Our Mission As a passionate, Christian community, we are committed to nurturing and building up the body of Christ through welcoming, creative, and diverse ministries.
Our Vision To be a thriving Christian presence in metro Chicago, recognized as offering spiritual and social resources in our community.
Outdoor, In-person Worship Update
Dear siblings in Christ,
The Easter season continues to bring about moments of resurrection!
The Congregation Council is excited to announce that on June 6, 2021 we will offer outdoor, in-person worship in the Pritzker Elementary School parking lot! This location is two blocks south of Wicker Park Lutheran Church at 2030 W Evergreen Ave.
We will be implementing all the required COVID safety precautions during our time together, which will likely include 6-foot distance between households, symptom pre-screens, wearing a mask the entire time, and a required RSVP. You can learn more about what you are likely to experience by reading FAQs #2-6 below. Because best practices and guidelines change quickly, we will let you know the final safety precautions in the weeks before June 6.
To make this experience a reality, we need your help! Please sign up below to volunteer to help with setup (8:15-9:15 a.m.), implementing COVID safety measures as an usher (9:15-11:15 a.m.), cleanup (11-11:45 a.m.), or a combination.
During this outdoor service, we will continue to offer Worship Livestream (see FAQ #7 below for details). We strongly encourage you to do what is right for your situation. If Worship Livestream is best, we trust your judgment and we fully affirm that decision! Please do not feel pressured, judged, or coerced into returning sooner than is best for you and your health.
There may be some questions or frustrations as we resume in-person activities. We encourage you to review additional information in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Executive Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org any questions or concerns.
#1. Weren't we waiting until Phase 5 to begin outdoor worship?
You are right! In our past communication, we noted that we'd wait until Phase 5 to begin outdoor worship. The assumption with that determination was that 50% of the population age 16 and older in Illinois would have received at least one shot of the vaccine and that transmission would be more controlled.
At this time, although we are not in Phase 5, close to 56% of individuals have received their first shot. Furthermore, in Chicago, 58% have received their first dose and 42% have completed the full series. Since the state will be moving into the "Bridge to Phase 5" on May 14, the COVID transmission numbers have come to a more stable place at this time.
#2. Will parking be available at Pritzker?
Street parking is non-zoned in the immediate area, like it is around our church building. A few spots in the actual Pritzker parking lot will be available for those with mobility issues. Please note on your RSVP form if you're in need of a reserved spot onsite.
#3. Where will I sit? Will I be in a car?
You will not be inside your car during the service. You will be invited to sit outside in marked areas. The area will be denoted on the ground, which will include an approximately 7-foot by 8-foot rectangle for your household/pod. Two adults and two smaller children can fit comfortably in a standard area. A few enhanced areas are available for larger families based on the attendance noted in your reservation.
Individuals are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, pads, and other items to sit on the asphalt parking lot. If you do not have something to bring, please indicate on your RSVP how many folding chairs you'd like and we'll have them ready for you in your assigned area.
#4. Will I be required to wear a mask?
We will follow the city/state requirements for wearing a mask in this setting. Therefore, anyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask. While this event is outdoors, it is not a small gathering.
#5. Will there be communion?
Yes, we will have Communion! You will be provided with an individual communion pack that will have gluten-free bread along with either wine or grape juice. On the RSVP form, please indicate if you'd like wine or juice.
#6. Will there be singing or live music?
We will have live music for our preludes, offertory, and postlude. Right now, we're planning to have piano, violin, and guitar. Unfortunately, due to the fact that singing and wind-blown instruments produce aerosols that are more likely to lead to COVID-19 transmission, we will not have congregational singing, wind-blown instruments, or singers. However, there will be recorded hymns with singing that will be offered up for reflection during the service.
#7. What will change about Worship Livestream when we begin outdoor, in-person worship?
Moving to in-person worship will mean that the Worship Livestream experience will change as we will attempt to prioritize both the in-person and the virtual experience. When we transition to outdoor in-person worship, holding Virtual Fellowship will become difficult. Those who are in-person would not be able to attend virtually directly after the service. Those attending virtually may not want to wait until people can make it home to log on. The Sundays we do have outdoor, in-person worship we will not offer Virtual Fellowship. The Sundays we only offer Worship Livestream, we will have regular Virtual Fellowship. For details about how in-person, indoor worship will impact Worship Livestream, please see our previous announcement.
#8. When will we begin indoor, in-person worship?
Previously we announced: "We will move towards indoor, in-person worship when: (a) vaccination rates approach 70% for our regional adult population, (b) vaccines become more readily available, and (c) there is low community spread, which is defined as cases less than 1 per 100,000 and positive tests less than 5%." The Congregation Council continues to assess the situation and will announce when we are ready to begin in-person, indoor worship. If the current trends continue, we may see a return to in-person, indoor worship during the summer.
#9. I missed the announcement about when we will return to in-person worship. Where can I find it?
#10. Could we return to only offering Worship Livestream without outdoor worship opportunities?
That is possible. We have committed to piloting outdoor worship one time on June 6. Depending on how the service goes and how the pandemic unfolds in the Chicagoland area, we will consider holding twice per month services outdoors, weather permitting, and the remaining monthly services as Worship Livestream only.
#11. How can I help support in-person, outdoor worship?
Thanks for your willingness! First, you can volunteer to help with setup, cleanup, and ushering here. Second, holding outdoor worship has a lot of additional costs. Using Pritzker is costing us $600 per service and we needed to get some additional items to ensure that Worship Livestream continues. Feel free to make a donation to the "general operations" on our giving page, Venmo, or PayPal to support this gathering.