 4:12). Therefore, it’s nothing but positive when a large part of the church is involved.

Please join us Sunday January 26, 2020 in between services to learn more on how you can care for your church here at PUMC.

Thank you & may you have a magical & blessed Christmas season

- Camilla & Mary Pietreniak Co-leaders Congregational Care


We would just like to thank everyone who signs up to help with Soul Cafe, whether it be bringing treats/drinks or serving it is VERY appreciated. Many have truly been enjoying the fellowship in between the services!


Please see Mary Pietreniak if you are interested in serving or receiving home communion.

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Hello everyone, it’s getting to the most wonderful time of the year, and I hope we can have some of the most wonderful times at Prospect. I see so much untapped potential in Dunlap and really the Peoria area as a whole, and to make anything work I need some numbers. I’m very happy to have the kids I have, in the last month we’ve been covering ‘Sunday School answers’ and how they mean so much more than just a disengaged reply. It’s gone well- but more than five kids could use these fun nuggets of info. I ask anyone that reads the newsletter to pray for a youth to come to church and stick around for the 10 o’clock discipleship hour. Whether you pray for them to have the internal drive to come, or for YOU to take action and plug them in! Whatever that looks like, thank you and may God bless you.

Upcoming events!

Saturday, December 7th, I plan to take a group to Loaves and Fish at Peoria FUMC. I’m not calling specifically youth, this is anyone that wants to go! I think serving together could also happen several times a year, if people prove their interest.

Weekly breakfast for students isn’t set in motion yet, but I’d really love for it to take off. I think building relationships with kids over a morning meal before school would be awesome. If anyone thinks they can contribute in anyway, please get ahold of me!

It’s a ways off, but confirmation is coming up, and I’m pumped for it. Learning about the church you’re apart of and the God the church worships shouldn’t be taken lightly, and I look forward to that time next spring.

Here is my contact info!

Aaron Hisey

(309) 338-7042

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We will continue with our new Sunday School class for our kids 3 years old – first grade in the lower level from 10:00 – 10:45. The class will meet on the following dates:

Sunday, December 1

Sunday, December 15


Everyone is invited to our "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" party on Sunday, December 22 during the Sunday School time. We will have yummy snacks, fun crafts, and a great time celebrating the birth of Jesus.


Mark your calendars! All are invited to join us for a Family Movie Night at 6:00 p.m on January 24th. We welcome kiddos from kindergarten-12th grade and their families! Join us for dinner, drinks, popcorn and a movie.


The Purple Panda staff is busily preparing for the second half of the school year. We are so thrilled with the progress our children are making at preschool. It’s so rewarding to watch them grow and change as they are learning. Christmas songs and crafts are on our agenda for December! Our preschool students will be having their Christmas music program on Thursday, December 12 at 6:45 pm in the sanctuary with refreshments afterwards. Holiday parties will be a fun way for our students to celebrate with their classmates before our break which will be December 20-January 5. Our morning Pre-K class is currently full but we have a couple of openings in our afternoon Pre-K class. Our Panda 3’s class has some openings in our 3 day (Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday) class. 3 year old students may begin preschool as soon as they have had their 3rd birthday and are completely potty trained. Registration for preschool for the 2020-21 school year will begin in February.

If you are interested in enrollment, please contact me through Dani in the Church office at 243-7300 or E-mail me at

After Care is also is full swing and we have a great group of kiddos! Registration remains open for full time, part time and drop-in students. Applications for new/returning students for the 2019-2020 school year are available in the church office. Contact Dani if you would like to register your child for after care!

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Right Now Ministry (online small group and devotional resources)

Prospect subscribes to the RightNowMinistry (“the Netflix of Christian Bible study”) resource, which provides all of our members with access to 1000’s of video led curriculums including offerings specifically geared towards books of the Bible, Parenting, Marriage, Single Living, Men, Women, Teens, Children, Leadership and Finances from a Christian perspective, and more.

Contact Pastor Steve if you do not have access to the site (or have forgotten your log-in).

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Prospect UMC

Lifting Up Christ; Looking In to meet one another’s spiritual and physical needs; Reaching Out to love and serve others.
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