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Illinois Enters Phase 5

Posted: June 9 2021 at 01:46 PM
Author: Interim Bishop John Hopkins

From the Bishop's Office:

Dear Friends in Christ:

What a year this has been. With God’s grace, we have found our way through the maze of a global pandemic, not a journey any of us claim lightly. This Friday, June 11, Illinois arrives at Phase 5. What a day of rejoicing we are in.

You and your congregation have been part of this accomplishment. You have found ways to be a community to one another from a distance. You have found ways to be in your community as a witness of Christ's love. Our goal these past 14 months was to “Do No Harm”. We have learned new things about ourselves, we have learned new things about our congregations and now we take the next steps in our return to full functioning as we continue to “Do No Harm” while also doing good.

Vaccinations are still key to our future. Seventy-five of our churches stepped up in the last few weeks to be vaccination sites working with United Methodists across the state and the Illinois Department of Public Health to reach those in pockets of our communities who have not yet been vaccinated. We know that variants of COVID 19 continue to emerge and that it will be some months before our younger population of children will be eligible for vaccination. Vigilance is still our watchword as we resume more and more activities.

Each church community will move back into in-person worship and gatherings at their own pace, in their own way, given local guidelines and comfort levels in your congregation. We continue to encourage those who are able, to be vaccinated. We offer for your consideration some singing guidelines provided by Jeff Hunt, Director of Music at St. Charles: Baker Memorial and professor of Choral Music found at this link.

I encourage you to continue utilizing your church’s health team as you move into the future. This team has offered a great way to look at how the church conducts activities in a healthy manner. The pandemic has taught us that we cannot ignore the health and wellbeing of our members and community.

You can find sound guidance on living into Phase Five in the church on our conference website here.

I join you in celebrating this milestone as we look to the future. I invite you to “stay in love with God” as we find our way forward.

In Christ,

Bishop John L. Hopkins

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