Illinois South Conference shares the inspiring stories that show the faith-filled lives within our Conference. We hope this gives you comfort during this time of sheltering in place.
If you know of stories that show people being the church, please send it to ISCspirit@iscucc.org. Share the stories that are warming your heart. #ISCspirit.
On Saturday, March 27, DuBois Center sponsored their first events since March of last year. The Girls Scouts of Southern Illinois, under the leadership of Anne Townsend, brought small groups out to the camp for their “My Brownie, My Pony and Me” and "Mommy and Me Paint a Pony" day programs. They have had these programs on their calendar for a year, hoping we might be able to accommodate them this spring. Thanks to the amazing work of the Outdoor Ministry Team in creating good safety protocols and procedures, to the Horse Team who generously volunteered their time and leadership, and to amazing DuBois staff members, the day was a big success.
Anne shared with us some of the comments she heard from the event:
· “This was one of the best-organized events I have ever gone to. My girls had a blast!”
· "My girls had so much fun they don’t want to leave. Do you want to keep them here?”
· “My daughter has autism and ADHD. She has a hard time interacting in a group setting and sometimes is disconnected, but not today and while she was around the horse. She and I would love to come back and do more programs like this. Today was one of the few days where I got to see my daughter shine.”
While this past year has been a difficult year for DuBois Center with countless hours the Conference leaders have spent in designing several contingency plans for programming and creating best practices in order that groups might be able to enjoy DuBois Center this spring and summer, it has been completely worth it!!
Please continue to hold your camp, DuBois Center, in your thoughts and prayers. With your support, we know we can bounce back from this past year even stronger and ready to give everyone who experiences DuBois Center a sense of the special, sacred space it is.
Ruthann Redmond has started a business that makes handmade masks. She also donates masks to healthcare workers. You can read about her efforts here. Ruthann is a member of Evangelical UCC in Highland, and she’s served on Conference Council.
STOCK THE PANTRY DRIVE-THRU FOOD COLLECTION
On Saturday June 6, St. John UCC in Fairview Heights helped their community’s Food Pantry open by collecting food. The event was spear-headed by Nancy Eisenhauer and Jan Miller, members of the church. With help from the entire community, 510 items and $480 were collected in 2 hours. Pictured are the “crew” in their new church masks. Submitted by Rev. Rosemary Captain
DuBois Center and Hoyleton Youth & Family Services have a long-standing relationship. One aspect involves food. At the end of each summer and in mid-December, the cooks at DuBois Center traditionally check for any food that is good but will likely go bad or be past the “use by” date before the next flurry of groups. Most of this food is taken to Hoyleton Youth & Family Services' residential home in Hoyleton. Door to door, it’s only about 24 minutes. This year, due to the camp closure, a mid-May delivery was added. Rather than go to waste, cases and sealed bags of everything from muffin and pancake mix to hot dogs and hamburgers were delivered to the main kitchen in Hoyleton. From there, the cooks from the various cottages divided it up and integrated the food into their menu plans. Submitted by Shirley Asmussen
Thank You to the Steve and Emily Walton Family Foundation. They sent a $5000 grant to DuBois Center, which will help the loss of summer camp income.
Thank you to the Hunger/Food Action Committee, who recently awarded grants of varying amounts to 23 different churches/organizations in our region.
Bethel UCC (Twigs Summer Lunch Program)
Cahokia Community Basket
CCBA Food Pantry
Community Interfaith Food Pantry
Dupo Community Backpack Angels Summer Lunch Program
Highland Area Christian Service Ministerial Alliance (Food Pantry)
House of Neighborly Service
Marion Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry
Mascoutah Food Pantry
Mascoutah Summer Lunch Program
Murphysboro Food Pantry
Trenton Council of Churches Food Pantry
Friedens UCC in Irvington has made over 800 face shields for local SSM hospitals. They have also been sending cards, emails, and snacks to healthcare workers. The congregation recently had a car parade on Holy Humor Sunday to visit their homebound folks, delivering a Gerber daisy to each family to say “Friedens Loves You.” They continue to deliver food to the Irvington Grade School Weekend Backpack program, too. Submitted by Rev. Stacy Tate
New Athens St. John UCC
O’Fallon Weekly News recently shared a story about how many in our local communities are showing support for the medical personnel on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Their article also mentions one of our own, Tarrah Vaupel, a student pastor at St. John UCC in New Athens, who displays a lit red heart in front of her home. Click here for the story
Highland Community - Hoyleton Youth & Family Services
Hoyleton Youth & Family Services, a mission partner of Illinois South Conference, recently asked for locally made face masks. Highland resident, Jan Firth, had already made several for a local hospital, and when she heard about the opportunity at Hoyleton, she jumped in. Jan involved her extended family by asking them to find elastic at local stores for her creations. The Machine Shop in Highland donated 25 yards of elastic to the cause. In short order, a Hoyleton representative picked up 70 handmade cloth face masks for their staff. We are thankful to Jan and her family for supporting our friends at Hoyleton.
A mother and her four-year-old daughter from the Marine congregation have been spreading some joy each week while in quarantine. They mail letters to great grandparents, mail paintings to local nursing homes and send coffee gift cards to nurses who are working so hard right now. They're looking for more ways to offer a "pick me up" to folks within their community that might need a wave through a window, or even some doughnuts left on a doorstep. Their goal is to stay positive and spread joy, while sharing how important it is to be kind to others. Shared by Rev. Phil Kershner, Marine UCC
Uni-Pres Kindercottage is now open, but with a changed environment. Children must wear masks and shoes cannot be worn in the building. Because of this, members of Illinois South Conference churches have been helping to maintain the new normal. Rev. Carol Shanks (Shanks is in the yellow shirt, and Kindercottage staff joins her.), Pastor of Bethel UCC in Cahokia, delivered masks made by Kathy Asselmeier, member of St. John UCC in Maeystown, and Kathy Harres, member of St. Paul UCC in Columbia, for the staff and children.
Rev. Ivan and Viv Horn surprised the staff with more masks and bags made by Vivian Horn and Diane Mertz, members of Friedens UCC in Hecker. Since staff and children can't wear shoes indoors, they will place shoes in the bags outside each of their lockers. Thank you ladies for your wonderful donation. (Vivian is on the far left, and Brenda Crisp is in the middle next to a staff member.)
St. Paul in Nashville is teaming up with Prairie Farms to provide free milk. Every Friday in June. Prairie Farms is providing St. Paul with half gallons of 2% milk that can be distributed free to people in the community as well as shared with our Region 7 food pantry. People can come to the church to pick it up themselves, or if unable to come, volunteers deliver to their doorsteps. In April, St. Paul joined with Maschhoff Farms to provide local families with free 15-pound boneless hams. All this is part of St. Paul's mission to change the world one life at at a time. Submitted by Rev. Bev Kahle
Funds for the Three Great Loves Vegetable Seeds Program:
Belleville - St. Paul UCC
Brighton - St. John’s UCC
Marissa- Friedens UCC
Mascoutah- St. John UCC
Marion - Zion UCC
Maeystown - St. John UCC
Moro- St. John’s UCC of Midway
New Hanover- Zoar UCC
Trenton - St. John UCC
Waterloo- St. John UCC
Waterloo- Zion UCC
Zion UCC in Marion recently made the news for all they’ve been doing in the community during the pandemic. The Marion Star and a local car dealership started airing videos of all the ways Marion has been supporting each other, and Zion was the first to be featured. Click here to see the video on The Marion Star’s Facebook page. Submitted by Rev. John Holst
Zion UCC in New Baden joyfully attempted their first online worship on May 3. Zion is designated an essential service in their area because they house the only food pantry in the area. Their office manager Austin Newton keeps that vital ministry going.
Submitted by Rev. Janis Dashner, Interim Pastor
Cahokia Bethel UCC
David and Carol Shanks handed out lunches with TWIGS in Granite City to reach children who live on the outskirts and don't have a way to visit one of the Granite City schools that distribute lunches. They are doing the essential work of keeping kids fed while wearing protective gear and limiting interaction time to an absolute minimum. Bethel UCC in Cahokia is assisting these children with weekend food.