UMCL and COVID-19 Guidelines

UMCL In-Person Worship Protocols

On Sunday, September 13, we will open the sanctuary for in-person worship during our 9:30am live-stream worship service.  However, it’s important to realize that it will not be “back to normal.”  It will not look like worship did a year ago.  It will look like what you watch at home through Facebook or Youtube.  There will be no bulletins or congregational singing.  There will be no hugs or handshakes.  There will be no lingering after the worship service. 

The health and safety of all involved remains a high priority for us.  Therefore…

…If you don’t feel well, please stay home

…If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-like symptoms within the last 14 days, please stay home

…If you have traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days, please stay home.


If you choose to join us in person, please…

…Plan to arrive no later than 9:25am

…Enter through the parking lot doors only

…Pause for a thermal scan

…Wear a mask

…Use hand sanitizer

…Practice Social Distancing

…Use Fellowship Hall Restrooms only

…Enter the sanctuary through the center aisle only

…Sit on a yellow dot

…Keep children with parents (there will be no nursery or in-person Sunday school)

…Exit the sanctuary through the side aisles only

…Move directly to the parking lot at the end of the service.


We know the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us in one way or another, so if joining together in the sanctuary will be a positive and hopeful thing for you, you are welcome to join us.  We also know that many people are not comfortable gathering for worship at this point. That is perfectly alright. On-line worship will continue. 
Either way, we join in spirit together.

What Phase 4 Means for UMCL

We are all celebrating the downward trend of our local COVID-19 numbers, despite many states experiencing significant increases in infections and deaths.  It’s a good reminder that “Open does not mean over.”


The UMCL Safe Church Committee has been monitoring all aspects of the pandemic, including recommended protocols for preventing the spread of the disease and the emotional effects of isolation.  The good news is we will be loosening some restrictions as the State of Illinois moves into Phase 4!  Major changes include allowing outdoor events in the Grove and allowing limited Small Group meetings in the building.


We recognize the toll that isolation is having on many folks’ mental health.  Humans need community, and the church is made to be together.  In response, we have planned a series of outdoor prayer meetings to be held in the Grove (the field to the north of the church parking lot).  These prayer meetings have been designed to allow UMCL folks to gather together and to engage in important and current topics.  We will meet four times over the next two months.

  • July 1 – Race with Brett Saunders, Director, Lake County Young Life
  • July 15 – Changing Society and Hearts with Dr. Mark Teasdale, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • August 5 – Methodism – Splits, Mergers and General Conference with Dr. Barry Bryant, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • August 19 – Confirmation


Social distancing and the wearing of masks will be required at these events.  Please note that the building will be closed during these events and the restrooms will not be available. Please bring your own lawn chair or a blanket to sit on.  Families should sit together.  No childcare will be provided.


We will continue to explore how to return to in-person worship on Sunday mornings, but for now, Sunday morning worship will remain as an on-line experience only.  Worship in person is problematic because the State of Illinois and the Northern Illinois Conference (UMC) continue to put the following restrictions on worship:

  • No nursery or Children’s Sunday school  
  • No congregational singing 
  • No passing of the peace
  • No bulletins or hymnals 
  • No passing of the offering plate 
  • Social Distancing and masks.


In addition to outdoor large gatherings, the Safe Church Committee is currently determining room capacities for small groups held in the building.  Each room will have a designated maximum capacity to allow for social distancing.  Rooms will be assigned through the church office based on the size of the group (call Melinda at 847.362.2112 to reserve a room).  The Grove may be used for group meetings, but also needs to be reserved through the church office.


Small Group participants using the building will be required to sign in and out of the building (to allow for contract tracing if an infection is reported), wear masks, practice social distancing and wipe down all surfaces at the conclusion of their meeting.  Restrooms will be available to groups, but only one person is allowed in the restroom at a time.  No shared food is allowed, and use of the kitchen is not allowed. Reducing the use of air conditioning and opening the windows is also encouraged.


All spaces used within the building will be disinfected once a week through a fogging agent.  If we become aware that someone using the building has been exposed to COVID-19 we will increase the disinfecting protocol.


The Staff will be gradually moving back into the building over the next few weeks. But access to the building will still be limited.  Please call ahead if you need inside the building.


We are not all the way there yet, but we are moving in a positive direction!


We hope to see you all face-to-face, soon!


Jay Carr, Senior Pastor


For The Safe Church Committee

Mike Foley, Chair                                John Aten

Tom Seibert                                         Herb Spooner
Dave Aumuller                                    Steve March