The Governor’s office has announced that the whole state of Illinois is on track to enter Phase 4 of the reopening plan this Friday, June 26th. This would mean that gatherings of 50 or fewer are not only reluctantly permitted but positively endorsed by state guidance. In view of this trajectory, we plan, Lord willing, to re-convene for public worship this coming Sunday, June 28th, 10:30 am at our normal location, 500 St. Charles Street in Elgin.
Because we still want to be considerate of our surrounding community and cautious with our own most vulnerable members, though, and to minimize the risk of contributing to a second wave, we are planning for a soft opening. What that means is that we will resume our gathering by offering the same abbreviated services that we’ve been offering online. We plan to observe social distancing as well, which means we will rope off every other pew and encourage families to remain together. We encourage you to bring your own masks at your discretion, though we’ll provide them at the church as well, and wearing a mask will be totally voluntary, not mandatory. We’ll also provide hand sanitizer for you to apply before and after the service. We’ve already sanitized the auditorium, and we have plans for sanitizing the space after the services (if you’d like to help with that, please see Danny Gonzalez). To minimize unnecessary exposure, we will encourage you to proceed outside the building for post-service conversation and fellowship immediately following the service, instead of lingering inside the building afterward as we normally do.
If you are 65 or over, and especially if you have a pre-existing respiratory or cardiac condition, we still advise great caution in deciding whether or not to attend yet. The last thing we want is to see you contract a life-threatening illness because you came to church. So while our heart is to see all our elderly members attend, we understand if you cannot, and we caution you that you will be attending at your own risk. Please take this guidance seriously before deciding whether or not to resume attendance.
If you are a parent, we do not plan to offer childcare at this time, since social distancing is still recommended and any childcare environment will find that practice…challenging. So if you have children ages 0-4, please make preparations to have your children sit with you for the duration of the abbreviated service. If you don’t have children ages 0-4, please arrive ready to be patient with perhaps a few more distractions during the service than usual.
We do NOT plan to resume our 9:30 am adult ed class yet since that would double our exposure together on Sunday mornings. However, we WOULD like to resume our Sunday evening prayer gathering at 5 pm, though without childcare, and we would also like to resume our Wednesday evening gathering for Bible Study at 7 pm next Wednesday, July 1. However, if too many parents find attendance at our evening gatherings prohibitive due to lack fo childcare, we are happy to reconsider that plan or plan to gather at the church with a Livestream or a Zoom call for those who need it. Perhaps we can have conversations over those evening service plans at tonight’s Zoom Bible Study or briefly following the Sunday morning service.
We are eager to be with you again for public worship, and we look forward to seeing you this coming Sunday morning, Lord willing.
for the elders