Since we issued our guidelines last week (related to community spread in our worship and receiving the Eucharist), what is new? For one thing, we want to strongly urge our elderly members, and those with compromised immune systems, to remain home and under as much self-quarantine as is possible. In the short term at least, based on Illinois guidelines and input from the Bishop’s office, we are not planning on cancelling worship services, so each person’s decision on attending is vital. Please use caution and wisdom. This is prudence without panic. Also, if you are not feeling well, or if your children have had cold and flu like symptoms, please stay home. For those staying home, we are initiating a live-stream version of our worship service, so that our community can remain connected, as much as is possible.

Beginning this Sunday we will not be offering food following the service—coffee and tea only. And the guidelines we put into place last week regarding the passing of the peace and Holy Communion, will continue (these are outlined in the worship bulletin).

On Tuesday our Vestry will meet and forge an action plan for Redeemer going forward, evaluating our risk week by week, and offering appropriate responses. I’m very grateful for our leaders, and their care and sensitivity. Laurie Nelson, who serves as a Vestry Warden and also leads our hospitality ministry, sent me the following comments today, and I hope we can all take them to heart:

This is a time when we need to be careful about our physical health, but we need to tend to our spiritual health as well, and we feel this is a time to come before God together as a community, and not neglect to meet with one another. Each of us has a primary responsibility to not jeopardize the health of the very young, the very old, or those with an already compromised health condition. We leave it to individuals and families to decide if they fall in to those categories and decide to remain at home for a time. We should already be taking proper precautions and limiting our contact with the most vulnerable among us…We have a small (physical) space, but will be as welcoming and connected to each other as we can. We are a family. Join us as we worship God together and trust in his care.

So wash hands frequently, be attentive to your own health situation (if any symptoms arise) and keep some distance between one another, even as we continue to gather together in the Lord’s Name, at least while we can. Thank you for praying for God’s protection, and for seeking out creative ways to minister to those in the community around us who may be very fearful and full of anxiety.

As a staff we are praying for you, and are available if you have questions or concerns. Our help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124) and we trust his leading and care.