COVID-19 Update #11

Illinois South Conference COVID-19 Response
UPDATE #11, May 27, 2020
Moving to Phase 3 of Restore Illinois Plan
All of our Conference is about to move to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, which brings us to the junction of our polity and public health. There isn’t one magical date that will work for every congregation to return to in-person worship.
-          Every building has different considerations for social distancing.
-          Every congregation has different average worship attendance.
-          Every church has congregants that won’t feel safe for a long time.
-          Every congregation has different concerns for people in high-risk categories.
And, our congregational autonomy ensures each setting determines what is best for their members, regardless of their contextual decision. As sibling congregations, we are called to practice grace as we all go through this process.
Our churches never closed, they just started doing ministry in a different way. The shelter-in-place order feels like it’s been around so long, and yet it feels like it’s ending abruptly, like we forgot to step quickly at the end of the airport walkway. Remember, you have the latitude to take your time. Some of our churches have suspended worship the rest of the summer. Others are making decisions one month at a time. Some denominations have recommended suspending in-person worship until May 2021. Yes, that’s a year from now. Last week, the national staff of the UCCstrongly encouraged congregations to take their time in determining when to restart in-person worship.
-          Bring clergy and lay leadership to the Zoom table and discern your path with deliberate intention.
-          Read Faithfully Phasing Forward, the ISC guidebook, on the Conference website.
-          The United Church of Christ has many COVID-19 resources
-          An article in the Chicago Tribune explains what’s open or closed in each phase
-          This is the entire Restore Illinois plan
ISC Spirit
If you know of stories that show people being the church, please send it to Share the stories that are warming your heart. #ISCspirit.
DuBois Center and Hoyleton Youth & Family Services have a long-standing relationship. One aspect involves food. At the end of each summer and in mid-December, the cooks at DuBois Center traditionally check for any food that is good but will likely go bad or be past the “use by” date before the next flurry of groups. Most of this food is taken to Hoyleton Youth & Family Services. Door to door, it’s only about 24 minutes. This year, due to the camp closure, a mid-May delivery was added. Rather than go to waste, cases and sealed bags of everything from muffin and pancake mix to hot dogs and hamburgers were delivered to the main kitchen at Hoyleton. From there, the cooks from the various cottages divided it up and integrated the food into their menu plans.                                                       Submitted by Shirley Asmussen
Thank you to these churches for their OCWM donations received last week. These donations continue to support all the work of the Conference.
Addieville - Zion UCC
Darmstadt- Holy Ghost UCC
East St. Louis- Good Shepherd of Faith
Granite City- St. John UCC
Valmeyer - St. John UCC
Wood River - St. John UCC
And anonymous gifts from individuals
Helpful Information
-          The Conference Local Church Ministries Team is producing a worship service that will be shared before Sunday, June 28. Pastors in the Conference can plan now to use this video as a Sunday off from preparing worship and to get some mental space to rest. More information coming in June.
-          The Council of Conference Ministers are preparing webinars that will be available to pastors and churches across the UCC. They will be on a variety of topics, and the first one will be released soon. More information coming in June.
Worship Resources
We have worship resources on the Conference website with a link on the home page.
Together in Christ's ministry with you,
Dr. Jill Baker, Conference Moderator
Rev. Christy Eckert, Conference Vice-Moderator
Mr. Dwight Asselmeier, Conference Treasurer
Rev. Ivan Horn, Conference Secretary
Rev. Shana Johnson, IL South Conference Minister
Rev. Rosemary Captain
Ms. Virginia Ilch
Rev. R.J. Morgan
Rev. Mike Southcombe
Ms. Barbara VanAusdall