Good afternoon, Emmanuelites. As you may have heard, the State of Illinois is imposing additional mitigation measures tomorrow in suburban Cook County (Region 10) due to a sustained increase in COVID-related hospitalizations along with an increasing test positivity rate.
In consultation with the Wardens, we have decided it would be prudent to suspend in-person worship for the time being. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and I want to thank those who have shared their opinions on the matter with us. But we feel that the church has an obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us and to be good role models of Christ's love for humankind.
This time, however, we will be doing things a little differently. Instead of having a service of Morning Prayer via Zoom, the service participants (myself, Deacon Bill, George, etc.) will still hold a Holy Eucharist which will be streamed live over Facebook. The service will look just like the ones we have been holding recently, just with far fewer people in attendance. I hope this will allow at least some semblance of continuity and normalcy. We invite you to participate at home, and you can download the service bulletin each week on the church website.
The schedule will look like this:
9:00am to 9:15am - Social time on Zoom at this link
(Since this is the first Sunday of the month, the kids are invited to stay on Zoom for age-appropriate Bible stories and activities.)
10:00am to 11:00am - Social time and formation at this link
As planned, the formation program will be all about bishops since we are planning to elect the next Bishop of Chicago in December. We will talk about why we have bishops, what they do, and ask for you to tell Emmanuel's delegates what characteristics you are looking for in our next bishop. This is a very important time in the life of our diocese, and I hope you'll give us an hour of your morning for the next couple of Sundays.
Also, please note that this Sunday we will celebrate the feast of All Saints. As has become our custom of late, we will be lighting candles for all those whom we love but see no longer (to steal a beautiful phrase from our Book of Common Prayer). I will be lighting candles in the church on your behalf during the service but you are encouraged to have one or more candles at home to light during the service as well.
It is my prayer that these mitigation measures do not need to be kept in place for very long. But if it appears that this will continue for more than a couple of weeks, we will reassess our response.