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Bishop Statement Regarding Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order

Posted: March 21 2020 at 12:28 PM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck

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The governor of the state of Illinois has issued an order that all but essential workers are to stay safe by staying at home. This order is for the safety of all of us.
Because I asked earlier this week that all services be suspended, some of you have spent much of this week learning how to do livestream services and making other plans for worship on Sunday.  
Due to today’s order by Governor Pritzker, livestreaming or making videos of a worship experience now need to be completed at home. It may not look as professional as you would like, but this order necessitates not going to church or gathering with others.
Please conform to this stay-at-home order, even this Sunday. The order doesn’t go into effect until 5 pm Saturday, so you have some preparation time tomorrow. Otherwise, I trust that we will all be in compliance with the order.
I will post on the special Facebook private group, Northern Illinois Conference - UMC Resource Group, asking people how they will now produce services online. If you haven’t joined the group yet, please visit the NIC Facebook page at and click “Visit Group,” the “Join Group.” Please visit this resource to learn and share so that we can continue to keep in touch both emotionally and spiritually with the people in our churches and communities.
As a people, we don’t like to be told what to do, but these are extraordinary times. We need everyone to stay safe by staying at home – for your own good and the good of others. That’s what it means to be a good neighbor.
Please know that clergy, laity and our communities are in my prayers.

Read the Governor's Order

Worship Online Resources

Here's more from Chicago Mayor Lightfoot's office:

On Friday, March 20, Mayor Lightfoot joined Governor JB Pritzker to announce a statewide order to stay at home. As you might know, this order requires all residents of the state of Illinois to stay at home, except for essential needs. During these uncertain times, we wanted to provide direction on what this means for the faith community.

The imposition of stay at home requirements was a difficult decision, particularly for the faith community, which is important to people across Illinois. However, COVID-19 is an extraordinarily dangerous and unprecedented disease. These measures are intended to slow its spread, which occurs from close contact with a person who is currently sick with COVID-19. This action is part of the City’s and State’s exhaustive response to the COVID-19, which is intended to keep the public safe, contain the spread of the virus, and provide relief to the healthcare system.

This order includes ceremonies that may be held by the faith community, which includes funerals. Although funerals may continue to be held, such events must follow these guidelines:

  • No gathering may exceed ten people;
  • Individuals who attend must maintain six feet of distance from others, use hand sanitizer, and avoid shaking hands or making other contact
  • Pursuant to the guidance of the Illinois Department of Health, viewings should only be conducted on bodies that have been embalmed.
  • Weddings are not permitted under the order.
  • Additionally, the order does not permit people to convene services, congregations, or other faith gatherings. However, the leader of a religious organization may wish to provide for online or remote viewings of faith events.

As further clarification as you are communicating with your congregation, please note the following:

The shelter-in-place order:

  • Requires all residents to stay home unless engaging in essential activities such as going to the doctor, grocery store or pharmacy.
  • Prohibits the engagement in public or private activities, participation in social activities at churches, community venues, bars or nightclubs, or taking unnecessary trips. Shelter-in-place mandates social distancing, which the science proves can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Defines social distancing requirements as maintaining at least six feet away from others, regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, not shaking hands, and the cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.

What does this mean for individuals?

  • You can still take care of all your essential needs, including: Traveling to get necessary supplies, including food, pet supplies, medicine, or take-out food;
  • Attending appointments at a hospital or mental health provider;
  • Visiting private businesses that offer essential services, including pharmacies, hardware stores, banks, and laundromats; and
  • Using city or state governmental services, including fire and police.

Individuals will still be able to go to:

  • Hospitals and pharmacies
  • Grocery stores, food banks, pet supply stores, convenience stores
  • Take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Hardware stores and plumbers
  • Banks
  • Laundromats and laundry services
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults or children.
  • Community-based organizations that provide food, shelter or social services for pickup only, or as long as there are no more than 10 people gathered and those individuals maintain six feet of social distancing.
  • Within your organization, employees may continue to come into work only to maintain minimum basic operations, such as processing payroll and ensuring security. Any employee who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is required to stay at home

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