By Dan Philips
Changes in our lives and routines, on the other hand, are often tough to swallow, especially if the change is disruptive and unwanted.

The COVID pandemic has been the driving force of worldwide change in everyone's daily lives and routines. This pandemic does not care if you live in the Amazon Rainforest; in Christchurch, New Zealand; Ganta, Liberia; or in the Peoria area. We are all affected by this; and like it or not, we have to find ways to deal with it.

Our Community Ministries have been affected too, and we are doing our best to adapt to the latest health and safety guidelines in order to remain safe, and to be able to continue to show God's love to our neighbors in need.

Loaves & Fish
We changed this ministry to operate out of the front of the church on a to-go basis only in early Spring. This has worked out well, and we now serve from 10 AM to 1 PM, each Saturday, distributing an average of about 125 bags of groceries and lunches each week. We also have hygiene bags, cloth face masks, fresh fruit, produce, and dairy available each week. Our Medical Clinic is planning to offer limited blood pressure and blood sugar checks twice a month beginning in September, and we are looking forward to being able to help our neighbors in need with this important medical monitoring.

Each week, Heart of Illinois Harvest brings us 20-30 boxes of lunches. These were extra school lunches from District 150 that were not otherwise distributed. These form the basis of the lunches that we give out each week. We appreciate the cooperation with Heart of Illinois Harvest, Midwest Food Banks, and the Peoria Area food bank. Together we are able to have an effect on hunger in our community.

This ministry had to suspend services from March to June due to the church offices closing. During that time, thankfully, Citylink began offering free bus service to all (that wear face masks), which took care of the need for bus passes. Additionally, the DMV was closed during much of this time so people couldn't get an ID. The DMV has since reopened; and in July, we began to offer assistance twice a month during Loaves & Fish. We’re helping folks get ID's and other necessary documents that help them get jobs, apartments, and other needed services. This is also done on a to-go basis with our neighbors safely socially distanced from volunteers.

Neutral Ground
This ministry suspended services to those affected by AIDS/HIV from March through mid-summer, and only recently have we been able to get back to providing the much needed personal hygiene and cleaning supplies to patients in the program. Distribution of the supplies now occurs off-site, and Positive Health Solutions (PHS) comes by each week to pick up the bags to distribute to clients. We do miss being able to meet with and pray for our guests and friends in person, but it is necessary to respect the medical conditions of those we serve and those that serve. Donations are still being accepted and can be dropped off at the church Monday through Thursday from 9:30 AM to 4 PM, and Friday from 9:30 AM to noon.

Please call the custodian when you arrive at the church (the phone number is outside the doors) and they will assist you.

Lincoln K8 Buddy Ministry and Fine Arts Ministries
In last month's Herald, we said that we were waiting on a final word from District 150 as to how these ministries could operate under the hybrid schooling model. This proposed teaching model has been changed recently, and now all teaching through December will be virtual with no students in the school. We are working to see how we can still be in relationship with our Lincoln K8 family, and will continue to let you know as things develop.

Backpack Buddies
In a typical year, the Backpack Buddies Ministry would deliver 2-300 bags of nourishment and love each week of the school year in order to provide students with food to help them get through the weekends. Our devoted volunteers have worked all summer to provide those students with bags each week ever since the school year ended. Our plan is to continue to do that without interruption and appreciate all that have helped to make this possible.

Police Prayer Team
This team, led by lay leaders Dick and Twila Moore, lift up our local Peoria Police Officers, praying for each officer by name daily, and sending them words of encouragement throughout the year. We are fortunate to have a good local police force, and know they need and appreciate our prayers for their service and safety.