While the city of Chicago may see partial reopenings of some services and businesses starting June 3, the NSBC building will remain closed. Religious services- along with any gathering larger than 10 people- are not included in the list of activities on the slate for reopening. While some limited daycare services will be reopening around the state, this will not apply to the nursery school located within the church, which will also remained closed for the month to come.
At NSBC, we take seriously our responsibilities to care for the lives and well-being of all members of our community. We serve a broad mix of people in our building, including individuals in a diverse range of vulnerable situations (underlying health conditions, limited access to health care, essential workers who serve in higher-risk settings). In addition, some aspects of our communal life- singing, in particular- have proven to be especially high-risk for spreading the coronavirus. In the past two weeks, churches that have reopened for worship around the country have seen high rates of infection among participants, even while taking precautions. We are closely monitoring recommendations coming from state and city officials. However, we also may decide to reopen at a slower pace than the guidelines indicate. As we contemplate resuming each of the many activities and ministries our building has hosted, we will do so with prayer, discernment, and caution.
As we do so, we will also consider the new ministries that have blossomed during this time of quarantine- worship videos on YouTube, audio devotionals, Bible studies via Zoom- which have ministered to many who could not attend our church even prior to shelter-in-place. As we move away from shelter-in-place but continue to face the threat of the Coronavirus, we will likely continue to innovate new ways of connecting safely that may bear unexpected fruit. Once we are able to safely resume old activities, we do not want to lose the spiritual support that these new ministries can continue to offer.
Please pray for and with our community as we continue to journey together along this road.