April 22, 2020

 

To Everyone at Saint Paul:

 

A Word from the Bible:

 

What is God’s purpose behind COVID-19?  That is a dangerous question.  Why?  Because God is not the author of evil.  He does not want bad things to happen to people.  But sin exists.  And sin makes bad things happen.

 

So, why not ask this instead: what is God doing about COVID-19?  The answer?  No matter what happens, and no matter why it happens, God is working to bless His people.  He invites His people to work with Him in fixing what is broken, in healing what is sick, and in restoring what is lost.

 

God promises that when we work with Him, He will help us create blessings we could never create on our own.  It is like what God says in 2 Timothy chapter 3: By giving You My Word, and blessing you with faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, I have thoroughly equipped you to do every good work.  

 

And it all begins when we rejoice in the precious blood of Jesus, that takes away the sins of the world.  It continues when we make God’s purpose our purpose: to bless one another as He empowers us to do it. 

 

When will we resume public worship?  

 

Here is the best information I have at this time.  Please remember that the actual details sometimes change on a daily basis.

 

1.)  The basic answer is: we do not know.   Only a few states are currently eligible for Phase 1 reopening.  Illinois is not one of them.

 

2.)  Once Illinois does enter Phase 1, we will be able to resume public worship.  We will take several precautions to protect the health of our worshipers.  (Most of these are Phase 1 requirements, but we would do them anyway.)

 

3.)  In specific, we will: 

 

             a.)  maintain 6 foot social distancing in the sanctuary by closing off rows of pews.

             b.)  encourage members to maintain 6 foot social distancing in and around the building — especially while entering and                              exiting the church.

             c.)  rope off the balconies and restrict access to the Church Office.

             d.)  completely print out all worship services including hymns.  (These will be placed in special stands to avoid unnecessary                        contact.  Large print copies will be available.)

             e.)  continue to suspend some of our traditions such as: discontinuing greeters; omitting the sharing of the peace; no

                    passing of the offering plates; using only the individual cups for the Lord’s Supper; discontinuing coffee hours after                                worship; placing our choirs on hiatus until the fall.

             f.)  make hand cleaner, tissues, and trash receptacles available at several locations in the sanctuary, narthex, and breezeway.

             g.)  perform a special wipe down of the sanctuary, narthex, and breezeway after each worship service.

             h.) encourage vulnerable people and those who are sick to stay home.  (You should stay home and get better any time you                        are sick, corona virus or not.)

              i.)  and whatever else is needed.

4.)  Here is a challenge: How do you distribute the Lord’s Supper while maintaining social distancing?  We are exploring several options.

5.)  Someone asked: My family is staying together at home.  Can we sit together in Church?  Of course!  Just be sure to maintain appropriate social distancing in general.

                           

6.)  Someone also asked: What about wearing a mask to worship?  This may become a Phase 1 state requirement.  In the meantime, if you want to wear a mask, why not?  God knows who you are despite the mask.  

 

Our Internet Presence.

 

Please check our website (www.stpauladdison.com) for updates.  We also have electronic giving available on our website.  (As you can imagine, our church finances are struggling right now.)  I have donated via the electronic giving several times.  It works well.

 

No matter what happens, we will continue to expand our internet presence.  We have made huge steps forward over the last three weeks.  There will be more to come.

 

Our end goal will be to provide a regular edited edition of our public worship service.

 

I want to thank Kim, Debbie, Robin, Larry, Wes and Diane, Dave, and Diane Junokas for assisting with this.  Kim and Diane in particular have done tremendous work for us.

 

Putting It All Together.

 

We want to worship together.  At the same time, we are taking COVID-19 very seriously.  We want to protect everyone’s health.  We want Saint Paul to be a safe place to visit, not an unsafe one.

 

So, Stay Healthy,

Keep Serving the Lord,

Keep Praying We Will Be Together Soon,

Pastor Zimmerman