COVID-19 Response Task Force
June 5, 2020
Our communities and country are enveloped in the dramatic intersection of the multiple crises of: pandemic, the vivid demonstration of racism, economic distress, and deep political division. We turn to God to come to our aid and begin to heal the wounds.
We offer this prayer, lovingly crafted by Elder Ron Barkby, Elgin First.
You are encouraged to use it in worship or share.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Good and gracious Creator of all life itself…

We come before you in a time of darkness and confusion,
struggling to understand what is happening in our world, trying to 
summon the strength to find answers, trying not to feel hopeless,
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

In the quiet of the night, in the stillness of the moment,
we remember that you are with us and that 
we can call on you to help us to do your work,
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

As humankind endures indescribable losses, 
with violence and hate replacing compassion, we need 
now more than ever to be both the peacemakers and the justice seekers 
that you intended your people to be,
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We ask that we be given strength and wisdom to remember
that the darkness will never overcome your light, that 
humankind will have the knowledge to 
find an answer to the global pandemic and viruses of injustice, 
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, for those we know, and those we do not know,
guide us to share your love with all who have lost family, friends, neighbors,
to the invisible virus and the visible violence, knowing that
we can reliably tell all that you are with us in this time of suffering, 
transforming the darkness into light,
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Returning to In-Person Worship
Some sample plans for your consideration

Now in Phase 3 of the state's plan to Restore Illinois, churches are in various stages of developing their specific plans for reentry to in-person worship and other activities. While each congregation is unique in their local situation, we have tried to share a variety of resources to guide your decisions. See our web page for a recap of previously-shared information. Today we offer some actual sample plans you might want to consider borrowing or re-tooling for your situation (ordered by size of congregation from small to large - church names changed).


Thank you to the anonymous churches who shared their plans!
Crafting Your Plan for Return to the Building

As you continue to make plans, please revisit the recently published IDPH COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services document and the CDC Guidance for Communities of Faith.

In your plans, you are especially encouraged to:
  • Pay non-judgmental attention to those who will not be comfortable coming back, finding compassionate and creative ways for them to stay connected with and without internet access
  • Devise contingency plans for what to do if COVID numbers spike in your county or community and we return to shelter in place
  • Be prepared to react decisively and calmly if someone in your congregation is diagnosed COVID-19 positive and may or may not have had contact with others
FINANCIAL RESOURCES
Related to PPP Loans:
  • Loan repayment is looking more and more complex - you are encouraged to contact your local lender for guidance as soon as possible.


GENERAL RESOURCES
COVID-19 and the PC(USA): How presbyteries, congregations and worshiping communities are responding to COVID-19 challenges and innovating by finding new ways to be the Church - new (just published by PC(USA) Research)


Blackhawk Presbytery COVID-19 page seeks examples of things you or your church are doing to "be the church". Short submissions welcome!

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