Why We’re Not Ready to Close Our Doors Just Yet (10/30/2020)
Brothers and Sisters,
As many of you already know, Governor Pritzker has recently ordered a new set of restrictions for Region 9 (McHenry and Lake Counties) intended to stem the uptick in our region’s case positivity rate. Though focused mainly on indoor dining, the Governor has also ordered that social gatherings be limited to 25 or fewer people. Right now, we’re gathering 70-75 people in our sanctuary each week with upwards of 15 or so in the Great Room—all at an appropriate distance, of course.
First off, we should note that, as a place of worship, VCL is not legally bound to comply with the Governor’s order. Our controlling guidance comes from the IDPH guidelines released back in May. Therefore, the decision is entirely up to us whether we respond to this new development.
That said, the elders have discussed the matter and decided that we will continue to worship together on Sunday mornings for now. Should the case positivity rate continue to climb or hospitalization rates get out of control, we may choose to close for a time—not out of fear but as a sacrifice born of love for our people and our neighbors.
We’ve not approached this decision lightly but out of a conviction that the embodied fellowship of God’s people is far too precious a thing to forsake without a clear sense that doing so would be necessary for the safety of our people and community. Thus far, our COVID safeguards have proven effective in preventing spread within our church. As for the community, the current data suggest that safe gatherings such as ours aren’t responsible for the uptick in positive cases. The picture isn’t completely clear, but it appears that in-home gatherings are more likely to blame.
We’ve always held that God has commanded us to submit to the governing authorities (Rom 13:1; 1 Pet 2:13-17). We’ve not gone back on that; we’ve only acknowledged that Governor Pritzker is not the only relevant authority in our case. Public resistance from local mayors (Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Mundelein, and even Chicago) to the Governor’s order gives us greater confidence that we’re not acting recklessly in our decision to continue meeting.
Though we aren’t changing course right now, we are taking this resurgence of the virus as a call to further vigilance on our part. We don’t plan to add new safeguards, but we do all need to take extra care to follow the guidelines we already have in place. Please continue to wear your masks (the types without a valve), refrain from singing, and maintain six feet of distance between one another. This may seem onerous at times (trust me, I feel your pain), but these are the sacrifices we’ve made and will continue to make to be able to worship together at VCL.
We’re all growing weary—rightfully so. But I want to remind you of what Paul wrote to the Galatians: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:9-10). Let us continue to do good to one another and our community by staying vigilant. Don’t give up. Trust that, in due season, we will reap the fruits of our sacrifice as we all gather—unmasked, shoulder to shoulder—to sing praises to our great God.
Your Brother in Christ,
To find this Sunday’s (11/1) worship guide and a link to our live stream, please click here.