Church Services in Phase 3

Claudia Locuks

People in Illinois are now allowed to attend worship services as the State of Illinois entered Phase 3 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” opening plan in place due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worship services will return to church sites at some Geneseo churches and others have chosen to continue providing online messages.

The Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter, directing pastor at First United Methodist Church in Geneseo said plans are to hold a 9 a.m. outdoor worship service on Sunday, June 7, in the church’s South Campus parking lot.

“This is a first step toward restoring full congregational worship,” he said, and added that online live stream worship services also will continue via face book…”We plan to continue online worship when COVID-19 is behind us.”

Volunteers will be present to assist families find a location in the parking lot that maintains 6-10 feet from others.

“We are asking everyone to bring their own lawn chairs, wear face masks, and keep any children they bring with them at all times,” Ritter said. “Congregational singing is allowed when 10 feet distance is maintained.”

Church restroom facilities will likely not be open.”

“When our area reaches Phase 4, we understand that we will be able to welcome back worshippers to our sanctuary at 25 percent capacity per service and I presume we will begin indoor, in-person worship at that time.”

“We are thrilled to resume in-person worship on June 7,” Ritter said. “We will do so with great care and caution. Our online service will continue to be the best option for many in our congregation, including those who are sick, have underlying health conditions, or possibly have been exposed to COVID-19. But gathering together for the first time since March will be a great cause for celebration and we are hoping many in the community will come celebrate with us.”

Outdoor services also are planned at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, in the parking lot at Geneseo Evangelical Free Church.

Those planning to attend are asked to bring lawn chairs and volunteers will direct traffic and guide people where to sit.

According to the Rev. Ryan Shannon, associate pastor, a special “welcome back” service is planned for Sunday, and he said, Pastor Steve (the Rev. Steve Palm) and members of the worship team will be under the canopy at the church delivering the message. Online services also will be available at 10 a.m. Sunday.

First Baptist Church in Geneseo will welcome worshippers inside the church for the 10 a.m. worship service on Sunday.

There will not be a nursery nor Sunday school classes, and the Rev. Dave Murphy, church pastor, said wearing masks is an option for those planning to attend…”We also have some masks for those people who come to the service and would like to wear one.”

Social distancing of people seated in the pews will be practiced.

“We are calling this Sunday a ‘soft start’ for the month of June and depending on how things develop, we may add more services in July,” Murphy said, and added that online services also will be available later in the day on Sunday at the church website.

St. Malachy’s Church will provide parishioners with communion on this weekend. Those people who want to take communion should come to the main entrance of the church between 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, and from 9 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 7. The Rev. Michael Pakula and/or the church deacons will offer communion.

A spokesperson from the church said tentative plans are to hold masses inside the church on June 13-14.

First Lutheran Church in Geneseo will continue to offer online services for the month of June. The Rev. Laura Kamprath, who with her husband, the Rev. Matt Kamprath, serves as pastor at First Lutheran, said, “We will return to in-person worship in the church as soon as we are able, but for now we will continue online services recorded in the church sanctuary.”

There also will be an online healing service at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, on the church face book page and YouTube which is .

She said, “We normally do the healing services quarterly, but since we are not able to gather in church, we want people to have the opportunity to ask for healing for themselves and for loved ones and for us to seek healing for the grief we experience when we are not able to worship together as a community.”

Cambridge United Methodist church will have an outdoor worship at 9 a.m. in the church parking lot. The Rev. Jim Aniol, pastor, said those planning to attend should bring lawn chairs and are asked to wear masks.

“We will practice social distancing in our seating, and my wife, Christy, and I will serve communion to those who attend. We will be wearing gloves and masks”

Aniol also asked that those people who plan to come to the service and who are healthy enough, should park on the streets surrounding the church, leaving room in front of the church for those who are less mobile.

“We are just excited and blessed to be able to worship as a church family again,” he said.