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Illinois Enters Phase 4 - What that means for churches

Posted: June 23 2020 at 02:03 PM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck

En Espanol

Dear Clergy and Laity of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference:

Governor J. B. Pritzker is expected to move all the regions of Illinois into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 26. This will continue to move us toward more in-person gatherings but still with restrictions.

As our ReTurn Team Plan states:

Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed. Accommodations should be in place to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm and time in crowded environments should be minimized. Restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, childcare and schools reopen under IDPH guidance. Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals are still prohibited.

Please make sure that you are looking at the ReTurn Team’s guidelines, pages 13-15 (link here) for absolutes and best practices. The governor may issue other guidelines yet before the weekend (or after) so check those, too on the state's website at

All of these are well-thought-out guidelines for any of our churches that are interested in moving toward in-person gatherings, especially worship. But let the standard for us as United Methodists be: DO NO HARM!

Please bear in mind that just because we are given “permission” for in-person gatherings doesn’t mean that it is the best thing to do or that you are ready to do it as a congregation yet. Please consult with your DS as you make your reopening plan and consider at-risk persons, which may include the pastor.

Be smart! Be safe!


Sally Dyck


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