Friendsgiving – November 26

(From Gabrielle Hastings:)

For many of us, Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year as we forgo gatherings with family in the hope of keeping everyone healthy. Our family made the decision to cancel our plans this year…but I’m still going to cook a turkey dinner.

With so many people planning to spend Thanksgiving alone, we want to give people the opportunity to celebrate together even if we’re physically apart. So we invite those who would otherwise be alone to join us for a remote Friendsgiving. Sign up by Sunday, November 22nd, to pick up a meal on the afternoon of November 26, Thanksgiving Day, and then join us on Zoom for dinner or dessert.

The meal will include turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, and a choice of pumpkin or apple pie. Let us know how many are in your household what kind of pie you want, and if there’s anything you don’t want included. If you have any food allergies, let us know and we’ll try to accommodate them.

Guests can pick up food at our house from 2:00-2:45 p.m.; the Zoom gathering will begin at 3:00.  Address information and zoom links will be shared with those who sign up.

To let us know that you’re interested, if you have any questions or would like to help, contact Gabrielle Hastings at

Virtual Interfaith Vigil: June 4, 5pm

The death of George Floyd has again brought to the forefront the ongoing pain caused by injustice in our culture, and the reality that without true justice, real peace is not possible in our nation or communities.

Across the twin city area, people of all faiths stand together to express our desire and commitment to work for peace and justice within our community.

On Thursday night, from 5-6pm, all are invited to join this vigil by the McLean County Interfaith Alliance in a time of prayer and hearing how our diverse faith traditions speak to the need for both peace and justice.

Click here to share in the Interfaith Vigil Livestream

Welcome, Allison Benton!

Welcome Allison Benton! The Christian Education and Growth Committees are pleased to share that Allison Benton will be a short-term intern for FBC this spring. Allison is no stranger to FBC, growing up in our midst and is the daughter of Joyce Benton and Mike Benton.

While she is with us, Allison will be using her gifts in the following ways: helping leaders and members to stay connected using various social platforms during this shelter in place order as well as going forward; will be delivering devotions every Friday evening at 7 pm on our Zoom link; offering Bible lessons geared toward children K-5th grade on the FBC You Tube channel; and helping everyone get aboard the Rocky Road Railway vacation Bible school to be held in one day later this summer.

Thank you Allison for sharing your gifts with FBC – we look forward to working with you as we continue the mission of FBC in the community.

Ways to Help

Sheltering in place and minimizing our interactions with one another in public is one of the most essential things we can do right now to care for one another.

At the same time, there are many additional steps we can take to demonstrate the love of God, caring for our neighbors in this time.


Here are some ways to help:

Call One Other & pray for each other – one of the most important things we can do is simply check in on each other by phone, text or online, and listen for how folks are really doing, asking how we can pray for each other.

Making Masks for yourself or others

Supporting Covid-19 Relief efforts through

International Ministries

American Baptist Home Mission Societies 

Volunteer to help people over 60 through Faith In Action

Sign up to help distribute food at the Western Av Community Center

Sign up to help at the Midwest Food Bank

Volunteer Shoppers Needed for Luther Oaks


Daily Devotional Recordings

Daily Devotional links:

Devotionals on our YouTube Channel

Gather live for the devotional at 7pm:

Note – For Sunday, March 29, we will have a longer Bible Study in place of the daily Devotional.  It will be hosted at:

(you will not be able to join until shortly before 7pm.  The meeting will be ‘live’ about 5 minutes early for those who are trying this out for the first time and/or may need to troubleshoot.)

To join Zoom meetings from FBC, you will just need to click on an invitation link that we will share ahead of time through our eLink email, website and Facebook Page.

If you are using your laptop or PC, it may walk you through some steps to get Zoom up and running.

If you are using your phone or tablet, it will probably ask you to download the Zoom app, following the instructions along the way.

Here’s a link on how to join a zoom meeting

If you want to use Zoom on your phone or tablet, you might want to consider downloading the app ahead of time.  You can look for Zoom in Google Play or Apple’s iTunes app store, or follow the links here:

For Android devices

For Apple devices

Greenville University Choir Concert – March 12

The Greenville University Choir (Greenville, Illinois) will sing a concert at First Baptist Church at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. Founded in 1927 by Dr. Robert W. Woods, the Greenville Choir has attained a widespread reputation for performing sacred choral music of the highest quality.

During the spring of this current 93rd Anniversary year, the Greenville University Choir will take a concert tour in the Midwestern United States.  The Choir’s tour program—“Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”–includes selections from Europe, Africa and North America.

In the past several years the Greenville University Choir has toured in Mexico and Ireland, as well as the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. The Choir has also been invited to perform with the Boston Camerata and the Kingsbury Ensemble (one of the Midwest’s premier professional early music ensembles), and made several appearances at the Illinois Music Educators Conference and the American Choral Directors Association’s Central Division Convention.  The Choir regularly joins with the Greenville Choral Union for concerts of larger choral-orchestral works such as Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, and the annual Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah.

The Greenville Choir consists of 24 students from various fields of liberal arts study. As the flagship choral ensemble of Greenville University, the Choir presents as many as twenty off-campus performances each year as part of its annual tour. Students’ dedication to the program is consistently made evident by the professional quality of their performances.

Conductor Jeffrey S. Wilson received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano from Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois). He earned a Master of Music degree in choral music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Wilson has served as conductor of the choir since 1996.

Greenville University is a four-year accredited Christian liberal arts school with more than 1,200 traditional undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree completion students.  Founded in 1892 and affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, the university is located in Greenville, Illinois, 45 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.

For further details about the concert call First Baptist Church at (309) 662-4253 or visit For more information about the Greenville University Choir or Greenville University call the Music Department Office at (618) 664-6560 or visit

Lenten Small Group Dialogue, led by Dr. Paul Baker

The Christian Education Committee will be offering a Lenten study led by Dr. Paul Baker. Listed below are the dates and topics for dialogue. Dialogue sessions will be held on Tuesdays beginning March 3 and concluding on April 7 starting at 6:30 pm. Sessions will be held at the church. Please let the church office know if you will be attending and if you will need child care by February 25th. More information regarding each session’s dialogue is available on the information wall at church.

First Baptist Church: Becoming a Christ-Centered Community in the 21st Century

March 3 Finding Jesus in our Bible

March 10 Saint Paul: Exploring his favorite and most used phrase – “in Christ”

March 17 Jesus, Saint Paul, and the Jews

March 24 Exploring Christ and Creation Theology: Part 1 – Old Testament

March 31 Exploring Christ and Creation Theology: Part 2 – New Testament

April 7 Searching for Christ and Truth in the 21st Century

Souper Bowl Chili Cook-Off

A fun time of sharing and sampling some wonderful soups after 11am worship at  First Baptist Church. The top voted soup will win bragging rights and help our youth attend a mission event this summer!  The soups are free to try – a sample or a bowl. Desserts, however – will go to the highest bidder at the dessert auction to follow!

Here’s how it works:
If you’d like to make a pot of chili or other soup to share, email us, or use the sign-up sheet at church.
There is no fee to enter, and you can bring more than one type of soup if you like.

If dessert is more your thing – we will gladly accept donations of desserts; cakes, pies, brownies, cookies – whatever you would like to share.

For those who attend, again, the soups are free to try: the fun and the fundraiser comes in as participants buy tickets to vote for their favorite soups — and you can vote as often as you like!

The desserts will be auctioned off to the highest bidders – a great way to get a delicious treat for you to bring to a Superbowl party, or just to keep for yourself 🙂

It’s always a lot of fun sharing a meal and helping our youth with life-changing experiences to help grow and apply their faith!

Thanksgiving Community Meal – Monday Nov. 25

All friends and members of First Baptist Church are invited to share in the Thanksgiving Meal hosted by Judson/AGAPE Fellowship, our American Baptist Campus ministry at ISU. Everyone in the community is invited, and since the whole week is part of ISU’s Thanksgiving break, the dinner is particularly geared toward students who are staying on campus without family over the break.

The Thanksgiving meal will be on Monday, November 25, from 6:30 PM – 8 PM, at the Campus Religious Center, 201 W. Mulberry St in Normal

It would be wonderful if our church family showed our love for these students by helping provide food and sharing the meal together. If you would like to participate, just bring a side dish to share and stay to be part of the meal. The event is informal and will be done by 8:00pm. For more information, contact Phil Grizzard at Thank you!

Sharing our stories around the table

Come share a good meal and conversations that help shape our ministry.

Next meal will be at noon on November 3 at First Baptist Church. 

No cost – childcare provided, limited seating so please RSVP

You’re invited to a time of conversation around a simple meal at First Baptist Church, hosted by Pastor Brian and Gabrielle and the Family Care team.
God is always at work in this church, inviting us further into the mission in each new season of ministry.  In order to be faithful and effective in that calling, we need to remember our unique history and values as a community, recognize the gifts and insights that God has given our whole church family, and respond to the needs and opportunities God has positioned us for.

A key part of that remembering our history and recognizing what people are seeing is taking the time to hear from one another.

Which brings us to a series of meals held weekly at noon beginning on October 20 and projected to go until November 24.  We’ll spend about an hour eating and sharing together.

We’ll be asking participants to share:

  • Where have you seen or experienced FBC most living out its values and calling?
  • What opportunities or needs are you aware of in the wider community?
  • What feedback do we need to hear to be more effective in our ministry?

The meals will be simple; soup and bread and dessert, and there will be no cost.  Childcare will be provided.  Each meal is limited to 10 people at a time, so reservations are necessary unless we have an open spot that Sunday.  Please contact the church office at: or  or use the sign up sheet on the welcome desk.

Vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available upon request.