Dear Chapel Family,
I’m sure that you have become aware that Illinois’ COVID numbers have been rising significantly over the past several days. This feels like a significantly larger wave than the past two. It is also quite possible that the Governor may move us back to phase 3, potentially as soon as this week. This will undoubtedly be difficult for all of us over the holiday season. At the same time, I continue to be greatly encouraged and grateful to God for the excitement and energy that we have experienced as a church community as we have begun to regularly regather again. I am thankful for the impact we have been making as a church over the past several months online, in-person and in our communities. We want to continue moving forward in all the things we are doing as a church yet feel the tension of rising COVID numbers. In the midst of all of that, here are a few things we want you to know…
We are open. Our live and online services are growing. I have had many people remind me over the past several months how essential these experiences have been in their lives and relationships. Some people have asked me if greater restrictions are imposed, will we remain open for in-person services? The answer is yes. We are considered an essential organization and are well within the guidelines that have been set and likely would be even with further restrictions. Like other essential organizations, we are and will continue to provide our ministry both online and in-person.
We are working to minimize the risk of live gatherings. In addition to all the thorough cleaning procedures and safety practices that we have put in place since COVID began, for the next several weeks we will be tightening up our practices around mask usage at our live services on the weekend. Specifically, we will be asking people to wear a mask until they can be properly socially distanced in their seats. This will include asking people to put their masks on if they get up during or after the service. While we realize this can be inconvenient, we think this makes sense given the rising numbers.
We will also be changing our mask practices during student ministry events. We want to mirror the additional practices we are putting in place for the next several weeks at our live weekend services at student nights throughout the week. Throughout the night, students will be asked to wear a mask until they are seated in locations where they can be properly socially distanced.
We are excited about all that God is doing in our gatherings and in our relationships. We also look forward with great anticipation to experiencing God together throughout the holidays. I know that the next several months will still have a very different feel for us, but I am also confident that God is in our midst and is at work in our lives, even during COVID. May the God of every good blessing keep you safe and pour out his favor on you and your family this holiday season. I am looking forward to connecting with all of you whether online or in person this Christmas season!