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Social Distancing Didn't Moderate God's Work

     Every now and then the social norms require an edit. When the governor told us we must stay at home in order to stop the spread of COVID-19; we listened. However, that didn’t stop St. Matthew’s ministries from firing on all cylinders. In fact, it may have just sparked an energy that no virus could contain. My name is Casey Skelton. I am the behind the scenes person who puts together your weekly bulletin, your prayer list and your monthly newsletter. After six years of writing your newsletter I
have never once put in an article written “by me for you”. But this time, there are some praises too joyous to be left unpublished. The staff here would not even think to shine the light on the good things they have done, as they know that they all work together for the good of the kingdom. But I know that I would be remiss to not let you in on the amazing ministry that has flourished amidst a pandemic.


Pastor Bob Swickard - Can you imagine trying to pastor a church during a never before seen situation? Pastor Bob was there on the front lines making the hard decisions, keeping you informed and up to date on the latest information. He was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during his “stay at home” order. He created meaningful, passionate and relevant messages to reach out to you each week via live stream. Not to mention, he prayed for you all, all the time.

Pastor Andy Black – From his newsworthy runs throughout the neighborhood praying for all who asked for prayer (and all who didn’t as well), to his Bit O’ Bible to keep us connected to The Word, to his participation in the Hot Ones challenge – Pastor Andy never left our side.


Pastor Larry Patton – Affectionately known amongst staff as “coach”, Pastor Patton taped Sunday School lessons, Wednesday night devotionals and special services for live streams so you could continue to grow deeper in your walk with Jesus. You want to meet someone who truly rejoices in the light of our Savior, he is your man.


Hank Oplinger, St. Matt’s Music Ministry leader - Hank and his team kept live stream worship just that ... worship! While respecting the social distancing on the platform he was able to bring beautiful worship music into your homes each Sunday and Wednesday. In addition, he played and taped lovely music from his home so you could enjoy some mid-week “Hymns with Hank”.


Lindsay Vollmar, St. Matt’s Children’s Ministry leader - Lindsay connected with her “friends” through Facebook live story time twice a week and made sure parents kept getting helpful resources and encouraging updates while they home schooled their children. In addition, she sewed masks for hospital staff!


Matt Vollmar, Contemporary Worship Leader and St. Matt’s Youth Ministry leader - Matt kept connected with the youth through Video Lego Challenges (with the help of Brian Caringer), Worship Madness Brackets, the Hot Ones challenge and youth Zoom meetings. In addition, Matt and his team were able to bring beautiful worship music into your homes each week through live stream services. Matt & Lindsay were both nationally recognized by UMnews.org for their creative ways to stay in
touch during a time of “social distancing”.


Jeanie Lively, St. Matt’s Senior Ministry leader – Even though this group was considered the most “high risk” to contract the virus, that didn’t stop them from wanting to do all they could do to help. Jeanie lively and her New Life Club officers donated $300 worth of groceries to the Interfaith Food Pantry in order to bless those in need.


Brian Caringer, Don, Melissa, & DJ Rockwell and Sam & Rebecca DeZeeuw, St. Matt’s Video
Ministry – Every live stream, video update from Pastor Bob, Facebook post and so much more was because of the hard work and dedication of these amazing people! Any time you saw anything from St. Matt’s it was because this group made it possible.


Scott Ferguson, Staff Coordinator – want to know the definition of keeping the candle burning at both ends? It’s this guy. He keeps all of this up in the air and flowing and circulating like a well-oiled machine. He is literally and truly the cog that keeps the St. Matt’s machine flowing. Have a question about ... anything St. Matt’s related? Scott will know the answer.


Glenn Todd, Property Manager - Glenn made sure our apartment residents got their medicine picked up, he delivered essential items to those who could not leave their homes, he drove people to doctors’ appointments, he kept watch on the “high risk” people of a certain age, he delivered mail and, as always, he did so much more.


Hugh Wilkin and Joe Gruenewald, Custodial Ministry – These two hard working gentleman deep cleaned every inch of this church for your health and safety. Not only did they go above and beyond their normal duties, they took this time to make improvements and repairs that tend to be difficult to do with the normal ebb and flow of the church.


Dan Harry & Lori Andrews, St. Matt’s Financial Administrators – These two are, as always, working feverishly to makes ends meet; especially during this time of financial turmoil and unrest. These financial stewards are the best possible guardians of your tithing I can assure you.


Carol Fischer and Dolly Moon, St. Matt’s Receptionists – You would be hard pressed to find two ladies who care more about this congregation. They are the front lines. They answer your calls, they greet you at the window, they know your prayer requests and surgeries and when you are in the hospital. They are you - and they keep us well informed.


Jack Lampe, Wednesday Night Meal Coordinator – Gave the kitchen a super spring cleaning and he cannot wait to cook for you again!!


And me, Casey Skelton, St. Matt’s Administrative Assistant – sure, I keep your records straight and I keep you informed. I do my best to give the staff above everything they need to give you what you need. In all honesty though, my greatest accomplishment is just being part of this staff; this staff who during this time of turbulence, desperation and panic, have: calmed me, reassured me and made me stronger in my faith. They have blessed me through all their ingenious ways to stay connected during a time of disconnection. They have drawn me in and kept me a close sheep in their flock. I hope they have done the same for you. I am so proud of our staff’s creativity, hard work and dedication to serving you and the Lord.


IMPORTANT TIMES
Sunday Times
9:00 a.m. - Blended
10:15 a.m. - Sunday School
11:00 a.m. - Contemporary
6:00 p.m. - Cornerstone Deaf Church
6:30 p.m. - Bible Study

Wednesday
6:30 p.m. - Pray, Praise, and Preaching
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Address:  1200 Moreland Dr.
                  Belleville, IL 62223
Phone:  618-397-5994
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