Corona Virus Update

 

March 21, 2020

 

St. Mark’s Family,
 
The leadership here at St. Mark’s has been in constant contact with each other and has monitored the CDC, Kane County Health Department, and the state of Illinois. With the mandate of “shelter in place” from the governor, we have evaluated our situation and have included it in this update.
 
Saturday, and Sunday and the beginning of next week

  • Starting Monday the church office will be open but please do not drop in unannounced. If you need to speak to staff please make use of email or the phone. 
    • If you need to speak to Pastor Ray in person please make an appointment ahead of time. If you just show up, you will not be let in to the office.
  •  Starting tonight, Saturday services will be cancelled until further notice. 
  • Tomorrow we will Live Stream our services, Sunday 9am and Sunday 10:30am
  • Streaming will start approximately 5 minutes before with a countdown clock for people to get signed in to a site.

The links should go directly to the streaming page, if not see the instructions below.

  • Website: On the top of the page there is a banner with the word, “Live”, clicking on that should bring you to the live stream.
  • Facebook: You have to scroll down to the section that says “video” in the heading 
  • YouTube:  There is a banner below the St. Mark’s logo that includes the word “video”. If you click on that it will take you to the live stream. 
  • After the live service is over, you will be able to access a recording, which will be available on the sites during the week for convenience. 
  • Only essential volunteers will be in the sanctuary during the service. These members will be part of the service and the live stream production. 
  • We will also continue to stream our Wednesday Lenten service.
    • Faith statements from our confirmation students will also continue. They have been given the additional option of recording there statement to be played during the service.
  • Giving is essential for our church to continue to operate; we encourage you to use eGiving to tithe or the U.S. mail to send in tithing. St. Mark’s, as a non-profit, are counting on your continued support of our mission to Welcome, Love, and Lead us to Jesus. 
  • Unfortunately Community Supper has been cancelled this Tuesday.

 
Where we gather is our church building, but the church is really in you. The church is the body of people that worship together on any given day or worship together in spirit, and that’s what we will be doing for the next few weeks. 
 
We will continue to have updates through out this crisis and if things change we will let you all know as soon as we can.
 
Blessings and Prayers,
John Toniolo
St. Mark’s Council
St. Mark’s Staff
 
Links:
Website, Face book or YouTube

March 14, 2020

 
St. Mark’s Family,

I want to update you on what’s happening at St. Mark’s in light of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak. At this time there are no cases of COVID-19 at St. Mark’s.

Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story with great concern. As this event is ever changing and fluid, I will try and keep the most current information available through frequent eBlast updates.

I’ve also reached out to local city officials and spoken with several other pastors to gain perspective on how to best move forward. Please read through this entire email as it contains detailed plans for keeping our campus safe and changes to this week’s services.

At this time, St. Mark’s will have services tonight, Sunday and mid-week Lenten service. Council is in continued communication with each other and if local and state health officials do recommend closure, or we determine it is in the best interest of our St. Mark’s family to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails, and social media.

What is happening this Saturday and Sunday:

  1. Substitute shaking hands at church with a wave or a friendly smile and kind words.
  2. We encourage using social distancing by spreading out and using all the pews.
  3. ALL communion servers (even if just serving the individual cups) shall wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer immediately prior to serving communion. ALL ushers shall wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer prior to handing out the bulletins. 
  4. We will suspend the common cup. For those who use the common cup because they may have difficulty handling the individual cups, the elder will offer to pick up the cup for them and serve it to them common cup style if they require it.
  5. We will have the ushers collect the offering at the end of the service in the back as people leave. Remember, you can also give online.
  6. Sunday school will be suspended at this time until further notice.  We encourage family’s use this time to worship and pray together during service time. 
  7. We will also suspend bible studies until further notice.
  8. Coffee will be served but snacks will not be served until further notice. The team will wear gloves when they serve coffee.

Coming up this week:

  1. Lenten Service will continue but we are cancelling the suppers until further evaluation.
  2. As D303 and D304 have closed and moved to eLearning and St. Mark’s Preschool has followed their lead and closed until April 3rd, we are going to put FFG and Illuminate on hold and will not have any official gatherings until further notice. (Youth Families please see Alex’s email that was sent out earlier today for more information).
  3. Community supper is scheduled for March 24th and is being evaluated at this time. We will have an update on this in a future eblast.
  4. Bunco for Blessings is being postponed for this Friday night but will be re-scheduled to hold the fundraiser for the youth and Living Well Cancer Resources Center.

During this time, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean: 

  1. We will sanitize frequently touched surfaces before and after every service such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, check-in stations, and sinks.
  2. Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick. 
  3. We will provide additional hand sanitizer stations around campus for everyone to use.

We are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  1. Stay at home when you or a family member is sick.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.
  4. Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.
  5. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at St. Mark’s.

St. Mark’s Online:

If you or a family member are sick or need to stay home during this time, or just feel uncomfortable at this time around larger gatherings, you are welcome to watch Sunday services online. We’ve got an open spot for you to watch St. Mark’s online during our 9:00, or 10:30 am services on our Facebook Page or YouTube page  St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

While we cannot control the virus, the spread, or the impact it has on our church, we’re doing everything we can to make our church facility as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear, but in faith. 

As the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, 

“For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 

My prayer is that God will fill us all with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

Blessings and Prayers,

John Toniolo and St. Mark’s Council

March 13, 2020

 
Dear St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Community,

With all the adjustments our communities are making to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we want to update you on how St. Mark’s is approaching the present situation and addressing these concerns.

While many businesses and non-profit organizations are choosing to move to fully remote or virtual models, St. Mark’s will remain open for regularly scheduled worship services at our facility this weekend (March 14 and 15), and we welcome anyone in the community who is seeking to worship our Lord to attend these services. We will continue the safety and sanitary measures that were established last week; this includes refraining from physical contact during the service and the changes to the distribution of communion to further avoid the exchange of any potential microbes. Specific directions will continue to be reiterated at the start of each service. We ask that all who attend services strictly comply with these behaviors. Individuals who do not comply with these instructions will need to leave the facility. Finally, we ask that anyone who has a fever, persistent cough, nausea or diarrhea please refrain from attending services in person out of respect for the safety and health of other Christians.

At the moment, it is our intention to continue to hold services at the church and remain open for regular worship services throughout the lenten season. We will also continue to maintain online worship services via the LiveStream technology. Worshipers are encouraged to participate in the service style that best suits their individual needs in this time of medical crisis. Our goal of maintaining in-person worship is simply to serve the needs of those who wish to worship in that way; we believe that God is gathered with us when we connect as a community to worship Him whether we are virtually gathered or physically gathered. We will continue to collect an offering during our services at the church; virtual attendees are encouraged to utilize the online giving capabilities provided by NCSServices (Give – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church). Please contact the church office if you have any difficulty contributing to the offering in this manner.

Finally, as we all continue to address the global need to stem the spread of this dangerous virus, we ask each and every person to pray for a quick resolution to this global crisis. We pray to Christ for wisdom to be imparted to our community leaders and our citizens as they make individual decisions that impact others. We also pray for the spirit of compassion and understanding to overwhelm our communities and our leaders as we all band together to protect our most vulnerable populations from this virus. We ask you to pray for us as an organization and as leaders, that we would receive wisdom from God to make the right decisions as we lead this organization through this critical time. As the needs of our community evolve, it may become necessary for us to re-evaluate our decision to continue holding worship services in person. If changes are needed, we will communicate any changes through our website, social media and through this newsletter. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you — either virtually or in person — as we come together to worship this weekend.


Thank You and God Bless,

St. Mark’s Church Council