Updates for the week of March 16-22
As people of faith, we continue to respond to the need to work together with others in our community to contain the COVID-19 global pandemic. We do this for the sake of all and especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Grace's building will be open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 3:30pm. It will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by to pray in the sanctuary, if you wish, or visit with Pastor Lyle in his office.
All meetings are cancelled. If your group or committee can meet electronically, via email, texting, teleconference, whatever works — please do so. Stay in touch with one another!
Decisions about public worship will be made week by week.
Wednesday, March 18
Morning Prayer will be live-streamed at 11:30am
Evening Prayer will be live-streamed at 7pm
Sunday, March 22
Live-stream worship at 8:30am
Pastor Lyle's blog
Pastor Dave Lyle is planning to blog daily during these days of no public gatherings and social distancing. Read today's post here. If you'd like to receive email notifications about new posts, you can sign up for them on the blog. Links to daily blog posts will also be posted on the Grace Church Facebook page.
Your gifts to Grace Church support ministry to people who are sick or isolated, as well as our ongoing witness to God’s grace and love at work in the world. Click on Giving (above) to give online.
UPDATES March 13, 2020
PUBLIC WORSHIP CANCELLED
Our Sunday morning public worship services for March 15 have been cancelled. Join us for a livestream virtual service at 8:30am, with Word, song, preaching and prayer. Read Pastor Lyle's email about worship here.
Lenten Wednesday worship has also been cancelled for March 18.
We have decided to move to eLearning for next week, March 16-20. Students will not physically come to school, but these will be attendance days where they will have coursework and assignments. Our current plan is to return to school on March 30, following our scheduled spring break (March 23-27), but this will be evaluated in the days leading up to then. E-learning information for parents and students is here.
After careful consideration, and consulting local and state wide recommendations, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Graceful Evening to Saturday, April 25. The auctions, ra
ffles and paddle raise will all take place on that date as well. More information will be available soon.
BACH CANTATA VESPERS
The St. Matthew Passion performances scheduled for March 28 and 29 have been postponed indefinitely.
Grandparent and Grand-Friends Day at Grace School, scheduled for Friday, March 13, has been cancelled. School will be in session for students, with dismissal at 11:30am, as originally planned for the day. Extended Day Care will begin at 11:30.
LETTER FROM PASTOR LYLE
March 12, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
The psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). These are troubling times. The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a global pandemic. As people of faith, we are called to make responsible decisions for the well-being of ourselves and those around us.
At Grace and School, we are in engaged in ongoing conversations regarding how to respond. I write to update you as to where those decisions stand. Please note that the situation is constantly changing; these decisions may be quickly changed to respond to new information.
As of now, worship services will continue. I am, however, asking that you take precautions.
- Please refrain from physical contact with others, including during the Sharing of the Peace.
- Please note that during Communion we will abstain from both intinction and the common cup. Both wine and juice will be available in individual cups.
- We will not pass the offering plates. You may place your offering in the plate in the Narthex or by the Division St. entrance.
Also, while worship will take place as scheduled, please consider that it may be in your best interest to stay home. As the Chicago Department of Public Health notes, “If you are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.”
Those at high risk include older adults and people, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems. Please do not place yourself at risk by attending worship.
This is an odd sentence for a pastor to write, but here goes: If ever there was a time when it would be preferable to have lower worship attendance, this is it. You have my permission to stay home.
Live stream of Sunday worship. We are planning to live stream our worship services starting this Sunday at 8:30 am. Watch it here. This is a wonderful way to stay connected to the Grace worshipping community.
We are fairly confident this will go smoothly, but please be patient — there may be a few kinks to work out. Going forward the plan is to stream one service each Sunday, usually at 8:30, but sometimes at 11. The service video will remain accessible from our YouTube page after the service has ended; you don’t have to watch in real time. You can also access the live stream through the Live Stream page at GraceRiverForest.org.
Graceful Evening, Saturday, March 15. As of now, Graceful Evening is still scheduled to occur. If you feel that you should stay home, please do so. You can still participate in the fundraising for Grace School by bidding in the Silent Auction, which opens at noon on Friday and closes at 9pm on Saturday night. You can also make a donation to the Fund-A-Need at the auction site.
Adult Education. The Adult Education presentations from Dr. Carl Schalk scheduled for March 15 and 22 have been postponed indefinitely.
Other events, updates. As of now, we are not cancelling other events. This does not mean we will not do so as the days progress. Please check our website for updates and watch for emails from Grace Church.
Caring for one another. We are making plans to continue to care for our members as this outbreak plays out. Visits to people in hospitals, and nursing and assisted living facilities will be difficult. Some of these institutions in Illinois have already limited or prohibited visitors. We will try to connect in other ways. In the meantime, please reach out. You can contact me via email ( ), at the church office (708-366-6900), or on the pastoral emergency number (708-689-3032). Let me know how you’re doing. Please know that I am praying for you. Please reach out to one another as well.
Support Grace Church and School. In these days of volatile financial markets, I ask that you continue to be faithful in your support of Grace Church and School. Your gifts support ministry to people who are sick or isolated, as well as our ongoing witness to God’s grace and love at work in the world. Click on Giving (above) to give online.
Again, this is a rapidly changing situation. We will communicate as needed as the situation changes. In the meantime: Wash your hands. Take care of yourselves. Be good to one another—even if this means practicing social distancing.
In the hope of Christ,
Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grant to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
(from "Evangelical Lutheran Worship")