COVID-19 Response Task Force Introduction
In an effort to support our congregations and pastors in this time when things are rapidly changing and we are all stretched into new ways of doing ministry, our Council has formed a COVID-19 Response Task Force to provide information, support, and avenues for sharing with each other. The Task Force will stay in place as long as necessary.

Communication
This is the first of regular communications you will receive from the Task Force. The updates will include information that will help you with worship and communion, offering and stewardship, government and PCUSA resources and news, as well as general tips we are all learning as we go. All email updates will be provided with “COVID-19 Task Force Update” in the subject line so you can easily find it in your e-mailbox.

Care and Share
We also want to care for you and strengthen our networks within the presbytery for sharing of ideas and resources. We have started regular Zoom meetings for pastors to check in, care for one another, ask questions, and share resources. These will continue. If your church does not have regular pastoral care, another representative is more than welcome. Let us know and we will include them in our invitations.

What Do You Need?
We are eager to know what you need. The “care and share” Zoom meetings are a great vehicle to share those needs, but we also encourage you to let us know your needs by contacting the Presbytery office at any time. We want to be a resource for you.

What’s Pressing Now? Embracing Grace
Many of you are feeling some relief now, having gotten over the first major hurdle of figuring out remote worship. Some are tweaking what is now in place, others pretty well established, and some might still be wondering what to do about this. Whatever state you’re in, know that it’s okay! Try to avoid comparing yourselves to others and instead focus on the needs, culture, and resources of your own community of faith as you strive to serve God and your neighbor.

We are all looking toward Easter, all with anxiety and sadness and some with energy around developing creative ways to celebrate remotely. Wherever you find yourself on the continuum of preparation, receive some grace. Easter can be celebrated at any time! In fact, we believers celebrate every Sunday. Many congregations are maintaining a forward-looking posture and already thinking about the day everyone returns to the sanctuary, with plans to celebrate Easter Sunday on that day. Imagine it – we will truly feel the power of resurrection when that day comes!

So, do make April 12 th an Easter celebration, but don’t feel pressure to make it the remote-worship equivalent of what you would do ordinarily. But if you plan for a big Easter Sunday celebration when we get back together, do communicate your plans to your congregation.

Friends, you are God’s beloved. God will give us all we need for this time, and we are here to help with that. Please be in touch.

In Christ,
Your COVID-19 Response Task Force:

  • Nancy Dolan (Executive Bridge Presbyter)
  • Eric Heinekamp (Stated Clerk)
  • Chuck Johnson (Presbytery Moderator)
  • Catherine Martin (COM Moderator)
  • Alex Regets (Mission Committee)
  • Barb D’Souza (Rockford Westminster, Commissioned Pastor)
  • Ron Barkby (Elgin First, Elder) 
RESOURCES
A sometimes bewildering array of resources are available with just a click.
We again suggest you start at the PC(USA) COVID-19 page. They serve as a clearinghouse for a variety of best practices, ideas, opinions and even the recent congressional legislation (CARES Act).

Tricia Dykers Koenig, PC(USA) Associate for Mid Council Relations, has posted a  COVID-19 Resources for Mid Councils live document  with more resources. It is updated daily. You can even learn how to say "Peace Be With You" in sign language and find a link to online AA meetings.

Please email the Presbytery office with your questions, concerns or suggestions. We are working from home and not monitoring the office phone.