Hey Chapel family,

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend. In our house, we did our best to bless Tammy and make it a special day for her – and I think it went well.

It seems so long ago that we were able to gather together as a church family. Honestly, I can’t wait to be together again with all of you as soon as possible.

On an encouraging note, Governor Pritzker has allowed gatherings of up to ten people for religious purposes. In accordance with his plan, we have made the following decisions.

Our buildings are now open for ministry. We will be providing spaces for prayer, communion and groups to meet. We are open to meet with people who need help or assistance. Additionally, we will begin in-person Chapel Students small groups again for those families who would like to have them available for their kids.

More broadly, we can all meet in groups of ten. Groups can gather together at a church facility, or on someone’s lawn Ravinia-style, tailgate-style in a parking lot at one of our facilities, and even in homes. In that vein, we will be adding in-person watch parties in people’s homes and even at our campuses for our online weekend services for those who want to get together with others. In all of these, we will be holding to strict safety protocols including masks, cleaning, hand-washing and spacing.

Please pray for our elders and pastors as we prayerfully think through our path towards a full re-opening. While we applaud a careful, staged re-opening of the state of Illinois, we are frustrated by aspects of Governor Pritzker’s plan – in particular his embrace of the possibility that churches may not be free to fully open for the better part of a year. In a spirit of transparency, I feel the broader Church has been both under-represented and under-valued by Governor Pritzker in both his plans and his words.

As we process the way forward, we will be attempting to follow the Biblical example of the men of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32) In that, we will be attempting to balance three core values in our decision-making – namely honoring our governmental leaders (Romans 13:1), loving our neighbors well by helping to be safe in all we do (Matthew 22:39), and honoring our God-given mission and call to gather as a people (Hebrews 10:23-25).

There is no way for us to navigate these waters in a way that will meet everyone’s expectations – expectations in our church family, expectations of people in our communities and expectations of our state officials. For that reason, we are asking for your prayers and your grace as we try our best to follow God, love and shepherd our church family, and serve as an effective witness to the world around us.

As always, you can count on all of us to be there for you. Please continue to let us know how we can best pray for you and serve you during this time.

Details for how the next steps will unfold will follow in communication by each of our Campus Pastors. Any questions on the specifics around meeting at your campus can be directed to them. Thank you again for your love and faithfulness in this difficult season.

Your devoted brother,