WHAT'S NEXT? Let's Take This Outside

May 29, 2020 by Gregg DeMey

Usually the words, “Let’s take this outside” are followed by a fight or altercation. Today, as we officially enter Phase 3: Recovery of the Restore Illinois plan in response to COVID-19, “Let’s take this outside” is a fine summary of the new possibilities that lie ahead.

Here are just a few of the changes in store: Health clubs and gyms are able to host outdoor classes. State parks are open including activities permitted in groups of 10 or fewer with social distancing. Restaurants with outdoor seating are able to serve diners at socially distanced tables. Gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted with encouragement to meet outdoors if possible.

At ECRC, we’ve been asking the same question again and again, “What’s next for the church?”

The range of personal responses has been incredible. This graphic represents the diversity of our thinking and opinion:

Elmhurst CRC’s COVID-19 Response Team met earlier this week via Zoom and discerned the following that our congregation can “take it outside” during the month of June:

  • We want to encourage groups of 10 to meet together in homes for worship. Starting this Sunday, we can gather with friends, family, or neighbors for LiveStream worship, prayer, and the encouragement of each other’s company.
  • If at all possible, gathering outdoors is the best possible option for limiting the potential spread of disease. If you have a patio or deck that is suited to such a safe gathering, consider sharing this space. To help model this, part of Sunday’s LiveStream will take place outdoors on the east side of our campus.
  • We’ll begin supplying additional resources for home/family worship and watch parties to leverage the wider face-to-face community that we can now enjoy. Click HERE for this week’s directions.
  • We will be launching a short survey this Sunday immediately following worship to help leadership discern where our community is at in terms of our mindset and behaviors.
  • Our staff will be present at the church office on a daily basis, with a limit of 10 persons in our facility at any given time.

As we celebrate Pentecost during this Sunday’s worship service, it’s good for us to remember that on the first Christian Pentecost, 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples huddled in an upper room and asked the same question, What’s Next? The Holy Spirit’s response was to come in power and take the church and the Gospel outside: first to Jerusalem, then to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. By God’s grace we’re arriving at a similar moment in which taking it outside is just the right thing to do.

~ Pastor Gregg

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