For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV)
New update as of September 1, 2021
This week the elders have prayerfully considered the wisest path of response to the statewide mask mandate currently in place. We truly appreciate the input we have received from you and are thankful for your prayers as we have sought the Lord’s guidance regarding how best to gather for worship and fellowship during this time.
While our church is not legally obligated to follow the mask mandate as a “house of worship” per the state of Illinois, our aim is to make decisions that are both wise and loving given the increase of COVID-19 positivity rates in our region as we meet together as God’s people.
In view of these factors, here are the current mitigation measures for our church:
- We continue to strongly encourage face masks for those who are not fully vaccinated.
- Our Sunday service in the Worship Center will continue to be mask-optional.
- We will host a mask-only seating area in the Mission Center lobby during the worship service. Worship in the Mission Center lobby will be livestreamed.
- We will continue to provide our online livestream service each Sunday.
- If you are sick, have recently been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, or are exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms, please worship from home and make use of our livestream worship service.
We want to emphasize that even if you have been vaccinated and would prefer to wear a mask, please feel free to do so.
One of the most hope-giving truths that we are taught in the Scripture is this: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is our “only comfort in life and in death” (to quote the Heidelberg Catechism). However, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is also one of the most countercultural verses in the Bible. We live in a society where individual freedom can and has become a form of idolatry. This verse tells us that Christians belong first of all to Jesus Christ. He is our Master. He is the One who purchased us with his own blood. As our Master, we are called to obey him and submit to him in everything we do. But here is the glorious truth: Obedience to Jesus is the path to everlasting freedom and joy.
Not only do we belong to Jesus, we’re also told that we belong to one another. Our individual lives – including our speech, our decisions, our attitudes – affect our brothers and sisters, members of Christ’s body. “[W]e, though many,” the Apostle Paul says, “are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5) What we do has a ripple effect. It builds up, or tears down. It strengthens another’s faith, or places a stumbling block in their walk with Christ.
In all matters – spiritual, political, COVID-related – let us prioritize one another. We are brothers and sisters, purchased by the blood of Jesus and are members of his forever family.
CHANGES TO OFFERTORY AND LORD’S SUPPER
During this time, we are not passing a plate for the offertory, though of course we encourage you to worship God with your tithes and offerings. When you enter our worship space, you will notice a small table to the right with hand sanitizer, bulletins, and an offertory plate. We invite you to place your offering in the plate before or after the service, or to give online.
The Lord’s Supper looks a bit different in these months as well. Our elders and communion team are constantly working to find a way to administer the sacrament that is reverent while also reducing the amount of handling that might occur before it is administered. You may find the elements in bags, or in pre-packaged cups. Thank you for being gracious and remembering that these alterations are temporary. During the Lord’s Supper, an elder will bring the elements directly to you.
LIVESTREAMED AND RECORDED WORSHIP FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND IN PERSON
If you are immunocompromised or high-risk, we encourage you to stay home and worship along with us via the Internet. You will find our service uploaded usually by Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. You can always find the worship services on the Sermons page on our website or on Facebook.
STAY IN TOUCH
Ordinarily, we aim to stay in touch with visitors and guests by requesting that they fill out our friendship pads during the offertory. These days, it’s harder to share information that way. Instead, we encourage you to make sure you receive our weekly newsletters through emailing our office administrator, Rosa (email@example.com) with the subject line: Please add me to the weekly Midweek Update. In doing so, we’ll be sure that you don’t fall through the cracks. We also always invite you to share prayer requests and needs with us this way as well.
The Midweek Update is one of the primary ways we share updates and new information regarding our response to COVID-19. We strongly encourage you to check in every Wednesday or Thursday to stay abreast with what’s new at FCC.