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Illinois announces guidelines on gatherings

Posted: March 12 2020 at 07:20 PM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck


Dear Northern Illinois Conference,

Dyck Sally

Bishop Sally Dyck

You've probably heard by now the guidelines for private and public gatherings issued this evening by the state of Illinois to prevent the rapidly spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19).

At a 5 p.m. news conference, Governor J.B. Pritzker asked community gatherings of 250 people or more to be cancelled or postponed until May 1.

We realize this may not affect many churches in the Northern Illinois Conference, but if your church has more than 250 in a single worship service, you need to consider holding multiple services to stagger the number of people in attendance or consider other ways to offer worship.

For events less than 250 people, the Governor also recommended organizers should closely consider who is likely to attend and, if it includes vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, strongly consider cancelling.

Local municipalities may have other recommendations about holding events and gatherings, so continue to look to your local government and health department websites for the latest information and use your best judgement.

As your Bishop, I care about the health and well-being of our congregations, church staff, guests and communities and I'm continuing to monitor this evolving situation. As Christians, we are called to not only care for ourselves and our families but for the health and safety of our neighbors. We can do so by following our elected officials' guidelines, practicing social distancing, and engaging in good hygiene.

Let us be in prayer for one another and all those affected by the coronavirus: our health workers, those on the front line of public safety, and those who will feel the economic impact of this pandemic.

In the coming days, we will provide resources of ways to safely reach out to your neighbors and provide spiritual care to your congregations. To find helpful links and information, visit umcnic.org/coronavirusresources. We are updating this webpage daily.

~Bishop Sally Dyck

Psalm 27: The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

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