Please click this link to view the midweek video from Chuck McGuire our new Chair of Church Council.

Reopening Update

In July we shared with you our plans to begin in-person worship beginning in August. However, as we continue to evaluate the current environment and our ability to provide the highest quality worship experience for the widest possible audience, we have decided to put those plans on hold.

We believe that our best next steps are to continue offering both the weekly pre-recorded worship service on the weekend and the weekly outdoor service in-person as long as the weather permits. The outdoor services will continue on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. throughout August and then move to 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings in September. 

We will continue to offer many opportunities for small groups via zoom and even in-person. No events will be scheduled in the sanctuary or in Fellowship Hall during the month of August. Small groups of 10 persons or less that wish to meet in the church building should coordinate with Amy Fuller, our church Director of Buildings and Grounds (afuller@normalfirst.org). We will continue to expand and upgrade our on-line services so that they are available to the widest audience possible.

“First, do no harm.” That phrase, borrowed from the medical community, must be our first precept as well. It appears that the Coronavirus is again on the rise in many places. While we have done a good job locally and across the State of Illinois, we must continue to be vigilant and concerned for the greater welfare of our congregation and our community. With the rising number of Coronavirus cases, both locally and nation-wide, we do not feel it is wise to offer in-person worship in the sanctuary at this time.

We had planned to offer a single in-person service each week beginning in August with capacity for approximately 60 people in the sanctuary, and we were working toward live-streaming that service. With limited in-person capacity, we realized our widest audience would still be virtual, so we will continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our online services remain of the highest quality and work toward ensuring quality live streaming for the future.

Over the past few months, we have been blessed by the tremendous work of our pastors and our technology team under difficult circumstances. We have had the opportunity to be a part of our church in a variety of new and creative ways. Our on-line services have been spiritually meaningful and of extremely high technical quality and are getting even better every week. Wasn’t it wonderful to see a baptism recently? We have learned a great deal, much of which will continue to bear fruit even after we move back into the sanctuary. 

Like you, we are anxious to return to our beautiful sanctuary. We will return as soon as it is safe to do so, but we cannot give a definite date at this time. We will continue to work with the Bishop, our District Superintendent, and other local United Methodist churches with a view to providing meaningful and safe alternatives for services during the duration of this pandemic. We will keep you advised as developments occur. In the meantime, thank you for your patience. Bless you and stay safe.

Chuck McGuire Church Council Chairperson