Letter from our Bishop – Covid19 Worship Update
Covid-19 Precautions Update
As we continue to see lower risk for COVID-19 across the State of Illinois, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is adjusting its safety recommendations to keep in pace with the recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health. You can read the entirety of the IDPH’s updated recommendations at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19 and the full text of our updated IGRC recommendation document “Pressing On” at the link provided lower on the page on this page.
In summary, the changes to Phase 4 allow for up to 50 people to gather in most of our churches. In churches with room capacity larger than 200 people, they may gather up to 25% of room capacity. This removes the previous upper limit of 100 people. Additionally, fully vaccinated people will not count against gathering size limits.
A person is fully vaccinated when it has been at least 14 days since they received the final dose of vaccination. Churches may gather vaccination information by allowing for participants to voluntarily disclose whether they are fully vaccinated on the church reservation or sign-up log being kept for contract tracing. At no time should church leaders demand information about vaccination status (or any other protected health information), request vaccination cards be shown on admittance, or pressure participants in any way to show proof of vaccination. When in doubt our churches should continue to plan their gatherings as if participants are unvaccinated. The IGRC continues to recommend that churches should avoid creating special events, gatherings, or worship experiences only available to those who are already fully vaccinated. Our ministries are meant for all, and we need to be diligent in ensuring that an individual’s access to vaccination does not become a barrier for people’s full participation in the life of our churches.
The IDPH has created a new “Bridge” Phase to help ease the transition from Phase 4 to Phase 5 and has added some updates to Phase 5 which are reflected in the summary chart below. Please continue to witness to the love of Christ by keeping your congregation and community as safe as possible during this pandemic. If you have questions, please visit this page, contact your District Superintendent, or reach out to our Director of Connectional Ministry Curtis Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccinations for clergy in IllinoisStarting March 29, all Illinois religious leaders, including all of our IGRC pastors and clergy, will be eligible to sign-up with their local public health departments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can read the IDPH vaccination plan here.