Steps Along the Way
Is the trend toward an increase in COVID cases going to continue in Illinois? Or are we able to contain a new surge? Churches are pondering these questions on a regular basis and reassessing their plans for in-person worship and other activities. We encourage you to consider the following:
- If you have not returned to in-person worship, resist the urge to feel pressured by what neighboring churches are doing. Many of our Blackhawk Presbyterian churches are still waiting, assessing month to month and not rushing. As Presbyterians we believe "Christ alone is the Lord or conscience” so our decisions are most faithfully guided by prayerful discernment that places the needs of the most vulnerable above our own.
- Even if you are meeting in your sanctuary, be prepared to shut down if conditions in your community or county warrant such action. Your decisions should be fluid, not set in stone. Consult your County Health Department website (or their Facebook page) for the latest COVID activity. Or consult IDPH county statistics, and COVID risk by county here.
- We have heard from several of our churches that returning worshipers are fewer than anticipated. Continue to offer remote options and look for ways to be inclusive of everyone - however they choose to participate.
- Rather than starting with in-person worship, try smaller groups first. A bible study, deacons meeting, or women's group could gather if firm protocols are in place (and followed!).
These words from Pastor Ray Lantz to the Gibson City congregation speak to us all:
"We may make mistakes along the way. There will surely be awkward moments as we adjust to new protocols and practices. There will be times of frustration, disappointment, and grief. We will have countless opportunities to exercise the spiritual gifts of patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
But there will also be blessings. There will be wonderful surprises, great celebrations, and moments of deep satisfaction. We will see glimpses of the new thing God is doing, even now. We will have opportunities to savor the spiritual gifts of love, joy, peace, generosity, and faithfulness."