Henry County Church Services and Events

Local churches assess how best to serve congregations

Claudia Loucks
Geneseo Republic

Although deadlines did not allow me to contact every church in the area, I found that most churches have services and other events “on hold,” waiting for additional mandates. Concordia Lutheran Church in Geneseo is the exception and will hold services on Sunday, March 22.

The Rev. Stephen Mueller, pastor at Concordia, said all events except church services and Sunday school have been put on hold. At this point, we are planning day by day, understanding Illinois keeps changing things and being aware of the concerns and needs of the people of our church and the community. Right now, as of Tuesday (March 17), we are still trying to figure out a way to hold services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 22, but that could change if we have a mandate from the State of Illinois. We think we have space in our sanctuary to fulfill the recommendations made public by the Illinois government. – to keep people at recommended social distancing. We will also remind them to practice good hygiene habits that are appropriate in any instance of sickness.”

For more information, call the church at 309-944-3993.

What is evident in a community of faith such as Geneseo is that pastors care about their church families.

The Rev. Melva England-Graham, who with her husband, the Rev. Mark Graham-England, serves as pastor at Grace United Methodist Church, commented, “As people of faith, we are foremost concerned about the well being of everyone in our community. Let us focus on what we do best; pray and care for one another.”

-Grace United Methodist – All services and events are cancelled through Sunday, March 29, and worship messages will be available at the church website – geneseograce.org.

“We don’t want to socially distance ourselves, we want to physically distance ourselves; let’s continue to care for one another and stay socially connected by making a phone call or through other available technology,” England-Graham said.

-First United Methodist – The Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter said, “We are suspending all face to face church programs until further notice. We are worshipping together online via Facebook.”

Ritter said the church is implementing a care ministry “to make sure folks in our congregation have everything they need. We are looking at ways to get spiritual encouragement to people while they are in physical isolation.” For more information, visit the church website – peopleneedjesus.org.

-First Lutheran Church in Geneseo – All services and events are cancelled through March 29. The church council will meet in the next week to determine scheduling after March 29. Midweek video messages as well as Sunday messages are available at the church face book page which is First Lutheran Church Geneseo. For more information, email first@firstgeneseo.org

-Geneseo Evangelical Free Church – The Rev. Stephen Palm, church pastor, “On Sunday, March 22, and Sunday, March 29, we will be live streaming our services at 10 a.m. and our worship team will be at the church and I will deliver the message. Beside that, we will continue to find creative new ways to connect with our church family and our community. We encourage social distancing.”

For more information, visit the church website – gefc.org. The church office will be open from 8:30 to 4 p.m. through the week, by appointment only as the church will be locked.

-First Congregational United Church of Christ – Services and all other events are cancelled through March 31. For more information, visit the church website at www.fccgeneseo.org . For more information, call the church at 309-944-3389.

-St. Malachy’s Church – All services and other events are cancelled until further notice.  For more information, visit the church website at saintmalachy.org and the church email is church@saintmalachy.org .

-Geneseo First Baptist – All services and events have been cancelled through March. The Rev. David Murphy, pastor, said, “Because information we are receiving is rapidly changing, we will wait until April to determine how Easter services and other events will be scheduled.”

The congregation is divided into groups which are overseen by deacons and the deacons and the pastor will check on members of the congregation. Murphy’s messages are available through the church website which is firstbaptistgeneseo.com as well as on YouTube which is https://tinyurl.cm/uoffyv2 .

-First Presbyterian – Worship services and all other events have been cancelled through Sunday, March 29. More information is available on the church website at geneseofpc.org as well as on the church face book page. There are no office hours and for emergencies, call the Rev. Tim Doty, pastor, at 309-363-8711.

-SonRise Bible Church in Atkinson – The Rev. Dustin Largent said all gatherings of over 10 people, including worship services, are cancelled. “Although we will not gather in the sanctuary on Sunday, we will be presenting a fresh worship service online at 10 a.m. broadcast at the church website http://SonRiseBibleChujrch.com .,” Largent said. “Our desire is that you would reach out

to your neighbors and church friends and meet with a group of 6-10 people.”  The service also will be available on YouTube at http://SonRiseBibelChruch.com . “We would like to have groups reply to our website so we have an idea of who is meeting where and get material to you,” he said.

The church doors will be open for 10 or less to receive prayer, pray alone in the sanctuary or pray with others. Times will be available on the church website.