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First United Presbyterian Church
Monday May 4, 2020


“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

The first line of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything…” I do not believe the author of this poem had “social distancing” or “shelter in place” in mind when they penned this line. The author lived some 2,500 years ago. Back then, people did not understand how germs were transferred from one person to another. They did not understand that standing farther away from your neighbor, friend, or family member could potentially save their life. They did not understand that the spread of a virus could be stopped if people stayed home and didn’t go out.  They knew people could get sick, but they didn’t know how they got sick. And, yet, the author of Ecceliastes knew there was an appropriate time for all activities that make up being human. The author knew there were certain times when it was good and right to meet together and enjoy one another’s company. They also knew there were times when gathering together was a bad idea. After 2,500 years this poem still speaks truth to our lives. 

The poem addresses the times when life doesn’t make sense. It speaks to the moments in life when human wisdom cannot offer any satisfactory answers. It is honest, unflinching, and forthwrite. These words speak directly into our lives, your lives, the lives of session members and your pastor’s life. There are times when we must be honest, unflinching, and forthright. We do so with civility and the utmost respect. All the while, making sure to heed Jesus’ command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Session and I have been exploring what is necessary for the church to reopen. Our conversations have been filled with honesty. We have not hesitated to talk about the dangers of reopening too soon or too late. We have been direct and to the point. We have had these conversations because we long to worship in person with you. We want to see each of you as you walk into church on Sunday mornings and we want to wave goodbye after the service is over. It is our heart's desire to praise and worship God sitting shoulder to shoulder with you. We are asking the questions and doing all that we can to find answers in ways that will benefit everyone. We do not rely on our wisdom alone. We are relying on God. Waiting for God to instruct us. 

As we wait we ask that you would pray for us. So will you please pray for us? With so much going on, we cannot accomplish everything by ourselves. We need you. We need your prayers. Please pray for us. Know that as your leadership explores the hard questions, they do so in prayer and thoughtful conversation. As we ask and answer the important questions to reopening we will share with you our intentions and plans. 

There are lots of questions that we need to ask and answer before we resumein-person worship. All the while online worship is continuing to be organized and thoughtfully done. The questions we are asking and areas of concern we are discussing pertain to all parts of church life:  facilities, worship, Christian education, fellowship, pastoral care, mission, and administrative. Each of those categories has about a dozen sub questions in them. The list of concerns to explore is extensive, but it must be. COVID-19 has changed things in ways we didn’t see coming. It has also given us an opportunity to be creative and experiment. It's likely that we will be able to do some things “the way we’ve always done them,” but some things will forever be changed. And that is okay. As the author of Ecclesiasties wrote, “...everything has a season.” Even in the church, this pandemic will cause some things to end or change. Even in the church, this pandemic has and will open opportunities to try new things and join with new people. Through our live-stream worship, we are reaching more and more people. We have had people tune into our worship service from Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Nevada, and, of course, Illinois! The good news of Jesus Christ is being shared in our community and across the country. There are some truly amazing things happening in the church right now.  Praise be to God! I am so proud and happy to be part of FUPC and its ministry. Way to go church. 

With all this talk about questions, please know that I am available to chat or to answer some of the questions you might have. When I interviewed with session back in November, I told them that my understanding of the pastoral life is centered on praying and preaching. In order to pray and preach well I need to do three things. I need to read. I need to write. And I need to visit with people. Since I can’t stop by your house or meet you at a coffee shop, the phone is the best way I can visit with people.  I’d like to talk with you. If you’d like to talk with me please call me at (616) 490-1355 or 

Peace be with you, 

Pastor Zach

Giddings Lovejoy Presbytery
First United Presbyterian Church in Collinsville IL is a Member of the PC(USA)Connect with

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The Finance Committee has been working on grants for the church. We applied for a $1,000 grant from the Presbytery for Hunger Action Churches to be given to the Food Pantry. Two grants were given to each Synod, but we were not recipients of this one.

We have applied for a PPP loan through Busey Bank. Jan Trosper completed the financial parts of this application and Linda Kunz gave us guidance with the rest of the needed paperwork. Please give them a huge Thank You for their time and efforts spent applying for this loan. Our application was turned in before the second round of funding became available. So far, we have not heard back from the bank. The purpose of this loan is for small businesses and non-profits to be able to meet their payroll and utility bills.

An application was submitted to the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery for a $10,000 grant which they are offering to churches in our Presbytery. A meeting is scheduled for this evening, April 27, to meet with Rev. Craig Howard concerning this grant.

We will apply for a technology grant offered through the Presbytery. If the church is a recipient of this grant, it will be used to purchase the equipment needed to continue the live streaming  of our church services from the sanctuary after we are allowed to resume services in the building.

Online giving is now available. If you go to you are now able to make a contribution to the church online via credit/debit card or EFT/ACH. There are many options available, you can make a one time, monthly, or even a weekly tithing.
You are also welcome to mail in your checks to the church, please adress them to the church administrator's home adress. 
Sarah Evers
110 Greer Ct.
Collinsville, IL 62234

"Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7

We have received Gary Childress’ retirement papers and are now searching for a company/person to fill his shoes.  Two companies are bidding and we have the information from our part-time person for comparison.  A choice will be made very soon.
-Jodee Kleb
Personnel Elder


The Church hosted a blood drive with the American Red Cross on April 15 and 17.  We had a total of 49 people who attempted to donate and we collected a total of 45 units.  We also had nineteen first time donors.  Many blood drives have been cancelled due to school and business closures so the Red Cross was very grateful to the Church for hosting the drive.

Special thanks to Church members Brenda Caselli, Kristine Cleland and Clark Evers for donating.  Special thanks to Angelica Lipham and Micaela Rodriguez from the Food Pantry also donated.

Warren Carter



1 – Brianne Dellamano

4 – Bonnie Krupp

8 – Mia Burr

10 – JoAnn Kunz

11 – Sarah Evers

14 – Dot Mills; Hayden Day

18 – Ava Muniz: JoAnn Adams

21 – Carol McFall

27 – Mary Shaw; Susan Gore

28 – Sarah Ross; Meghan Braden


14 – John & Deb Nichols

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First United Presbyterian Church

201 E. Church Street
Collinsville, Illinois
618-344-1109 Email: