At its monthly meeting for May last night, the Peace Church Council approved several new policies related to COVID-19 precautions.
Beginning this Sunday, May 23, we will no longer require pre-registration or have assigned seats for worship in the sanctuary. There will be a full service with hymns and other singing throughout.
However, although we recognize the new guidelines of the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health, we ask that worshipers please continue to wear masks and practice appropriate distancing from members who are not in their immediate family. These protocols are intended to ensure that we provide a welcoming and respectful environment for children under age 12, the unvaccinated over age 12, and the immuno-compromised, all of which are populations cited in the new CDC guidelines as groups amongst us to be mindful about. These ongoing precautions also were adopted this week by our sister ELCA congregation, St. John's Lutheran.
We ask that you not congregate in crowded groups in the narthex but welcome your fellowship outside on what looks to be a very nice morning this week. Next week we will begin providing coffee, water and cookies outside the narthex.
During the service, we will continue our recent practice for the distribution of communion and will not pass offering plates or share peace other than verbally.
The taped service that is available on You Tube and Facebook and drive-through communion on Sunday mornings will continue to be offered. We are in process of training a small group in the use of our newly-installed camera that will give us the capability to do live streaming of our Sunday service.
Effective immediately, the council, church committees and other church-sponsored groups and activities which do not have food or drink available will be permitted to use the building but are asked to provide a Zoom link option as needed and to wipe down tables and chairs.
Our current thinking is not to permit outside groups to use the building until September.
With Illinois on track for a full reopening on June 11, Council will take stock of making additional changes to these policies and practices at its June 17 meeting.
We look forward to seeing you at worship, are committed to meeting the needs of those who are not yet ready to return to the sanctuary, and appreciate your understanding of ongoing precautions that we believe are appropriate out of respect for the most vulnerable among us.
Doug McFarlan, President