Dear St. Philip family,
Grace and peace to you from the God who loves us.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases continue to surge. St. Philip leadership has been paying careful attention to Illinois Department of Public Health data, as well as federal, state, and local mitigation measures:
According to the most recent data from IDPH, our communities (zip codes 60025, 60026, and 60062) have seen a sharp increase in new COVID-19 infections with a 7-day rolling average positivity rate of 10.81% (up from less than 5% just before Christmas).
Informed by the guidance of medical professionals and public health officials, we know that the omicron variant is highly transmissible, even for those who have been fully vaccinated. The impact on local hospitals has resulted in increased admissions, including pediatric cases, on an already overburdened system.
Core to our mission of “sharing God’s love revealed in Christ with the world” is also our commitment to “fostering caring relationships within our congregation and community.” Compelled by our mission and in light of current circumstances, we are implementing the following changes in our life together (effective immediately):
We will pause in-person worship through Sunday, January 30. Only a limited number of worship leaders (Pastor, Minister of Music, A/V Tech, Reader, and Assisting Minister) will be present, and worship leaders will also wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. The assembly is invited to worship online on Facebook or YouTube at 9am as always. Pastoral care, including home visits and/or communion (with masks) for those unable to worship online, will continue to be a priority.
All faith formation gatherings (Wednesday morning Bible Study and evening GLOW Exploration) will meet on Zoom at their regular times through Wednesday, February 2. Please click here to join Wednesday morning Bible Study at 9am (or dial 312-626-6799 and input meeting ID 878 9690 4891 when prompted). Please click here to join Wednesday evening GLOW Exploration at 7:30pm (or dial 312-626-6799 and input meeting ID 848 6795 0942 when prompted).
Council, ministry teams, and other small groups are encouraged to meet virtually as well. If you are a team leader or group facilitator and need access to the St. Philip Zoom account (or a Zoom 101 refresher), please contact Pastor Josh.
Outside groups using the St. Philip facility will make their own decisions about gathering in-person. For groups choosing to meet in-person, face masks must be worn at all times while in the building, regardless of vaccination status. These groups, including Immanuel Church, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Alzheimer’s Association, have been notified of these updates.
Pastoral and council leadership will continue to monitor IDPH data trends and re-evaluate these protocols as appropriate/needed. As always, you can expect timely communication about the most recent updates on our website, in our e-news, and on our social media pages. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the church office if you have any questions or concerns.
While this is not the current state of affairs any of us had hoped for, now two years into this pandemic, we are committed to showing Christ’s love by protecting our community, especially our children, those who are unvaccinated, and other vulnerable groups. Please continue to join me in prayer for our health care workers, public health officials, and all who are sick as we yearn for an end to this pandemic and for the health and well-being of all in our community.
Stay safe, dear church.
Peace be yours,
Pastor Josh +