Published May 15, 2020

The Northern Illinois District has produced a report exploring practical considerations churches may face when they begin holding in-person services as coronavirus social distancing restrictions are relaxed. The report, “Ministry beyond Social Distancing: Reopening Churches, Schools, and Early Childhood Centers for the LCMS Northern Illinois District,” is available for download on the District website. Read the report’s preamble below:

When the shelter in place order was issued for Illinois in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,everything changed. Our places of work, the way we socialize, shop, and entertain ourselves,and even how our families connected were no longer happening in the ways to which we were accustomed.

The way our Lord connects us to His Word and Sacraments, to one another as the family of faith,and the way He gives us to nurture children in His love, teaching them of His grace and the world He has created for us, were also greatly affected as we sought, as a society, to respond to the potential danger, the suffering, and the losses Covid-19 brought.

However, with the hope that our Lord works all things together for good for those who love Him,who are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28), we trusted that these hardships would not remain.There would come a time when the shelter in place order would be eased. Then our institutions would again have the joy of connecting in person, though they would face some challenges finding how best to do that.

In an attempt to assist institutions with reopening, the NID assembled a team of pastors, educators, and district staff who researched numerous aspects of the challenges and opportunities in reopening. The following resource is neither exhaustive nor authoritative. It is submitted by our NID Reopen Team to assist congregations, schools, and early childhood centers as they consider how best to reopen. Part I of this resource will focus on reopening churches. Part II, to be released sometime in summer 2020, will focus on schools and early childhood centers.

Our team wishes to express gratitude to other districts, think groups, and individuals that have contributed to this resource. We encourage you to research how others are approaching reopening as no one source is likely to be comprehensive.May our Lord use this resource according to His gracious will that our night of weeping may come to an end and the morning of our rejoicing may begin.

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District Publishes Report Advising Church Reopening Process