The Online Magazine of First United Methodist Church


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A publication of Peoria First United Methodist Church

167 DAYS

What returning to on-site services meant for one of our worshippers

By Mindy LaHood
The sanctuary at First United Methodist Church has been and will always be a special place for me.  I love the beauty of the stained glass, the majesty of the cross, and the overwhelming peace and presence of God I feel when I’m there.  I missed being in that space for worship the past 23 Sundays.

On August 23rd, as I sat on the outside edge of the last pew in the balcony -- socially distanced from the one other person worshiping from the balcony that morning -- I felt a wide range of emotions.  It had been 167 days since we last worshiped together in the sanctuary.  And, while I completely understood why we had to stop meeting together in person, it didn’t make that time apart any easier.  
On the cover
Dan Philips, Farrell Davies, Kim Philips, and Diane Broe are captured here in a moment of worship during a recent outdoor service.
Photo by Greg Fish
Mindy's view from our return to on-site worship on August 23.
Photo by Mindy LaHood


By the Rev. Dr. Tim Ozment
What does God require of you if you want to be a healthy disciple?

That’s a question that has been asked for a long time.  In the Old Testament Micah gives this response: 
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of  you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Part of Micah’s answer is that we need to walk with God. I take that to mean we need to love God, to walk step-by-step with God, and be so close to God that we are always in God’s protective shadow. The other half, though, has to do with how we treat one another. To act justly and to love mercy are relational words that describe how we treat others.

Race & Culture, part two

The Acceptable Identity

By the Rev. Tanya Edwards-Evans
Have you ever taken the time to understand the plight or the lifestyle of people of color?

It was out of a need for survival that blacks, native Americans, and those who are called Gypsies, and others, have mastered the art of assimilation and acculturation. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about, in the framework of our current climate of anti-racism, and in support of people who have different skin color.

In the Storm

By the Rev. Adrian Garcia
Crisis, uncertainty, and frustration are some of the things this pandemic has brought into our lives.

It feels like the protagonists of a Hollywood movie. We hoped it would be over in a couple of weeks, but it has stretched on for months. The daily information provided by our mayor, the governor, and the president, brings us so much uncertainty. This has turned into anxiety, fear, and panic. Food store shelves are empty, and there are no cleaning products, toilet paper, etc.


By Christiana Koeppel
...Speaking as a millennial who engages with Gen Z... I am uneasy about what the “new” new means for my family, friends, and even more, for my youth... I know Gen Z is strong, but I also know they miss community, they miss their friends, they miss seeing people in person. I invite you to pray with me... 

We Do the Walk of Prayer

A group of parishioners and pastors met in early August to walk through Peoria and pray.   Several groups walked in different areas, returning to the church parking lot at the end to share experiences and close in prayer.  They will also be meeting the first Saturday of each month at 5 PM in the church parking lot to pray for repentance, resurgence, and a reawakening to the power and presence of the God.  All are invited to join in as they strive to reclaim our city, churches, and people for Christ. You may contact Lily Garcia, Sandy Carver, Melinda Huisenga, or Mary Walters with any questions.

Fore-Gone Conclusion

The 2020 Fore the Lord Golf Scramble has been canceled. Refunds are being offered to any who have already paid the fee.

Bus Stop, Wet Day, She's There

Several years ago, CityLink obtained a federal grant that allowed a number of shelters for bus stops to be erected.  Although the Hamilton bus stop adjacent to our parking lot (across the street from the Dream Center) was selected as a shelter site, funding was not available to fill all site requests.  Each site cost was in excess of $25,000.   A not-for-profit group of volunteers recently raised money to build the structure in partnership with CityLink.  Happily, our location was selected, and building will soon commence.  The shelter will protect not only the Dream Center participants, but also our own Loaves & Fish volunteers and guests.  Also, this site is gifted for our use at no cost to the church. Future cleaning and maintenance costs will be covered by CityLink.  We believe this shelter will make access easier for a number of FUMC members and guests.

What To Expect As On-Site Worship Resumes

On-site worship services have resumed.

Though we are under a number of mandated restrictions, we are moving forward with worship services in the church building. We are also continuing to serve those who cannot yet attend with online broadcasts available on our website, Facebook, and YouTube.

We are offering traditional morning worship services in the sanctuary at 8:30 and 11, and a combined Renew/Renuevo contemporary service in the worship center at 9:45.

In order to comply with current limits on attendance, we are asking that you register in advance. You’ll find the registration link on the homepage of our website just below the welcome video. Or, you may call our church office at 673-3641, Monday through Friday, from 9 AM until noon. If necessary, you may leave a message and someone will return your call to verify your reservation.

Mobility challenged parking will be in the small parking lot at the corner of Perry Avenue and Main Street. Others may park in the lot across from the church.

Please wear a mask throughout the morning and remain socially distanced.

Enter through the new glass doors on Perry Avenue. All other entryways will be unavailable. Church staff will be checking temperatures in the entryway. If you do not feel well, please remain at home and worship online.

Check-in will happen in the Gathering Space. After check-in, make your way to either the Sanctuary via the Narthex, or the Worship Center via the Gathering Space doors. Coffee and continental breakfast will not be available.

Nursery, childcare, children’s church, children’s choir and Sunday School have all been suspended at this time. We will regularly evaluate restarting these ministries in person.

Offering plates/baskets will be available following the worship services at the exit doors.

At the end of the service, worshipers will be released row by row and asked to exit the building. Those worshiping in the Sanctuary will be asked to exit the building through the wooden doors in the Narthex, or at the elevator by the Worship Center if needed.

Restrooms will be open and cleaned regularly throughout the morning.


By Kevin & Julie Nelson
The coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on churches and ministries throughout the world.  Perhaps none have been impacted as severely as those who serve in Honduras (a country in Central America).  

Donations Help Liberia

In last month’s Herald, we shared a letter about the dire situation in Liberia. Our Missions Team has agreed to send $3,110 for the purchase of rice and other vital foods.

Community Minsitries

Who You Gonna Call? Covid Busters!

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. 

You Can Book It!

It’s been several months since the onset of COVID-19, and you might be uncertain of the prudence of venturing out of our homes. Beginning in September, the librarian will have special delivery weeks where she will come to your home to deliver books. Watch for these special delivery weeks in eHighlights. 

Learning to Pray

Recently, Pastor Tanya Edwards-Evans asked for responses to the question, “What has been your greatest experience with prayer?” Click below for two of the replies she received:

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First United Methodist Church of Peoria

Greg Fish

Directing Pastor and Contributor
Rev. Dr. Timothy Ozment
Associate Pastors and Contributors
Adrian Garcia
Tanya Edwards-Evans
Miguel Rios

Copy Editing
Mindy LaHood
Kara Bushong
Sandy Carver
Douglas Grogan
Christina Koeppel
Mindy LaHood
Julie Nelson
Kevin Nelson
Dan Philips
Deadlines: Articles to be considered for publication in The Herald must be submitted to Greg Fish at by 10 AM on the tenth day of the month preceding issue date. In the subject line of your email submission, type, "HERALD." All submissions are subject to editing and style standards, and their use is solely at the discretion of the editor. Picture submissions are encouraged to accompany your submission. Focus on individuals and smaller numbers of people who help tell the story.