9.2.20 Town Hall Meeting
Sundays | 9:00 & 10:45 a.m.
If you feel ready to try in-person worship we hope you and your family will make plans to join us. Registration is required each week and opens on Sundays at 12:00 p.m. for the following week's worship services. You can find more information and register here.
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September 2, 2020
Town Hall Meeting
You can watch the meeting in its entirety to hear about our plans to reopen our church buildings for in-person worship beginning September 13. Learn about what you can expect as you return to worship as well as the protocols we have in place to create a safe environment where we can worship our great God.
6.11.20 Town Hall Meeting
Town Hall Meeting?
No worries - you can watch the meeting in its entirety to get further insight into the discernment process of our leadership with regard to the plans for reopening our church buildings.
5.27.20 Reflections on Reopening
Dear Members & Friends of Christ Church,
In the past few weeks, the church’s staff and Trustees have listened carefully to a wide variety of voices seeking to inform or learn of our decision-making about returning to in-person gatherings and activities. While I don’t know where you personally stand on these matters, the graphic below suggests just some of the messages moving our way.
As the State of Illinois moves into Phase 3 of its recovery plan, I want to share how we are presently thinking about the gradual reopening of church gatherings, but begin by identifying the important values we seek to hold together as we frame our approach
WHAT VALUES MATTER TO US?
Genuine Community – Few gifts are more precious to us than the chance to be part of a vital Christian community. We are grateful that even when we can’t be together physically, modern technology has made it possible for us to “do life together” in virtual ways. COVID-19 has spurred us to get better at utilizing digital means for sharing content and building relationships and we plan to keep moving on that front long after this crisis has past. If you have not yet joined one of our sermon study Connection Groups or found a place in one of the many other wonderful communities that meet online, please write us at help@ChristChurch.us and we will help you find such a circle.
At the same time, it will be wonderful when we can experience again the kind of worship and fellowship that happens even more fully when we are in the same space. God knows that we are made for rib-to-rib relationship and not isolation (Gen 2:18). The Bible declares, “Let us not give up meeting together” (Heb 10:25). For all these reasons, Christ Church’s leadership is working to restore in-person community options for those who want them, as soon as we safely can.
Religious Freedom – We believe the right to worship God freely is embedded in the Constitution of the United States and in the call of Jesus to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17). By this same warrant, we are free to exercise civil disobedience where we believe that human government is exercising an excessive constraint of public worship.
Respect for Government – At the same time, God’s Word warns us NOT to do this lightly or prematurely. The Apostle Paul endured actual persecution from his government, yet he wrote: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established… whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted” (Rom 13:1-2). In view of our State’s very tight strictures and the prospect of being limited to gatherings of no more than 100 people into 2021, I confess some temptation to rebel. In the spirit of Romans 13, however, it seems important to try communicating with Caesar before conflicting with him. For this reason, I have co-authored a letter to Governor Pritzker that has been co-signed by more than 400 other pastors and church denominational leaders and will, we pray, lead to some constructive dialogue and creative action in the days ahead.
Love & Witness – I want to observe that in the debate over returning to in-person worship, there has been much talk about putting “Love for God” first or asserting the “rights and needs” of Christians. Fair enough. It is also essential to note, however, that Jesus closely linked loving God with the call to “Love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matt 22:39). We could certainly please some folks by resuming public worship in the next week or two. But, until the medical data is more encouraging and our own safety systems are better developed, opening up the church could still endanger us and our neighbors. For the sake of people’s well-being and our public witness, we need to act prudently and patiently.
Authentic Worship – It is also crucial that we not idealize what in-person worship would be like if we resumed it swiftly. Testimony from churches who have opened up already is that “It wasn’t what we hoped.” Much like the pattern of beachgoers after a shark attack, people are not yet going back into the water in significant numbers. Putting the relatively small number of people who ARE ready to come back into spaces the size of our worship venues… then socially distancing them… then expecting them to sing through masks (or not singing at all out of concern for creating a “Spreader Event”)… may feel a lot less like the “authentic worship” for which we yearn. Livestream worship starts looking pretty good!
SO, WHAT’S OUR PLAN FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
In the month of JUNE, we will…
- Start to re-inhabit church offices on a limited, as-needed basis;
- Hold online Town Hall meetings to solicit members opinions and answer questions;
- Survey the congregation on your readiness to return to the church facilities for any purpose;
- Continue to provide the highest quality online worship services and grow ministry resources we can;
- Supply resources for in-person Watch Parties and Family Worship in private homes;
- Explore the possibility of using outdoor spaces on our campuses to support small groups or personal prayer.
During JULY AND/OR AUGUST, we will…
- Open up our Oak Brook and Butterfield campuses for select in-person leadership gatherings or prayer times;
- Start experimenting with in-person worship services in limited numbers, IF health data is encouraging;
- Consider sponsoring select in-person Family Ministry events (times and locations to be announced).
In the FALL, we hope to move on further and…
- Expand the size of in-person worship gatherings, while continuing our livestream for those at home;
- Resume in-person meetings of midsize communities and small groups, while continuing to provide online access.
In all of these scenarios, we’ll practice safe hygiene and social distancing, use personal protective equipment, and strongly encourage the vulnerable to let us serve them at home. We will also adjust our plans, as needed, based on current facts. As we do all this, please know that your faithful stewardship and prayers for our leadership are greatly needed and appreciated. On the journey ahead, let’s always remember that WE ARE CHRIST CHURCH, wherever we are – a people of steadfast faith, unswerving hope and generous love.
Yours ever in Christ,
Daniel D. Meyer | Senior Pastor