Being Honest

By Rev. Cindy Marino

We are now several weeks into Illinois’ Stay at Home Order. It may be that this whole ‘Stay at Home’ thing is beginning to wear on you a bit. It seems like everything we love is canceled. But please hear this, church is not canceled. It just looks different! With that in mind, I thought I would attempt to compile some of the ways Grace IS being the church!

  • We haven’t stopped praying for you. Please click here to update us on any prayer requests.

  • If you need assistance with groceries, a job search, or emotional support, click here to  let us know. We can try to connect you with volunteers from our congregation with special skills to help.

  • We’ll keep updating our website, so click here for the latest news about ways to help.

What we won’t do:

  • Meet in-person. All of our in-person events, groups, and other gatherings are on pause as we practice loving our neighbor through staying at home as much as possible. 
  • Panic. God’s got this! As hard as it is to relax right now, we can choose to use this time to evaluate priorities and consider how to adapt to new ways. Stay calm, stay connected, stay the course!
  • Waste this season. All of us have a huge opportunity to connect with people online and serve our community right now. And even "non-techies" can make phone calls. Check on those folks God brings to mind! This is an opportunity to spend more time learning about and caring for one another!

What we will do:

  • Stay connected. Isolation isn’t good for anyone and we’re making sure that having to be physically distanced doesn’t mean we’re completely disconnected. Check out our online service details, virtual group meeting information and updates and studies from the pastors.    

  •  Love our people.

    • Our Stephen Ministers are busy making calls to every active member of Grace UMC, as are the pastors. Because we don’t see one another regularly, we won’t know you have a need unless you tell us. Please reach out! Call the Church Office or use the links listed above.

    • Our Grace Home Visitors regularly check on our 31 homebound persons. 

    • Our youth and children’s staff are busy developing creative ways to keep our children and youth connected and encouraged. Click here for Children's Ministry and click here for Youth Ministry for resources and updates.

  •  Love our neighbors. There are needs inside and outside of our church that we can meet if we work together. We know that our members are participating by providing meals for medical workers, making masks, donating  to our food ministries. Our creative staff is currently working to provide church-wide opportunities to encourage and uplift our community. Click here for ways to Reach Out.

Many are beginning to ask, “What will it look like when we can reopen the building?” 
The “Opening Up America” Guidelines include churches as organizations approved to open in the first phase of re-entry. Re-opening Grace will happen in stages. When guided that it is safe to do so, we will be able to allow small groups to meet once again, with strict guidelines as to room usage and safe practices. Large group gatherings are further down the road, so we will plan for online worship for the foreseeable future. Click here for the guidelines. 

Our Church Council met on Tuesday, April 28 via Zoom to discuss these realities and all the ways we can continue to facilitate the role of members to pray, be present, share gifts, serve and witness to our faith in a COVID-19 world. A report from that meeting will be made available. 

Remember our Hope! Our shared faith in Jesus Christ is what brought us together and will help us stick together. Our time and experience will be redeemed to further the work of Jesus Christ in our world!  We should and will plan for the present and the future to which God calls us!