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Bishop Dyck responds to Governor's religious activity order

Posted: May 3 2020 at 09:51 AM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker amended his shelter-in-place order to permit people “to engage in the free exercise of religion." However, any religious gathering must be limited to a maximum of 10 people in compliance with social distancing guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This means that while we are allowed to leave the house in order to go to a religious activity, the order states that religious services and gatherings are still encouraged to use online or drive-in services to protect the health and safety of their congregants.

Little has changed in this amended order for our churches in Northern Illinois. I would encourage only occasional gatherings until we are well over the peak of new COVID-19 cases in the state. Small groups, Bible study, council and committee meetings, and any other gatherings should still take place online.  

I am concerned about musical groups gathering because there is some evidence that the act of singing projects the “aerosols” farther and faster, and obviously one can’t wear a face mask while singing! Therefore, if a group is singing together in order to pre-record music for a service, I would encourage doing so by standing more than 6 feet apart.

Also, but very importantly, in order for groups of 10 people or less to enter the church building, precautions, preparation and care should be exercised as put forth in the latest FAQ document from the NIC Office of Risk Management and Ministry Protection. If your church has not yet discussed, planned and implemented these precautions, then you are not ready for even less than 10 people to use the building.

We’re going to be doing this for a while, my friends! Let’s do our part to make sure we don’t have to go back to stricter regulations. Love God and love your neighbor (not to mention your fellow parishioners) by strictly observing the shelter-in-place regulations!

Be smart! Be safe! Be healthy!

~Bishop Sally Dyck

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