Rev. Dr. Jennifer Little

Each morning I have a routine of reading scripture, chanting the Psalm for the week and doing some spiritual reading—I try to do it every day, but I admit I get busy and forget. And there are even times I should do in that regard (I am very human, after all).

The daily “office” (set of prayers and readings) I do come from a book my pastor gave me when he knew I was considering going into the ministry. I have used it ever since. It is like an old friend: no matter what, I find new things even after reading it all these years.

This morning, that newness happened again. The Epistle reading for this Thursday in Proper 13 is in

2 Corinthians 5:16-21. It is a lection of scripture that you and I are very familiar with –we have heard it or read it many times:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ in the flesh, we know him no longer that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away: see, everything has become new! God has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . . entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ. (NRSV, emphasis mine).

It struck me that we, at St. Peter’s UCC, in our new creation are not only ambassadors of Christ, which we are, but that God has given us a ministry of reconciliation. God trusts us with reconciliation. That is something that is emerging as we reclaim our St. Peter’s light and life –ministry of reconciliation.

In the last months, I have witnessed and been a part of reconciliation conversations, and actions. Old hurts are being healed, being stuck is a thought of that past –we are moving forward. Sure, we are preserving the traditions and ways that reflect this scriptural mandate to be ambassadors of Christ –in particular through reconciliation, but we have been able to let go of many things that kept our congregation stuck.

This is a great gift and message that St. Peter’s UCC has been given by God: if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.  Can you imagine how many churches there are like St. Peter’s that would love to hear the good news of our new creation?  I assure you there are many!  St. Peter’s is fully engaged in the ministry of reconciliation –that is, “coming back together.”  We have been trusted to share this message and we are doing so. We see signs of new creation everywhere:   We have three new programs beginning this fall:  Children’s Sunday School: Deep Blue –starting in September; Adult Education: Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey’s life-changing teaching about debt and stewardship).  Youth Club for youth13-17, Intergenerational Dinner on Sunday evenings for Youth Club and Financial Peace University people.

People are drawn to God’s reconciling and creating ministry here at St. Peter’s, brothers and sisters. Your ministry is powerful –keep up the good work!

St. Peter’s Gardens

Herbs - Second Place

Onions - First Place!

The Garden workday on Saturday, July 18 was a success despite the heat. Much work was accomplished thanks to all the helping hands.

If you like working in a garden or want to learn about gardening, this is your chance to learn from AWARD WINNING gardeners.  That’s right, the St. Peter’s entries in the Champaign County Fair won prizes!  Onions picked up a Blue Ribbon and herbs got Second Place.

Looking ahead, we’ve got tomatoes that are ready to eat and Butternut Squash going to town.  Zucchini and Summer Squash are also ready to pick.  Look for these vegetables and recipe ideas at fellowship.

Chicken Noodle Dinner

chicken-8

It’s time to start planning for Church Fellowship’s Chicken Noodle Dinner!

The group will be meeting Wednesdays at 9:30 AM in the Lounge.  Lookout for sign up sheets on the bulletin boards soon.  All are welcome!

This year’s Chicken Noodle Dinner will be Saturday, October 17 from 4-7 PM.

 

St. Peter’s Ice Cream Social

ice creamThis summer was filled with the usual rush of summer camp, vacations, gardening, honey-do lists and general bedlam that comes with the summer season. So many things to do and so little time! On Saturday, July 25, the members of St. Peter’s came together and we had our first ice cream social in many years.

meadowgoldIce Cream Socials were an integral part of St. Peter’s Fellowship in our early years. The event was traditionally held on the lawn of the parsonage and that the ice cream came from Meadow Gold. The event continued when we moved to our current church home on Russell Street to help raise money for choir robes or music, to help with building expenses, and for youth activities and trips.

More than 80 members and visitors were served delicious, homemade cakes, brownies and ice cream. Melissa Records was phenomenal in creating some unique homemade ice cream flavors that incorporated ingredients such as: beets, rhubarb, oranges, corn, nectarines and milk substitutes. Bob Smith brought over a bushel and half of fresh sweet corn that was grilled in front of the shed along with pork sausage sliders.

Frances Marusarz and the Boy Scouts did a fabulous job running our activities for kids of all ages! We had a three-legged race and a sack race; bags; oversized croquet; lawn bowling; and some other carnival games.

Overall, a wonderful time was had by all and we look forward to having this event again next year! Thank you to everyone that volunteered and helped to make this a very successful event!

The Sesquicentennial Committee

See more photos on Facebook »

St. Peter’s Keepsake

ornamentCheck out the pewter Christmas ornament hanging in the office window!  They just arrived and are now available for purchase.

The cost of the ornament is $7.00 | Get your ornament now!

A Grateful Remembrance

St. Peter’s Remembers: William “Bill” O’Neill

Edited from original post at Sunset Funeral Homes (link)

William Michael (Bill) O’Neill, 81, entered life eternal on Thursday, August 6, at Advocate BroMenn Hospital in Normal, IL, following a courageous battle with kidney and heart failure.

Bill was born Dec. 20, 1933 in Philo, IL, to the late Everett M. O’Neill and Cecilia E. (Lannon) O’Neill, and grew up in Urbana. He graduated from Urbana High School in 1951 and attended the University of Illinois in Architecture. He then joined the U.S. Navy in 1952, where he was proud to become a member of the Naval Construction Forces – the Seabees.

He married the love of his life, Mary Sue Campbell, on April 3, 1953. Together, they journeyed to Bermuda, where Bill served the Navy as an electrician and where they began their family. Returning to Champaign, Bill worked at CS Johnson as a draftsman and then at Alloy Engineering and Casting Co., where he held the positions of President and Chairman of the Board for more than 25 years, retiring in 1994.

Bill also retired as a Commander in the U.S. Navy, after serving in the U.S. Naval Reserves for 24 years following his active duty.

Bill was a devoted son, husband, father and grandfather. He will be loved and treasured forever in the hearts of his wife of 62 years, Mary Sue; children: W. Michael (Tracie) O’Neill, Jr. of Carol Stream, IL, Cinda (Chris) Noffke of Baroda, MI, Patrick (Terry) O’Neill of Champaign, IL, and Mindy (Jim) Bolin of Normal, IL; grandchildren: Marisa (Derek) Friske, Angela Noffke, Joshua Noffke, Ashley Bolin, Nick Bolin, Eric O’Neill, Aerin Bender, Katie (Mike) Seiffertt, Liz (Joe) Cowman and Alycia Marfongella; seven great-grandchildren; brother, Richard (Pat) O’Neill of Greenville, South Carolina; as well as by his extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Robert O’Neill and James O’Neill.

Sesquicentennial Brunch

Reserve your tickets now for our Sesquicentennial Brunch on Sunday, November 15 at 11:15 AM in Fellowship Hall.  Tickets are $32/person and there are only 125 available. Call or email the office to reserve yours now!

Program

  • John Tennyson, Growing Up at St. Peter’s
  • Cabaret clips through the years

Menu

  • Vegetable strata with sweet corn salsa
  • Sliced, grilled sausage with cantaloupe wedges, pineapple and strawberries
  • Garlic roasted potatoes
  • Breakfast breads
  • Coffee and hot & iced tea

Office Reminders

Pastor

Jennifer’s Office Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Typically her day off is Wednesday.

Summer Office Hours

The office will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m.—2:00 p.m.

We continue to search for a replacement Secretary.

If you are unable to reach someone via telephone, please email office@stpetersucc.com

For Pastoral Emergencies, contact Rev. Dr. Little directly.

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