Again, I want to express my thanks and gratitude for your ministry during this difficult time. We have seen a seismic shift in how churches and pastors are leading with creativity and innovation. You are to be commended in this work.
However, I do want to take a moment to visit with you where we are currently and what my expectation for you as you conduct your ministry. Under the Governor's Executive Order, establishing the State of Illinois as a Shelter in Place state, the following guidelines must be observed:
- Offiices and church facilities remain closed. That means pastors are not to be using their office in the church to hold office hours nor for work. We have the technology where parishioners can reach the pastor at home and other tasks can also be done from home. A trip to the office to get a file or a book is one thing; establishing a trip that is extended violates the spirit and letter of the Order which is stay home.
- An update to the Governor's order does provide for the recording and broadcasting of Online Worship. But the guidelines also include social distancing of 6 feet or more between persons and no more than 10 assembled for recording and broadcasting. Those numbers are set by the Centers for Disease Control.
- The Governor's Order has made provision for churches to be able to continue ministries such as holding blood drives, food pantries and other charitable services such as these.
I understand that these restrictions run counter to the way many do ministry but these must be observed. I ask you to lead in the witness you bear for your congregation in following the guidelines. They are there for a reason and the sooner we follow them, the sooner we move toward normalcy. The care of your people, including you, are my utmost concern.