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Update from the NDMC Church Board

To the members of North Danvers Mennonite Church,

The North Danvers Church Board continues to monitor the current situation. We met (virtually via Zoom) last Thursday in order to discuss how to approach deciding to gather again, and also what changes we think will be necessary when that happens. We wanted to give you an update of what we are currently thinking and to invite your input as we continue to work through this difficult time.

The Church Board has unanimously decided to continue to follow the guidelines for the State of Illinois. Thus, our thinking now is that we could not begin meeting together again at the church building until we get to Phase 4 when groups of 50 can assemble. We will continue to watch the situation. As everyone knows, it is a rapidly developing environment with changes day-to-day. We do have the opportunity to watch closely a number of other congregations in other states who will begin meeting again before this. That will allow us to see what happens in those congregations and if adjustments need to be made to our plans, we will be able to make them. To move quickly or to make snap judgments does not seem to be the wisest course at this point.

  • We know that you all are missing meeting together. We are, too. We feel that we need to be responsible in making the best decision we are able to, given the current state of the information available and the suggested guidelines. Let’s remember that the reason we have all made changes and accommodations in our current lives and schedules is to help protect those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19, and to help our front-line medical workers to not be overwhelmed by a flood of cases all at once.

  • From the beginning, we have all acknowledged that there will be different opinions on what is happening and on the best course in response to it. Let’s remember that while we may disagree, we are brother and sisters in Christ, so let’s continue to extend grace, kindness, and understanding to one another.

  • We will continue to have a live-stream service on Sunday mornings. This was a temporary measure that we did not know would last this long. We are aware that there are some for whom watching a live-stream on Facebook is difficult. We would like to address this as best we can, so that as many who want to watch and participate in the live-stream on Sunday mornings are able to. If you are having difficulty, or you don’t have the proper equipment to participate in this worship time, will you please contact Brian, and we will try to make accommodations so that you can participate.

The Church Board also discussed what changes will be necessary when we meet again. We believe that there are things that will look different even when we are able to meet.

  • It looks likely that when groups of 50 are able to meet that social distancing will still be necessary, so we are looking at ways to maximize the seating in our sanctuary and in our fellowship hall that will allow us to continue to abide by these measures.

  • It is very likely that we will not be passing the offering trays in our services for some time, but will provide a way to practice the part of our worship service that is our offering.

  • We are asking the question of what it will look like if we are asked to continue wearing masks when we meet for worship. What will this mean for congregational singing, for example.

  • We are also considering ways to help getting in and out of doors without everyone having to touch the door handles.

  • We are thinking through what an effective cleaning and disinfecting regimen will look like.

  • We recognize that there are some who will not be able to gather with us initially when we do meet. Some have compromised immune systems, or medical conditions that makes COVID-19 especially dangerous. For that reason, we are discussing what it will look like to continue to make our worship services available via live-stream for those who are not able to gather together physically.

We ask for your patience as we are thinking through these things that we never thought we would have to. This is an entirely new circumstance for all of us.

Finally, we would like to hear your input. Are there questions we have not considered as we are thinking about when and how we might meet together again? Do you have concerns that have not been addressed? We would like to invite your input so that we can consider everyone’s voice as we make these important decisions in the life of our congregation. We would encourage you to contact one of the Church Board members, and they will be able to pass your thoughts on to the entire board.

We love you all and are making decisions prayerfully, seeking God’s wisdom that will be the best for our entire congregation. We encourage you to continue to pray for North Danvers Mennonite Church, for each other, and for all who have been affected by this situation either directly or indirectly.

North Danvers Church Board Steve Eickhorst (309-663-5968) Matt Hilt (309-846-3206) Brian Johnson (309-531-2520) Michela Laible (706-832-6331) Gloria McGowan (309-275-2708) Jed Metzger (815-590-7062) Brenda Miller (309-963-4586)

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