All posts in “Community”

Summer mission trip interview with Student Ministries

Our students’ summer mission trips were canceled, but ministry goes on! We spoke with Student Ministries Director Meredith Domanico and Middle School Coordinator Clayton Ganziano, about plans for our students to serve locally this month.

They would welcome your prayer support. You can download a prayer guide below.

 

DOWNLOAD PRAYER GUIDE

 

 

Q&R with Pastor Luke: June 2020

by Jim Killam | 10-minute read

 

In this “everything but the kitchen sink” interview, Lead Pastor Luke Uran talks about adjusting to a unique season, the Ten Commandments sermon series, the national conversation on race, COVID-19 and gathering again for worship.

 

First, how are you?

I’m hanging in there. It’s been a whirlwind, going back to the beginning of the coronavirus and now obviously with the racial tension and divide that our country is facing. I think it has definitely affected everyone in one way or another. There is a heaviness to these days. It’s still taking some adjusting. Read More

Playing it by ear

by Rob Ullrich | 5-minute read

 

Occasionally, when my seventh graders are working in my classroom, I’ll play jazz. They don’t know they’re hearing Django Reinhardt, the guitar giant who shaped a genre around himself. They couldn’t trace his influence to the musicians on their YouTube channels. They can’t tell the story of his terrible accident and miraculous comeback.

It’s an anonymous background tune for them, but a time machine for me. Reinhardt’s style is frequently featured in World War II movies and dramas of that same period. Picture that scene in a smoky, low-lit jazz club.

For the past few months, there has been no jazz crooning from my classroom speakers. Teachers had to improvise to transform their classrooms into remote hubs for e-learning. This task took extemporaneous technique. It was a jazz number and I was playing it by ear. Read More

Hate finds a dead end

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

Shane Heckler had a hard day Tuesday.

At his job at an East State Street grocery store, he was collecting carts from the parking lot when a man pulled up in his car, rolled down the window and unleashed a stream of obscenities.

“Are you one of those f***ing n*****s who are looting?”

Before Shane could say anything, the man drove away. Read More

Life at home during COVID-19

Our three pastors and their wives “gathered” this week for a wide-ranging Zoom conversation. Topics include toilet paper, bad outfits, scary kids’ movies … and encouraging words for our church family.

Caring for our elderly

by Jim Killam | 5-minute read

 

A multigenerational church like First Free Rockford faces a particular opportunity during COVID-19: caring for our elderly and most vulnerable.

Chuck Rife, Pastor of Caring Ministries, keeps a list of more than 100 people who receive visits in their homes, long-term care centers or hospital rooms. Normally, those visits come in person from Chuck and his wife, Ruth, the deaconesses, and a small group of guys who visit elderly men. During the stay-at-home order, visits have been limited to phone calls and letters.

As with the rest of the population, some people are struggling while others are doing OK.

“You get all kinds of responses,” Chuck says. “One lady (in a nursing home) said, ‘I feel like an animal in a cage.’ The room is just so small. It becomes very claustrophobic. But then another lady I talked to said, ‘I love it. I can finish writing my book that I’ve been working on for 25 years.’ She’s in her 90s.” Read More

Reflections on motherhood

by Jessi Uran | 3-minute read

Editor’s note: Jessi Uran penned this essay on motherhood in 2019. For Mother’s Day 2020, we think it’s worth another look.

 

Abba, Father.

Before the day begins, I wash my image-bearing face. As I press it dry with the towel, the mirror reminds me that there is a side to you I am called to represent — good works you have prepared that are uniquely mine to carry out.

For yes, it is true. You are Father. And yes, it is also true that you are like a Mother. Your living Word reveals this. You are the Rose of Sharon and the protective hen with outstretched wings. You are the woman searching for her lost coin and the one who longed to hold her children to her chest and give them comfort. Read More

Kaylin’s Quarantine Run

Kaylin Carlson prayed for a way to bring creativity and fun to people during COVID-19. Kaylin’s Quarantine Run has done even more — and it just keeps growing.

 

Read More

Parenting during COVID-19

We spoke via Zoom recently with seven parents from our church family. Topic: How are you and your kids coping with the stay-at-home order?

*Opinions expressed are the individuals’ own, and do not necessarily represent First Free Rockford or the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).

 

 

A walk among the stones

by Jim Killam | 7-minute read

 

As the weather slowly turns warmer, First Free Kids Director Kari Heckler walks her neighborhood more.

“I used to run, and then it turned into walking after I blew out my Achilles tendon a few years ago,” she says. “That was so symbolic in my life, because it forced me to slow down and walk instead of run. The difference that I find, especially right now when we are really slowed down, is that I look around when I’m walking.”

Lately, she notices hearts in windows — symbols of hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trees are blooming. She sees things she would have run past before with scarcely a glance. Read More

Notice: The main office is closed and all public gatherings are suspended until further notice.More Details