With so much hustle and bustle and constant information overload, more and more people and places are stressing the idea of “unplugging,” where one takes a break from the screens and social media and instead makes an effort to connect in-person — whether with others or just reconnect with themselves.
Two local groups — First Presbyterian Church of Kankakee and Bourbonnais Township Park District — are offering upcoming events with unplugging in mind.
Tuesday’s Prayer and Meditation
First Presbyterian Church, located at 371 E. Court St., Kankakee, has started Tuesday’s Pray and Meditation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday.
The church, in conjunction with Juan 3:16, invites all members of the community to stop by the church during this time for prayer and reflection. It’s offered as a time to mentally recharge.
Paul Johnson, the church’s music director, as well as office and building manager, invites the community to “find sanctuary in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. Take a break from your day to gather your thoughts and calm your mind in a beautiful, sacred space.”
Johnson explained that the weekly program is a “no pressure” environment where people can stop by on their lunch break and take time for some quiet reflection.
“We’re blessed with a highly visible location and we have a beautiful sanctuary,” Johnson said.
“Everybody has days that they just need to stop and unplug. So, the idea was that people could come in during their lunch hour to pray, think, meditate — whatever they want to do.”
The church asks that participants turn off or silence cellphones and observe silence. Participants in Tuesday’s Prayer and Meditation will be welcomed by a church member and will be given an informational flyer. After that, the participant will be left to enjoy silence.
If desired, participants would have the option to ask pastors or members to pray with them. The church was planted in 1854 and the original building was first constructed in 1855. Over time, it developed into what it is today, adorned with stained-glass windows.
“We just want to be a blessing to the community,” said David Ferguson, one of the ordained ministers who works with the church. “Somewhere that [the community] can come and unwind and feel comfortable. No pressure, just come in and relax.”
Johnson, Ferguson and Juan 3:16 Pastor Aramelinda Velasquez are available Tuesdays to connect with participants. Additionally, Juan 3:16 hosts a drive-thru food pantry every Friday and will be hosting a summer Bible study program from 9 a.m. to noon July 5 through 10.
Velasquez said that she, Johnson and Ferguson are “on a mission from God” to open their church to the community.
For more information on Tuesday’s Prayer and Meditation, call 815-939-3546 or visit firstpreskankakee.org.
From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 10, the Bourbonnais Township Park District will be participating in Unplug Illinois, a statewide initiative with the purpose of disconnecting from electronics and connecting with others.
“The idea of the event, and Unplug in general, is to get people to put their phones and tablets down and come out to the park to enjoy time together as a family,” said Sarah Winkel, the district’s deputy director.
“It is also to remind the community who we are and what we do, and we want people to remember what park districts do and what we represent.”
The event at Perry Farm will feature a variety of activities and demonstrations, and there will be a live radio broadcast from Milner Media, which will be onsite with prizes. The morning will kickoff with a 9 a.m. family walk, with simple exercises to do and motivational quotes to read.
At 9:30 a.m., all sports and activity stations open, including pickleball, little athletics, a coloring contest, DIY kite table, imagination playground, carriage rides and more.
At 9:45 a.m., demonstrations will start with Lemner’s Soo Bahk Do Demo, followed by a 10:15 a.m. Sound Bowl Meditation. Storytime begins at 10:20 a.m., and the event closes out with an 11:15 a.m. performance from the Jesse White Tumblers, sponsored by Linman Family McDonald’s.