February 2020 Newsletter

Prospect United Methodist Church

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StrengthsFinder and My “Positivity” Rating

Several months ago, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference had all of its pastors take a StrengthsFinder survey to help identify our natural gifts and leadership tendencies. I, like many of our conference pastors, had taken the StrengthsFinder survey before but found it helpful to go through the process once again. My biggest surprise came with regard to changes at the top of my list. Several of my relative “strengths” stayed in close proximity to when I had last taken the survey in 2012(?), but “Positivity” had dropped out of my top 5.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. As one who tends to believe that our attitudes and personalities can be shaped by our surroundings, I have begun to realize the effect that “negativity” can have on even the world’s most positive people.

We, as 21st century/American/Dunlapian people have MUCH to be positive about! We are living in a time and place where our needs are being met to an unprecedented degree. Yet the news we seem to focus more on what’s wrong than what’s right. Our nation’s political climate gives us a negative vibe. Fighting with an insurance company over needed treatment directs our focus to what’s wrong with healthcare. Our neighbor’s social media rant rubs us the wrong way. The Cubs not doing anything meaningful in the offseason adds to our frustration. And the list goes on…

Before long…we aren’t as “positive” as we used to be. And it shows!

As my fellow pastor, Shane Bishop, has written, “If everything need to go ‘your way’ for you to be happy, you will never be happy. And when you are happy, you won’t be happy for very long. Let’s face it, we live in a fallen world, control is an illusion and things are sometimes really hard. People do dumb (things), bad stuff happen, relationships get cross threaded and folks seldom do what you want them to do. The key to happiness is to lay aside immature and unrealistic aspirations for your life and simple learn to love, enjoy and find meaning in what is in front of you.”

And what is the most positive thing we have in our lives, Prospect?


As we are journeying through the book of Mark on Sunday mornings, I’m leaning into the positive touch He brings to every encounter recorded in this reMARKable telling of Jesus’ life and ministry.

Happy people focus on what they have. Unhappy people obsess about what they don’t have. Christians need to focus on who they have in their lives…because we have Jesus: the Word with Flesh, creation’s Savior, our Redeemer, the Healer of brokenness, the perfect and righteous King, and Friend of the fallen/disappointed.

And that alone should make us the most positive people in the world.

As you consider your relationship with Jesus, and consider what you would tell a friend or neighbor who asks you about Prospect, tell them about the wonderful things going on in the life of our church.

Are there areas where we need to refocus and reenergize ourselves? Certainly…and I’m grateful for the efforts of our Vision Team that’s leading us in that direction. But let’s also celebrate the excellent worship (in 2 distinct and wonderful styles), a food pantry that serves around 20 families each month, Bible study classes where children, youth and adults are learning about the amazing God we know in Jesus, a beautiful facility that not only houses our church ministries but also serves as a host site for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and aftercare program, blood drives and much more.

And beyond that…let’s find our Positivity in the fact that we get to meet Jesus every time we walk through the doors of Prospect…and the fact that our Jesus goes with us every time we head back out into the world to do life in his name.

So be positive today!

Count your blessings!

Lean into what is beautiful, good and life-giving.

Lean into Jesus!

There simply is no downside…

<><, Pastor Steve

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February 2020 calendar below!

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

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Treasurer's Report

It is snowing out today so I guess Winter really is here, although after the last month I think we all know that.

Monday night the finance committee made the decision to pay the minimum on the mortgage for the church as the giving for the past six months has been lower than the year before I want to assure those of you that give for the building fund, ALL of that money will be paid toward the mortgage. This will be discussed again in three months to determine if we continue or pay more as funds are available.

It is that time of year when we have our annual audit done and submitted to the District Office and Nicole Bjerke has agreed to do that. Thank you Nicole.

It is also time to submit our year end financials to the Conference so they can determine 2021 Conference Apportionments. It is a busy time of year in the office.

Bob Applen will be filling in for me for the month of February which I am grateful as he knows the system. Thanks Bob.

We have collected $5900.00 for the March to Manger and Christmas Eve service and this will go toward the Mission Team budget along with the Parade of Palms.

You all have a good winter, stay warm and safe.

God Bless, Bonnie Mankle, Treasurer

Endowment Committee

Prospect’s Endowment Funds had a historically good investment year in 2019. Our fund value now stands at more than $170,000, providing an ongoing source of “special project” and charitable giving funds for our congregation. Every year, a portion of the growth from these Endowment Funds are made available for distribution. Last year, the fund helped purchase new blinds in the choir room and new microphones/receivers for the sanctuary. The “tithe” portion of our funds has helped provide generous support to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference’s “Our Conference, Our Kids” campaign, Chaddock Children’s Home and the Dunlap-Prospect Food Pantry. This year, more than $12,000 will be available to fund ministry needs that go beyond what our operating budget is able to cover.

With every $500 contributed to the Endowment Fund, a leaf may be requested for our “Living Gifts” tree that is located in the gathering area. You might want to contribute towards a leaf in honor of Prospect’s 50th anniversary of ministry on Ash Street, an anniversary within your family, the birth of a new family member, or to honor a loved one. If you would like to contribute to Prospect’s legacy-enabling Endowment Fund, simply contact a member of the committee or Pastor Steve.

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Prospect will celebrate Scout Sunday on February 2nd. We will welcome the kids and adult leaders of our host pack to help lead us in worship, while celebrating the work of Scouting ministries and their commitment to help form young men and women who are dedicated to service to God and country.

All of our Scouts, both young and old, are invited to display their scouting pride on February 2nd.


Mark your calendars for our annual fundraising brunch on Sunday, February 2nd between services. The Men’s Club will be serving pancakes, sausage and fruit cups with a free-will offering.


Congregational Care will be sending Valentine's Day Remembrance Boxes for our college students and military personnel. Recipients do not need to be associated with PUMC, this is open to everyone! The Valentine's table will be in the Gathering Area January 26th-February 9th. If you would like to donate items, please bring pre-packaged goodies: crackers, candy, peanuts, gum, mints, microwave popcorn, granola bars....the list goes on! Labels will be provided for names/addresses of those you wish to receive boxes. There will also be a box available for monetary donations to go towards postage to mail the packages.


Sunday, February 9th from 2:00-5:00 at Crossroads UMC

The "time to build up" has arrived: It is the 2020 Illinois River District Equipping Event! The event is all about building up this year---every aspect of being connected with the United Methodist Church. From the Key Note speaker, Dr. Safiyah Fosua, to being spiritually lifted up by The Heritage Ensemble, to being engaged by leaders in the breakout sessions, you and your leaders will discover how to see all the people God is calling to be a part of the Kingdom.

If you are currently in a leadership position within the church, or plan to be in the near future, we ask that you join Pastor Steve for this event.


Make plans to join us for our traditional Ash Wednesday service on the evening of February 26th at 6:30.

This service, complete with the imposition of ashes, marks the start of our 40-day journey through the season of Lent (culminating with Easter Sunday’s services of Resurrection!).

Our Love Feast on this Ash Wednesday will be conducted in a similar manner to those celebrations in the early Methodist movement. We will gather around tables and feast on hot tea and hot cross buns.

Childcare will be available. See you there!

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Plans are in the works for Prospect’s Annual Chicken Noodle Dinner! Mark your calendars for Sunday March 8th following ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE at 9:45!

This early lunch is a free-will offering with proceeds going to help support the congregational operating budget and missions budget.


One of the greatest gifts you can give doesn’t cost a thing.

Central Illinois Community Blood Center

Prospect United Methodist Fellowship Hall

Saturday, March 14

8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Sign up below. Walk-ins welcome!

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The Adult Mission Trip team is headed back to the Chaddock Children's Home in Quincy, IL the week of Sunday, July 26th-Friday July 31st. All are welcome to join us! Come for the entire week or for a couple days. There are jobs for all talents-from yard work to office help! If interested, see Perry Camp, Vicky Brown, or contact the office and we will get you connected!

*The Chaddock Mission Trip Brunch Fundraiser is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 28th, following ONE COMBINED worship service. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us!



“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.” -Mt. 25:35-36


When You Give You Equip Christ’s Body to Serve in His Name. That’s because your generous giving to UMCOR is what allows UMCOR to act as the arms and legs of Christ’s church, moving toward the most vulnerable in their darkest days. Convinced that all people have God-given worth and dignity—without regard to race, religion or gender—together we are assisting those impacted by crisis or chronic need.

UMCOR will be able to offer aid in Jesus’ name to those who suffer because United Methodists give through UMCOR. In fact, it’s your generous giving that allows us to respond when disaster strikes.

Click the link below to learn more!


PANTRY HELP NEEDED: We are looking to recruit some additional help in the food pantry. We are in need of volunteers to help with shopping, as well as helping Gloria weekly. The Pantry runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11:00am. Please let the office know if you would be interested in learning more!

ITEMS IN NEED: Ketchup, mustard, beef soups, clam chowder, ramen noodles (chicken and beef), carrots & mushrooms.


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.
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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 under the "videos" tab!

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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, February 3rd at 6:00pm, a light meal will be provided. Thanks to Steve and Randy for a great meal last month. Please consider joining us for our meetings and events. All are welcome-young and old!!! Enjoy the good food & company! Thank you, in advance, to all who helped with the pancake and sausage breakfast.


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.

In this book, Thomas explores the world of Starr Carter, a teenage black girl, who lives in a poor, urban, predominantly black neighborhood and attends an elite, mostly white suburban prep school. She is drawn into issues of racism, police brutality, and racism after witnessing a white police officer shoot and kill her black friend. The repercussions of this violence spiral into national controversy.

As part of this year’s Peoria Reads, the book and the issues it raises will be considered at a number of community gatherings and activities. Those will be posted on the Peoria Reads 2020 website and advertised in the newspaper and library publications.

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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Congregational Care will be sending Valentine's Day Remembrance Boxes for our college students and military personnel. Recipients do not need to be associated with PUMC, this is open to everyone! The Valentine's table will be in the Gathering Area January 26th-February 9th. If you would like to donate items, please bring pre-packaged goodies: crackers, candy, peanuts, gum, mints, microwave popcorn, granola bars....the list goes on! Labels will be provided for names/addresses of those you wish to receive boxes. There will also be a box available for monetary donations to go towards postage to mail the packages.


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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Glenn Oertley







Family of Chris Miller

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In the last two months we've made 3 trips to Loaves and Fish at Peoria First Church, and I must say good job! I believe there are many more good works the Lord will provide for us to do, and with the willingness I've seen to do it, we'll keep going strong.

I have asked the youth what they want, and they told me the want to leave in thought. they want to be challenged. With hearts and minds that open, I've been encouraged to ask more questions and give less answers. Currently we're analyzing our purpose on Earth, that our time is limited, and how we should spend our limited time to please God before our eternal time for him. I always want our time together to be discussion filled, not like a classroom setting. They get enough of that.

I'm still looking to meet new kids! if you know a student that needs the Lord, maybe they're not connected to Prospect or they've drifted off, reach out to them! Let them know this is a safe, fun place. I've been taking students to coffee or lunch with no mention of Jesus. We just have fun and get to know one another, and that's what I'd love to keep doing as we near closer to a fuller program of students.

Keep praying, keep inviting. God bless.

Aaron Hisey

(309) 338-7042


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We had a great turnout and a fabulous time at Movie Night. Everyone enjoyed pizza, chips, popcorn, cookies and Toy Story 4. Thanks to Pastor Steve for getting the movie all set up and to Miss Marti, Corey, Lainey, and Ella for helping.

First United Methodist Church will host an exciting children’s event on Saturday, March 7 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.. The Light Kids Conference is a one-day event designed for children in grades 1 – 5. The purpose of the Light Kids Conference is to get kids excited about the faith and the walk with Jesus. Early registration cost is $23.00 per child if payment is postmarked by February 22. Please contact Pat for more details. Information will be available at the welcome center desk.

Our toddlers – 1st grade class is now meeting every Sunday under the leadership of Miss Marti. Miss Pat will continue to teach the 2nd – 5th graders.

Some of our older kids have started practicing ringing bells. We hope to perform a couple of numbers around Easter. The kids asked if they could play the big gold bells. I think we will start with the smaller kid-friendly bells.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pat.


Purple Panda 3's and Pre-K had a special visitor from the Dunlap Library this past month. Miss Amy read some fun winter stories. We are excited to keep this going as a new monthly activity.

Registration for preschool for the 2020-21 school year has begun for Pre-K and 3 year old Pre-School. 3 year old students may begin preschool as soon as they have had their 3rd birthday and are completely potty trained.

If you are interested in enrollment, please contact me through Dani in the Church office at 243-7300 or E-mail me at pollard724@comcast.net.

After Care is going well 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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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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