COVID-19 Update #6

Illinois South Conference COVID-19 Response - UPDATE #6, April 20, 2020
To Illinois South Conference pastors, church leaders, and congregations:
Recommendation to Extend the Suspension of In-Person Worship until May 11, 2020
The Executive Committee voted today to recommend extending the suspension of in-person worship two more weeks, through May 11, 2020. In the absence of any talk about slowly reopening Illinois, we expect state guidelines to be extended beyond the current April 30 date. If the Governor extends shelter-in-place beyond May 11, we will too.
This window of time includes Mother’s Day, a Sunday that traditionally has meant many generations gathering in filled pews with happy faces. The May 11 date was purposefully chosen to include Mother’s Day, because it would be exactly the wrong time to try to gather a large group of people. We are not out of the woods, and shouldn’t risk creating a dramatic number of new COVID-19 cases. And, it might be a disappointing, lightly-attended service, given so many are deeply worried about leaving their homes, which it not what anyone needs right now.
Instead of distributing flowers this year, consider making a donation to your church or any other organization in honor of the women in your life.
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.
  A mother and her four-year-old daughter from the Marine congregation have been spreading some joy each week while in quarantine. They mail letters to great grandparents, mail paintings to local nursing homes and send coffee gift cards to nurses who are working so hard right now. They’re looking for more ways to offer a “pick me up” to folks within their community that might need a wave through a window, or even some doughnuts left on a doorstep. Their goal is to stay positive and spread joy, while sharing how important it is to be kind to others.  Shared by Rev. Phil Kershner, Marine UCC
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
     Belleville- Concordia UCC
     Carlinville- St. Paul UCC
     Columbia- St. Paul UCC
     Godfrey- Evangelical UCC
     Granite City- St. John UCC
     Lebanon- St. Paul UCC
     Marine- Marine UCC
     Stone Church- St. Peter’s UCC
     Troy- Friedens UCC
     And anonymous gifts from individuals
Helpful Information
Our churches are finding creative and wonderful ways to gather in virtual community in these strange times. Some are recording their worship services for congregants, then meeting live on Zoom for a coffee hour after their regular Sunday worship time. Others are having Bible study lunch over Zoom, sharing both a meal and scripture. You might think about ways you can virtually socialize with your congregation that would sustain relationships through this time of isolation. If you need help with Zoom, contact Shana for more information.
Rev. Shana Johnson will hold a meeting for pastors on Tuesday, April 21 at 10 am.
            Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 708 889 0946
To dial in: +1 312 626 6799 US
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