COVID-19 Response Task Force
May 29, 2020
How ARE You?
The pandemic is taking its toll on all of us. The fears of job loss, of getting sick, and losing loved ones are ever present. These, along with loss of income, crippling loneliness, tension in the home, or workplace stress are just some of the elements of COVID-19 which may wear us down. Please encourage your congregation, neighbors, and friends, to seek help. And don’t be wary of seeking help for yourself too. The following resources may be useful for your use and communication.

Mental health resources:

Illinois Dept of Human Services: Help is Here: Talk to Someone

National Association on Mental Illness:  COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
Phase What?!
Updated Guidance for Illinois Places of Worship

As Illinois moves this weekend into Phase 3, many of us are already confused with what that means. Gratefully, the Governor’s office has released detailed guidance which your sessions will find extremely helpful in their planning.

We again urge all congregations to follow these guidelines and not return to your buildings until you have developed detailed plans and communication strategies to ensure a safe space for ministry. Please continue to monitor local conditions with your health departments and also search for solutions to include those who cannot join you when you re-open your buildings.

We celebrate with you the anticipation of the day we worship together in person!
Sing (Safely) to the Lord!

The PCUSA COVID-19 webpage has recently posted updated research and guidance for singing: Church Music and Covid-19 A Response from the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. Because of the excess of particles emitted through singing, church leaders will need to be informed by the most up to date, reliable guidance before beginning any congregation or group singing.
What We ARE Doing!

It’s easy to get stuck on all the things we can’t or shouldn’t do in this time, but our resilience and creativity as resurrection people has fueled tremendous innovation that has allowed ministry to continue and grow across our presbytery. While in-person worship is still out of reach for most of us, what are other ways you can gather safely for the human connection we all crave?

Phase 3 may be the time to start a small (10 or less) group ministry that can meet, well-spaced, in your church or homes. Small prayer groups, Bible studies, and support ministries harken back to the energy of the early church and may provide much needed social/emotional connection and a lasting boost for the life of your church. Maybe your congregation would enjoy the recent emergence of parking lot worship, from your cars. Hearing each other’s voices, waving to each other from your car windows, and greeting the pastor across the parking lot may be just what you need to endure the next phase of waiting.

When you run into a "want" that’s followed by a “can’t” - think of that as a nudge to try something else. In whatever ways you experiment, please plan ahead under the advisement of public health experts, and look out for your neighbor by staying more than 6 feet apart and wearing a mask. 

May the fires of Pentecost ignite our passions and energy to press on
when we feel like retreating or giving up,
so that instead of looking for us to step back into sanctuaries,
the world sees Christ’s followers in the midst of suffering and injustice,
working for mercy and justice with kindness and love,
and sharing with all the hope we know in Christ. 

Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

Recommendations for a Safe Return to Worship - helpful checklist courtesy of Church Mutual

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

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