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New Tighter Restrictions in Illinois

Posted: October 20 2020 at 05:58 PM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck

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Blessings on all of you as we continue to deal with COVID-19. We are all COVID-fatigued after these 7+ months, but COVID-19 is not fatigued of us! It continues to rage in our communities.

As you know, the Illinois Department of Health and Governor Pritzker have placed more restrictions in four counties starting this Friday, October 23 for at least the next 14 days. These restrictions mean that for churches, in-person gatherings are limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25 percent of overall room capacity. For some churches where in-person worship has begun, these restrictions will require that churches not gather with more than 25 persons.

We need to abide by the governor’s guidelines; these are state guidelines developed by public health experts. As I’ve said before, while the governor is not specifically mentioning churches, the restrictions for in-person gatherings applies to us as churches.

I know that other church bodies may not abide by the guidelines of the state, but we do not want to be superspreaders of the disease. If someone who has been at an in-person worship or gathering at our churches tests positive, then those gatherings need to be suspended for at least 2 weeks and those present with that person need to get tested.

Some pastors, the District Superintendents and I have all received oppositional emails or calls regarding our insistence on these precautions. But we believe that it’s not only our civic responsibility to make sure that people are safe, but also that our biblical and faithful response to COVID-19 is to be a good neighbor to others and to avoid unduly risking harm toward others.

We will have an updated FAQ for the guidelines for in-person gatherings in church soon, but quite frankly not much has changed since the ReTurn Team's guidelines were published. It’s still not recommended that we sing; there are still restrictions for in-person gatherings; everyone needs to mask and maintain social distancing. I also can’t emphasize enough that it’s important that no one attend an in-person gathering if you’re not feeling well.

Jesus was a healer first and foremost in his ministry. Churches that maintain good safety precautions are practicing a health and healing ministry to your community and church.

Thanks to all of you who have insisted on precautions, resisted the opposition, and promoted good health and safety for yourselves and your congregation. Let’s keep it up so our churches don’t become super-spreaders but stay good neighbors to all!

Click to read the Governor's statement.

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