March 27, 2020
Gathering Together
God wanted Moses to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. Moses was afraid and gave excuse after excuse, one being that he stuttered. Moses told God, "Oh, my Lord, Please send
someone else". - Exodus 4:13

Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today".
- Exodus 14:13

The story of Moses is the story of a man who led a “Plan B” life. It was not the life he anticipated, but it became the life he embraced – the life he lived. 
All of us are currently living a “Plan B” life. We did not expect to be quarantined to our homes. We did not expect to be working from home for an unknown amount of time. We did not expect our children to be home from school for the month of March, into April and perhaps beyond. We did not expect our college seniors to have their graduation cancelled. We did not expect to be in this situation, suspending daily activities as most of us have known them. 

But, like Moses, resilience in the face of adversity, is also a form of hope.  

Approximately two years ago, the Church formed an emergency preparedness team to develop plans for various scenarios we might face as a Congregation. You may recall last September, we had a “fire drill” after a Sunday service. This was part of the plan. Additional procedures regarding security to protect children during Sunday School were refined. This was part of the plan. On Sunday, March 15th, we were to have practiced a tornado drill, another part of the plan.
A month ago, discussions between our Clergy and lay leadership triggered our emergency preparedness team to reconvene to examine our practices and identified strategies to ensure that our Congregation and staff would be safe in light of the rapidly developing Coronavirus spread. It was now time for “Plan B”.

“Plan B”

From the very first steps of our “Plan B”, Pastors Seth and Kendra, as well as the staff had one focus; “How can we best serve the various needs of our Congregation, if we cannot meet face to face?”
This became the guiding light in all decision making.

It was agreed that while traditional worship and programs/community functions would be temporarily suspended, the Church’s mission work and business functions would continue. The wheels of “Plan B” were set into motion.  

Part of our worship team (Pastor Seth, Pastor Kendra, Michele Hecht and Jeff Haeger), pulled together our first solely online service in a period of three days, in time for the March 15th service. This "first" virtual broadcast also required technical guidance by Dave Hecht with Tech Team volunteers Tricia Kerns and Deb Wenninger. Sherry Flugel was also in attendance to upload the link immediately following the taping, so the Congregation could view the service during one of our regular service times. Virtual worship services will continue every Sunday for the foreseeable future at 10:30 a.m. with a YouTube link emailed to the Congregation. 

Pastor Seth is conducting weekly “ Fireside Chats” and Pastor Kendra is emailing a daily Lenten Devotional to the Congregation. When planned focus groups were cancelled, the Connection Committee modified its outreach plan to email each member, asking how each they were doing and what the Church could do to help or support them.

Some of our PADS volunteers (Linda Davenport, Andy Ginger, Tricia Kerns, Laura Shellady and Deb Wenninger) quickly identified procedures to safeguard volunteers and guests on Sunday, March 15th. The PADS organization has since suspended hosting sites for the foreseeable future and is making other interim arrangements for the guests. (For more information, see Ways to Serve). 

A Property & Grounds team (Andy Ginger, Wojciech Gracz and Jose Lopez) identified how to ramp up cleaning procedures throughout the building, and they are working on the installing an external drop-box to help facilitate the delivery of mail, packages and other items sent to the Church.

As you might expect, our staff has demonstrated strong leadership. This includes Catherine Curtis’s virtual Sunday School activities and creative delivery with support from Cathy Basso and Karrie Sim. Youth Director Danny Harman has developed online youth group experiences to keep our children engaged and connected. Sherry Flugel has proactively modified communications to the Congregation and will soon launch a new app for the Congregation, which will allow us to interact with the Church through our smartphones! Joyce Driver and Laura Shellady are “keeping the ship afloat” by running the office and business management of the Church.  

Our Church Council carried on to address important business last week through an all-electronic-based meeting and voting portal. Our four primary Committees (Connections, Finance, Property & Grounds, and Service & Justice) continued their work this week with the help of online meeting software. 

Our Music Director Michele Hecht is finding ways to keep our choirs connected. Her Music Makers Ministry team has created small Choir Circle email groups to help choir members share and stay in contact. Also, watch for Musical Mondays, a special enewsletter to keep you connected to FCCGE in-worship music. In Michele’s weekly Choir Connection message this week, she shared a special video she created with a song from JusticeChoir.orgListen here and we hope you are inspired! 

Talk about resilience!

None of us know how long we will find ourselves implementing “Plan B”. But, what we can tell you is that our Church continues its work and is here for you.

Each month in our sharing we have tried to feature different aspects of FCCGE in our Moderator Moment within the action framework of: Ways to Serve, Ways to Support and Ways to Work. This month is no different, as we hope to offer ways for you to be informed and to get involved virtually and from the safety of your home. 
PADS, NIFB and Glen Ellyn Food Pantry
Be the Church Annual Fund 2020-21 and Current Year Giving
Stay Connected
While our world is changing, we will persevere through our resilience! We send prayers of comfort, peace and well-being to you during this most challenging time. May you and yours stay safe and healthy. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any ideas or suggestions on any aspect of Church life, especially in this time of “Plan B”.

With a hopeful heart,

535 Forest Ave.