A Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Monthly news & updates
September 2020
From the Pastor's Desk . . .
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month’s newsletter is being sent out a little late because one of my children tested positive for Covid. When the council and I made the decision to begin in-person worship when Chicago entered phase 4, I began getting tested for Covid weekly at the site on Forest Preserve Drive, and my family would join me most of the time. 

We drove to Gettysburg on August 9th and returned on August 13th. We were all tested on August 18th, and the results of that test showed that the entire family was negative. Since we test weekly, we tested on August 27th. On August 31st we got the results: four of us negative, one of the kids positive. There are no symptoms at all. We would not know otherwise. We only know because we test regularly. 

Since I tested negative, I am assuming that I was still negative at worship on August 30th. However, we cannot be 100% sure, so we did contact tracing for everyone in worship and shared the news with them before making any public announcement. I wear a mask with an N95 filter in it, and I did not take my mask off the entire time I was in the building on the 30th.

My family took precautions. Masks. Hand washing. No indoor dining. No large gatherings, using hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes ... It seems this virus doesn’t need much, or at least that was our case.

So far, the rest of the family is negative, but we will get tested again and again to be sure we continue to test negative. We are getting tested today (September 2nd) and will share results when we have them. The child is quarantined in the home. I'm thankful my kids are old enough to do that and understand why. The child has their own bathroom, and no one else is using it. The child is using disposable dishes and wears an N95 mask when there is a need to leave the quarantine room.
But now my child has a virus we are still learning about. Even if my child doesn't get really sick, the virus is with them. This is what makes me nervous, for their future health as well as their health over the next few weeks. But because we test we know that we have an asymptomatic carrier and a possible future health concern to look out for. Otherwise, if we didn't test regularly, we would be exposing people to the virus. And this is exactly why we tested regularly when Acacia Park began in person worship.

When Chicago decided on phases and triggers for the phases, the Acacia Park council made the decision to follow the guidelines for in-person worship. When we entered phase 3, we started a small meditative worship. When we entered phase 4, we started Sunday morning in-person worship limited to 50 people or less. Chicago made a matrix for going down phases as well, and the council made the decision to go down phases along with the city (since Norridge is surrounded by the city). Chicago’s matrix is 5% positive infection rate for a week to go down a phase. As of this writing, Norridge is at a 9% infection rate (https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-viz-covid-19-cases-by-zip-code-20200407-aikakoyycje4fbqvferzjffkg4-htmlstory.html), but keep in mind that the data changes rapidly. I write this to encourage you all to take precautions. 

We will have worship through Zoom for the next two weeks (September 6th and 13th). Council meets on September 10th, and we will discuss worship moving forward and share the decision after the meeting. My family has to quarantine for 10 days at least. If we get another positive test result, it will restart the “clock.”

This virus is fierce. Testing only brings out positive cases and helps us manage the virus. We cannot let political talking points make us feel the virus is not severe. PLEASE wear masks; wash hands; keep out of large groups, and if you did make a decision to do something a little risky - get tested. We are lucky to have a free, state-run testing site in our neighborhood. Take advantage of it. We do these things to take care of our neighbors.

I appreciate the prayers for my family. Thank you!

In Christ,
Pastor Meagan
Voting in the time of Covid-19
Don't Wait to Request a Mail-In Ballot for the
November 3rd General Election
The mail-in ballot or absentee ballot has been around for a long time, but this year, according to the WTTW website, the state of Illinois is strongly encouraging voters “to cast their ballots by mail rather than in person amid safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic — and a possible surge in infections this fall” (https://news.wttw.com/2020/08/04/5-things-to-know-about-voting-by-mail). If you are interested in voting by mail, we’d like to help you with that process.

To request your ballot, visit the Cook County Clerk’s website at https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/agency/vote-mail. For church family and friends with Chicago addresses, you will want to visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners' website at https://chicagoelections.gov/en/vote-by-mail.html.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s website, all registered suburban Cook County voters may request a mail-in ballot using the online application. To complete the application, you will need:
  • your driver’s license or state identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number;
  • the address where you would like your ballot mailed; and
  • an email address.

If you would rather apply for your ballot on paper or if you don’t have one of the online application requirements, you can download a mail-in ballot application, complete it, and send it to the Cook County Clerk's office. All requests for mail-in ballots must be received by October 29, 2020. Your completed ballot must be postmarked no later than November 3, 2020 and received at the Cook County Clerk's office by November 17, 2020.

Finally, if you prefer not to return your completed ballot by USPS, Suburban Cook County plans to have ballot drop-off boxes available at early voting sites. Norridge Village Hall is an early voting site. According to the WGN website, “the ballots will be collected daily on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (depending on location). The ballots will also be time stamped to make sure they are counted” (https://wgntv.com/news/chicago-news/illinois-counties-installing-ballot-drop-off-boxes-ahead-of-election/). 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the church office.
Book Study
Wednesdays, September 16, 23, 30; October 7, 14, and 21 beginning at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom

Join Pastor Meagan as we read Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. by Lenny Duncan, the unlikeliest of pastors. From the publisher: formerly incarcerated, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the US: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the church to take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.

You can purchase a copy of the book at Broadleaf Books or Thrift Books. The church also has some copies available.

Join the Zoom Book Study meeting:

Meeting ID: 881 6753 1620
Passcode: 862913
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Meeting ID: 881 6753 1620
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From the ELCA
Seeds Monthly, August 2020
Government Social Message
The ELCA Church Council has unanimously adopted a new social message: “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy.” This project was called for at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, with an intention that it be ready to read before the national election this fall. The social message defines government as a gift from God that can also be abused and misused. It also delves into how we can view civic engagement as Lutherans. You can find the social message and study guide in English here. A Spanish translation of the message is also available.

Season of Creation
Season of Creation 2020, a series of weekly devotions for September 1st through October 4th, is now available! The season, which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, is a time to join with the global Christian community in renewing, repairing and restoring commitments to God, to one another and to all creation. For the four churches that prepared the resource — the ELCA, The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada — this is also a time for strengthening relationships with one another. Through Scripture, hymns, advocacy and action, these weekly devotions, which begin Sept. 6, invite people to live out their vocations as stewards of creation.
Treasurer's Report
As of July 2020
Acacia Park Community Announcements
Zoom Worship and Virtual Coffee and . . . begins Saturday, September 6th. From approximately 9:30-10:00 a.m. we will share in worship over Zoom. Constant Contact self-guided worship bulletins will arrive in your email inboxes on Sunday mornings before service is set to begin. After worship, please consider staying to catch up with friends and neighbors during Coffee and . . .

The Zoom room will be open for two hours. Join us anytime between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. for as long as you would like. You can call in or video chat with a smartphone or computer.

Join our Zoom Worship and Virtual Coffee and . . .

Meeting ID: 847 5963 2088
Passcode: 554322
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,84759632088#,,,,,,0#,,554322# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

Meeting ID: 847 5963 2088
Passcode: 554322
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdn5yZ92eq

2020 Community Directory: This year, the 2020 Acacia Park Community Directory will be distributed by email so that you may download and print your own copies at home. Hard copies of the directory will be sent by USPS to members who do not have email. Watch for your directory to arrive after the Labor Day holiday.

Walk to End Alzheimer's®, October 10, 2020: Health and safety are the event's top priorities this year, so it will not be a large, in-person gathering. Instead, participants are invited to walk in small teams of friends and family while others in the community do the same. For more information about this year’s event and how you can participate, visit alz.org/walk.
Prayer Requests
Allie: nurse at Lutheran General Hospital
Jackie: nurse
Susan Mari: medical student
Shar & George Wyatt: loss of loved one
Katie, Gene, Sean, Megan: grocery store employees
Kelly Smith: nurse
Diana O’Connell: 911 dispatcher
Rich O’Connell: firefighter
Sheri, Lauren & Dan: Costco employees
Carlie Figliuolo: paramedic
Haley Stec: paramedic
Frank Stec: paramedic
Erv Siemers: health
Family of Doris Mellinger: condolences
Stewart: general prayers
J.: for the promotion she is seeking
Nettie Richards
Burse Wince
Bonnie Wince
Police and correctional officers: general prayers
If you have loved ones working in hospitals, grocery stores, or other essential-worker capacities, please share their names so that we may lift them up in prayer. You may also share other prayer concerns such as lost jobs, health, anxiety, etc. Email your prayer requests to: pastormeagan@gmail.com or acaciaparkchurch@gmail.com.
Psalm 90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—O prosper the work of our hands!