August 2, 2020 News ABOUT OuR REOPENING

Beloved St. John’s Community:

We pray this message finds all St. John’s members and their families doing well. We have been in thoughtful prayer and consideration as a Church Council as to how our community moves forward during this time.

We had previously communicated that we were working through a revised COVID-19 policy and a tentative plan for reopening at the end of July. The Council approved a revised policy at the Council meeting on Monday, July 13th, which you can find here (lyonsucc.org/opening). While this policy was amended to reflect the current guidelines issued by the Illinois Conference of the UCC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control, our church Council has chosen not to move into the next stage of reopening at this time.

We are aware that this decision may be disappointing to some or a sigh of relief for others – perhaps a combination of each.  We want you to be aware that we have spent a great deal of time in both prayer and conversation in an effort to thoughtfully balance multiple challenges and restrictions when considering whether or not to reopen at this time. There are several reasons for this decision, the first and foremost being that worship services will not look the same or what we are used to as a church community. In addition, the percentage of positive tests have not decreased in Illinois at this time. This is a source of great concern for many members that are either vulnerable themselves or have family members that are. Upon polling our membership, we found very few who are willing to return to church out of concerns for their safety and the safety of their families, including members of Council. Lastly, there are significant concerns regarding liability and insurance restrictions that will continue to be a factor of consideration. 

In an effort to continue to meet the spiritual needs of our St. John’s community, we are introducing two new opportunities for gathering in an outdoor setting.

1.    First Wednesday Evening Vespers: Beginning on September, 2020 at 5:30, we will host our first monthly outdoor Vespers. This will be an opportunity for members to come to the church parking lot for a brief message and prayer time together. Members and guests will be encouraged to remain in their cars. There will be limited and appropriately distanced seating in designated spots in the parking lot (weather permitting & registration may be required). We will send updates with further details as we come closer to this date.  

2.    Pastor Kim Porch Visits: In an effort to meet the spiritual needs of congregation members, Pastor Kim offered to begin Porch Visits. You may reach her directly through the main church phone number to set up a time for her to visit you at your home outdoors.

Know that indeed, we are not alone, God remains in our midst. This remains a journey of challenges and adaptation for all of our churches across the nation.  You may find of interest, a recent webinar hosted by the UCC entitled “Phasing Forward.” It was a panel discussing different church’s experiences and considerations in how and when to return to in-person worship. You can find that webinar here.

At each monthly Council meeting, held on the second Monday of every month, we will continue to assess, adjust and adapt to providing worship in safe and meaningful ways for our entire church community. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to Pastor Kim via email: pastor@lyonsucc.org or phone, any member of Council or Council President Beth Johnson via email (bjohnson@lyonsucc.org) or phone. We are open to your suggestions and feedback and we appreciate those that have taken us up on that opportunity to date.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.”  ~ Jeremiah 29:11-12

St. John’s UCC Church Council

 

COVID-19 Updates From Pastor Kim

Beloved St. John’s Community:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
Our number one concern is the health and well-being –spiritually, physically and mentally – of the St. John’s community. Out of an abundance of love and caution, we have chosen to temporarily postpone worship services and gatherings at the church. The events we had scheduled for March will be postponed and scheduled for a later date. While in this present time there are calls for “physical” distancing, know that we will stay connected to one another as a church community.
I will work to share weekly messages in lieu of church service and along with Council members, will remain in contact during this time. When resources or updates are available, we will share those with you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time, as I am here for each of you and will be working diligently to explore new creative ways for us to “Be the Church” and continue in community with one another despite the challenges of our physical distance from one another. I can be reached at 708-447-0309 or email at kvasko (AT) lyonsucc.org.
A favorite prayer of mine that you may have heard before from the great theologian (and Elmhurst College grad) Reinhold Niebuhr, feels particularly appropriate for this time –Let us pray together in spirit: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that God will make all things right if I surrender to God’s will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with our Creator forever in the next. ~ Amen.
Be well, Do good –Beloved, Love one another always,
Pastor Kim

ABOUT St. John’S UCC

At St. John’s we are actively trying to learn how to BE the Church of Jesus Christ, not just a church building.

 

Together we aim to follow the leadership of Jesus and make the church a source of help and hope, justice and compassion, education and dialogue in the Lyons and surrounding communities by sharing God’s love of neighbor, children, creation.

 

This is a time of change and revitalization for St. John’s and we invite you to join us on this comfort-busting, life-giving, spirit-growing, mind-opening journey of Christian faith as we work to create a just world for all! For more information visit: www.lyonsucc.org or visit: The United Church of Christ: www.ucc.org

 

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Our Calendar Of Events

Our Lyons, Illinois Facility remains closed due to COVID-19 through at least August 1, 2020

 

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St. John's United Church of Christ in Lyons, IL

At St. John's we are actively trying to learn how to be THE church of Jesus Christ, not just a church building. We want to follow the leadership of Jesus and make the church a source of help and hope, justice and compassion, education and dialogue in the Lyons and surrounding communities. This is a time of change and uncertainty for St. John's and we invite you to join us on this comfort-busting, life-giving, spirit-growing, mind-opening journey of Christian faith. The United Church of Christ: www.ucc.org
St. John's United Church of Christ in Lyons, IL
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