COVID-19 Update #9

Illinois South Conference COVID-19 Response
UPDATE #9, May 11, 2020

To Illinois South Conference pastors, church leaders, and congregations:

Extend Suspension of In-Person Worship until May 30, 2020
After the end of shelter-in-place, when will you choose to return to in-person worship?  Or will you stay suspended for the foreseeable future? There are many factors to consider, from public health to the specific practicalities and needs of your congregation. You will also receive Faithfully Phasing Forward this week.  This document poses questions to consider, relates to the Restore Illinois plan released by Governor Pritzker last week, and includes some best practice guidelines for worship and church-sponsored activities.

Paycheck Protection Program
Illinois South Conference applied for a very conservative loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, and we received funding in the second round of SBA funding.  This money will cover only payroll, for approximately two and a half months.

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.

Hoyleton Youth and Family Services connected with us in April about the possibility of housing kids and/or staff at DuBois Center, as they planned for keeping sick folks isolated and recovering away from well folks.  We pursued this path for a few weeks until we hit a roadblock.  Principally, we discovered the camp would need a Fire Marshal inspection, which would be an initial inspection that would require us to meet 2015 DCFS Guidelines.  Because this would have been a first inspection, we could not be ‘grandfathered’ in. When we got to the requirement for a sprinkler system, we realized we would not be able to offer space to children. There is no way for us to meet that requirement.

We discussed using camp for staff housing, for those Hoyleton employees who did not want to risk taking anything home to their families.  In the end, the distance to other locations wasn’t practical if no Hoyleton youth were on site.  We continue to look for ways to support our partners at Hoyleton in these difficult times.

Thank you to these churches for their OCWM donations received last week. These donations continue to support all the work of the Conference.

Carbondale- Church of the Good Shepherd
Dupo– Christ UCC
Edwardsville– St. Paul UCC
Granite City– St. John UCC
Maeystown– St. John UCC
Marion – Zion UCC
Mascoutah – St. John UCC
Nashville – St. Paul UCC
Pana – United In Faith
St. Jacob – St. Jacob UCC
Smithton – St. John’s UCC
Waterloo – St. Paul UCC
And anonymous gifts from individuals

Helpful Information
-        An excellent article by Erin Bromage on how COVID-19 is spread: The Risks – Know Them- Avoid Them.

Worship Resources
-        We now have a worship resources section on the Conference website, with a link on the home page.

Rev. Shana Johnson will hold a meeting for pastors tomorrow, Tuesday, May 12 at 10 am.  This will be the last group pastor call, specifically to discuss the Faithfully Phasing Forward document. If you need assistance with your particular setting, please contact Shana directly.

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 708 889 0946

To dial in: +1 312 626 6799 US
Meeting ID: 708 889 0946

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