Illinois Phase 3 – What this means for our church

May 29, 2020, Governor Pritzker lifted the “Stay at Home” executive order and announced that Illinois had moved into Phase 3. With this new phase, churches can have groups of up to 10 people in their building and hold outdoor or drive in worship services. For now, we continue to hold Worship via Facebook Live. Online Worship is on Sunday at  9:00 am. We still continue to pray together as a congregation at 5:30 pm on Sundays.  Pastor Bruce also continues to be online via Facebook Live in the evenings at 9:30 pm. 
Now that we are in Phase 3, our groups such as Crafty Crafters, Boy Scouts and Bee-Keeprs can return to our building to meet. We will continue to bring updates concerning our worship services. 


A few thoughts as we struggle to sort out information and our response to the continuing global health issues in light of our church activities and Community Meals.

We continue to monitor issues surrounding the Coronavirus very closely, realizing this is a fast-moving situation, and conditions change more rapidly than we can anticipate.

It was reported by reliable news sources that there has been a confirmed case of Covid19 at Coles County Hospital. Our previous response was predicated on the fact that we were a hundred miles or more from the nearest infected individual. This is no longer the case. Further complicating our response has been the uncertainty surrounding the virus, including incubation period and how long the virus is active outside of a host.

We have a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to the public at large, which includes our friends, neighbors, and family members. Although, as we do know, 80% of those infected will show minor symptoms, they are still capable of infecting others, some of whom may have underlying conditions that put them at high risk for serious complications.

Therefore, in consultation with our leaders, we are responding by taking the following actions. Tomorrow, March 15, the church will be open for worship for any who wish to attend. We encourage those who are at high risk of serious complications to stay home, along with any who simply don’t feel well. Our behavior will change, as “social distancing,” and personal contact will be limited. Thereafter, all CHURCH gatherings will be suspended, anticipating worshiping again together on April 5. This, of course, is subject to re-evaluation as conditions change.

The church will continue to be open throughout the week, and for organizations that wish to use the facility, notably Wednesday Community Meals, and any way we can assist the school and our children. We are not sure at this moment how exactly we will continue to serve through Community Meals, but however that looks, we will only serve carry-out and delivery, and sanitation protocols will be strictly followed. Although constrained, we will still be in ministry and of service to our members and our community. Jesus asks nothing less of us.

We will deal with other issues as they arise. Each will be addressed with the overriding concern for the well being of our community and our congregation.

It is with great reluctance that we take these actions, and they are not taken lightly. However, we feel it is prudent for us to act with an abundance of caution and compassion for the people of our community, especially the most vulnerable. We know that some will not agree with these actions, and may find them excessive. We do not completely disagree, but at the end of the day, we would much rather be found overreacting, than not reacting swiftly enough, and putting people we know and love in danger. The one fact we do know is that we don’t know what will be. We do know a just and merciful God, and a gracious and loving Savior, and we lay ourselves and our congregation at the throne of grace.

Although it seems indelicate to include, we do need to remind ourselves that our ministry goes forward, and as such your offerings are still important. We are reminded that our offering is a giving of ourselves toward the ministry of caring for the least, a paying forward, if you will, and not payment for services rendered. Through your continued offering we are able to provide things that few others can: spiritual support, continued spiritual growth in creative ways, and a place where needs can be met. Offerings can be hand delivered, mailed, or sent through our on-line donation site that can be found on our web page and Facebook.

Please be in prayer for us, and for all our nations as we struggle through this time. We will persevere. We will have opportunities for spiritual growth as time goes on, and will communicate how that will happen as they become available. Most of all, let us be patient and loving toward one another, and encourage one another in all ways.

As both a sad and humorous side note: I never thought I would give up worship for Lent.