UMCL and COVID-19 – May 23, 2020

 
 

Dear UMCL Church Family and Friends:

 

In this challenging time, we have seen, once again, the God-packed spirit of UMCL!  As always, our helpers help. Within one day of the stay at home order, we had a virtual worship service up and running and it has been amazing!  At last count, we had over 3,200 people witness our Easter service both during our livestream and later through our website. Our members continue to check in with each other to provide support of all kinds and many help in our community. Congregation members are donating their stimulus checks to people in need, our congregation has stepped up to keep the church in a sound financial position. This is a terrific testament to our UMCL family. A special THANK YOU to all who make this possible.  Love WILL keep us together!  

 

For the past five weeks, the safety committee has been preparing the stages for reopening our church. We have studied and reached out to congregations across the country to understand how they are handling policies and processes for safely reopening their church facilities.  We are blessed to find support from so many churches wanting to share their approach to the different challenges. Given this learning, here are the basic tenets to our planning: 

 

  1. We are aligned with the State of Illinois’s Restore Illinois guidelines. We will ensure that policies or processes put in place will emphasize the need for the safety and well being of our church family and staff first. 

 

2.We will not advise anything that puts our staff or church members at unnecessary risk or rush this process.

 

3.We will continue the virtual format for our services indefinitely. We will not return to worship in the sanctuary prior to implementation of Phase 4 or Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Guidelines.  

 

4. The safety committee will provide the necessary guidance and coordination needed by our congregation, staff, committees and groups as we transition through the phases and into the building.

 

5. As we enter Phase 3 of the state plan, committee chairs and small group leaders should begin to put together detailed plans if they are requesting to use the building. The building will continue to be cleaned but on a limited schedule.

 

6. For now, the church building will remain closed except to staff and those assisting staff with specific ministry needs.

 

We will share more information as it becomes available.  We ask for your patience and support throughout this process.  This is a scenario for which there is no playbook.   While we all want to be together as a church family, we must respect the realities of the COVID-19 virus and take a very deliberate and cautious approach to show that each and every member of our congregation is the most important asset we have. 

Prayers and Blessing to all,

 

The Safety Committee

Mike Foley, Dave Aumuller, Herb Spooner, John Aten, Steve March, Tom Seibert, Jay Carr