June 21, 2021
Because we care.
Because we love.
These are the two most basic and precise reasons why we do the things we do. These are the fundamental building blocks of life and that which breathes air into our existence. Here at St. Nicholas Church, these are our corner stones, the very foundation of who we are and what we represent. Without love, "we are a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13: 1). If we did not care, well then, why bother doing anything whatsoever? "And do not forget to do good and share with others or with such sacrifices, God is pleased." (Hebrews 13: 16)
Recently, the State of Illinois moved to Phase Five with regards to Covid-19. This move provides a wider degree of freedom. Likewise, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago announced her plan for each of the 122 parishes and missions. Essentially, each church is to move forward according to their comfort and safety level. Each church is given the "green light" to do as they see fit, though with some overriding rules that are to be upheld.
The Bishop's Committee of St. Nicholas met recently, a rather hastily "put together meeting" at that, to implement our plan of action in response to the Diocese's and State's announcements.
Because we care.
Because we love.
We discussed, discerned and prayed upon the matter at hand and have decided the following:
June 2021: DIRECTIVES FOR COVID-19
Covid-19 has been our common adversary. The world has united so as to combat this virus that has robbed us of loved one, of time and from living our lives fully and free from fear of contracting this deadly virus. St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, as both a worshiping community and a place that has long since shared our common space with various Support Groups, has been "cautiously creative" in providing both a venue for worship and for meetings. With the added technological assistance of Zoom and Facebook, we have remained connected to one another. Now, as we are once again gathering for weekend "in person worship" and "in person meetings," we must remain diligent in our efforts at warding off the potential of infection while upholding the safety and protection of all who call St. Nicholas "home," especially the young, elderly, infirm and those who have not been vaccinated. To achieve our goal of Safety for All, we will recommend the following protocol to be observed throughout the entire St. Nicholas complex:
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR ALL:
1) Masks are to be worn by ALL who enter our building. Whether one has been vaccinated or not, so as to provide the fullest degree of safety, masks are to be worn. Those fully vaccinated may remove their mask while speaking at both worship and meetings.
2) The kitchen will remain closed until further notice. This also means no food is to be brought into the building and consumed inside.
3) Cleaning up after ourselves goes a long way at both keeping our facility free of debris, but also lessens the potential of disease. Please spray the sinks, countertops and bathroom doors at the end of the day.
WITH REGARDS TO WORSHIP:
1) Masks are to be worn throughout the entire building at all times. Fully vaccinated individuals who are reading or presiding at our worship may remove their mask while speaking.
2) We will continue to use wafers at Holy Communion and shared without direct contact with the Element.
3) Sharing from the chalice will not be allowed until conditions improve significantly.
4) Musically, during the summer months, there will be no choir and little, to no communal singing. Our plan and hope are to return to both choir and congregational singing later this year, perhaps by autumn.
We understand and appreciate that wearing a mask may not necessarily be favorable. However, wearing a mask will certainly help to stop the spread of the covid virus and may very well save the life of a loved one. We wear a mask because we care. We care because we love, unconditionally and without exception.
It is our hope and expectation that all will comply with these rules. Let us work together and help put an end to this pandemic. Each of has the means to make a difference. Let us all do our best, for the greater good and God's greater glory.
Peace and blessings,
Fr. Manuel (Manny) Borg
Vicar: St. Nicholas Episcopal Church
1072 Ridge Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL. 60007