February 4 Important Update Regarding In Person Worship
February 4, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we approach eleven months of living in the Covid-19 pandemic and live through a typical northern Illinois winter, the question on the minds of many is “When can I get back to being with all the people I miss?” And in the context of our life together, “When will we be back all together in Church (aka the sanctuary at 994 N. 5th Ave.)?”
We are tired of not being able to gather in person for prayer, singing, and breaking bread together. However, our patience with living in this pandemic is perhaps the only thing that has really changed to date. Our building remains the same: it is not well ventilated; the only way to bring in fresh air is to leave open the windows and doors. Vaccines have not been widely administered. New and more contagious strains of Covid-19 are presumed to be present in our community.
The wardens and I are in regular conversation about these realities, and this is also a topic at every one of our monthly Vestry meetings. I am in contact with our diocesan staff as well as to the most recent guidelines for gathering. With all this in mind, we will not be gathering for in-person worship or meetings extending through at least the end of February 2021.
As we approach March, we will re-evaluate based on the latest information from the Illinois Department of Health, the Diocese of Chicago, and the weather forecast. When the weather is warm enough for us to open windows and doors for air circulation and for attendees to be comfortable (even if needing to wear a coat) we will have in-person services with limited attendance once again as we did from August to early November 2020. We will also at that time be able to consider the possibilities for gathering outside for worship, fellowship, and formation. We are already discussing a variety of possibilities for limited in-person gatherings outdoors or with windows wide open at Holy Week and Easter (March 28-April 4, 2021). Much of this will be weather dependent. So say some prayers for sunshine and warmth!
We also continue to thoughtfully prepare opportunities to gather remotely online for prayer, fellowship, and formation/education. Our staff and I are in the midst of preparing a Zoom Ash Wednesday service (February 17th at 7PM), a Zoom Healing Prayer Service (Thursday, March 18th at 7PM), and remote Holy Week and Easter services and online gatherings, as well as our weekly livestream on Sundays of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with Home Holy Communion pick-up.
I commend to you this prayer from Evening Prayer in The Book of Common Prayer (125): O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God’s peace be with you,