Living in Difficult Times – living in the shadow of COVID-19
We have been thrust into an environment where there may be danger nearby, but we may not be able to see it. That can be pretty scary stuff.
What better time than this to draw near to Jesus? And remember his words as spoken in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Trinity Vineyard’s Church Building is Reopening
We are thrilled to announce our re-gathering in the sanctuary on Sunday, July 12!
The service will also be available online for all those who aren’t present in the sanctuary.
Illinois has advanced to Phase 4 of the governor’s five phase recovery plan. Restaurants (indoor dining), movie theaters, and health clubs were all cleared to reopen with certain limits in place. We had previously announced that the reopening of in-person services of Trinity Vineyard would be tied to Phase 4. So, we are pleased to proceed with this timing! We realize that if the virus situation substantially worsens, we will need to retreat back to online only. Let’s enjoy each other’s physical presence now that we are able!
Of course, we will observe a number of changes in the service for safety’s sake. I know that there are varying levels of comfort in our congregation regarding gatherings with other people and appropriate safety measures. We are seeking to lean on the side of more protection rather than less, so that more people would be comfortable in attending. Please understand that our primary motivation is our love and respect for each other. While our protective measures may seem too restrictive to some of us, please consider that for others of us those same measures are barely adequate or even insufficient.
If you are in a high-risk category, or our safety measures don’t offer you adequate protection, we invite you to attend online at home. We desire everyone’s participation as we worship together, in whatever way best meets your needs.
It will be possible to attend a service at Trinity Vineyard without touching anything except for the bottom of your shoes on the floor and your backside on a pew or seat.
Before coming to church, we ask that you make sure you and your family are healthy, without symptoms of COVID-19. If you have an elevated temperature or other symptoms, please take care of yourself, stay home, rest, and let us know so we can pray for your healing!
We are observing the state’s guidance on church attendance. Therefore, we will allow up to 85 people in the sanctuary. Seating will be in the pews and a few additional chairs, with social distance of 6 feet between households. Pews will have a maximum of two households with 6-foot space between them. Every second pew will be completely vacant. Yellow caution tape clearly designates where seating is not available. The Blue Room will be our overflow room; the service will be live-streamed there.
When you arrive, a greeter will open the door for you. Another greeter will be inside and will wipe down the stair railing after your use. No bulletins will be handed out.
Facemasks are required. Bring your favorite! If you forget, a disposable facemask will be available when you enter. A touchless digital thermometer will also be available in case you forgot to take your temperature before you left home. Please refrain from coming if you have symptoms of anything contagious, including COVID-19.
You will pass a touchless hand sanitizer, available for your use. There will also be numerous sanitizer bottles placed throughout the building.
A host will select a seating location that will be a good fit for the size of your household. An usher will escort you there if you would like.
You may notice a sound coming from the top of the sanctuary above the worship team. It might be the Holy Spirit, but in addition we will be operating a powerful exhaust fan to produce airflow upward and outward. This ventilation will greatly reduce suspended aerosol particles that can transmit the virus.
Singing is a big issue and has caused problems in choirs. However, a good part of our worship is done with singing and has been for centuries. Even Jesus and his disciples sang! (Matthew 26:30) We are recommending that you sing in one of two ways:
1) Keeping your facemask on, sing at a volume of normal conversation. In other words, sing only as loudly as your normal speaking voice. Sound projection would be equivalent to talking.
2) Keeping your facemask on, sing with a plastic facial shield. This should catch any droplets that get through your facemask. Trinity Vineyard will provide one for you to use and keep for future services, if you want one. The shields are designed for multiple uses by one person.
I know that these restrictions may make our singing worship less enjoyable. But God seems more pleased with our acts of worship when we are also caring for the vulnerable and marginalized (Isaiah 1). The discomfort of masks is a small but worthy sacrifice.
The singers on the worship team and the preacher will not use masks or shields but will be separated from the congregation and each other by a free-standing plastic barrier.
Communion will be self-serve by households. Communion stations will be set up in the front and back of the sanctuary, and in the balcony. Please touch only what you will use. The bread will already be broken into pieces. Trays to collect used Communion cups will be on the window sills in the sanctuary.
The children in KidZone will go to the backyard during the sermon time. Club K and Club Elementary will have a combined lesson outdoors while observing social distancing. At this time we do not offer a staffed nursery. A parent and baby may go to the Whinery in the back of the sanctuary at any time.
All rest rooms are single use. Please thoroughly wash your hands and use the disposable wipes to wipe down surfaces you have touched.
The Sunday service will be shorter than previously. When the service is concluded, individual prayer ministry will take place in designated areas of the building. (Please continue to observe social distancing.) Everyone else will exit the building by households. (Please continue to observe social distancing.) There will be outdoor space for fellowship in the backyard where the children will have finished their lesson. (Please continue to observe social distancing outside too.)
As for parking, you will notice that the library parking lots are closed for construction. Please park in our church lot (9 spaces) and parallel park on Walnut and 8th Avenues. There should be enough space for the number of people we can seat in the church building under the present restrictions.
I know that this has been a rather lengthy description of changes from what we are used to. But we want everyone to be safe and feel safe during this pandemic. We have done substantial research and are implementing what we have determined are best practices for our people and our setting. I expect that we will make improvements as we gain experience.
More importantly, we are looking to God to be our refuge from this present danger.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Peace to you,
Dan (for the Pastors and Overseers)
To see the messages for the current sermon series, visit our current sermon series page by clicking here.
Link to the next event.
The service will continue to be accessible online. But for security purposes we will no longer publish an invitation to the next online event. Only those who are invited will be able to attend. If you want to receive an invitation, please call the church office at 630-587-1414.
Anything else to know about what’s happening at the church building?
Cement work was completed by the corner of 7th Ave. and Walnut. The city did some work, and we did some work. Some of the old cemented areas have been replaced with grass and some landscaping. Many thanks to the volunteers who helped in this effort!