[UPDATE, March 20, 2020] Per the Governor’s Executive Order, Lake Street Church of Evanston is now canceling programs and events through April 7, 2020.
Dear Friends and Members of Lake Street Church,
After much thought and prayer, I have, in collaboration with your co-moderators, decided to cancel all Lake Street Church of Evanston events until March 19th, 2020. This includes Sunday worship, any committee meetings, our after-church workshop from Better Angels, before-church confirmation meetings, and our Monday evening board meeting. On March 19th, we will update you via email on the status of our congregation and let you know if we are planning worship for March 22nd.
We are taking these steps out of love for our community – this congregation and Evanston – and it is my desire for our congregation to be a leader in our community on these issues. It is important to note that COVID-19 may be spread without showing symptoms, that it is particularly dangerous for those over 60, and that social distancing practices will only work if we take preventative measures before it seems obvious to do so. This means we have to act before it seems absolutely necessary.
Here at Lake Street Church of Evanston we believe in the power of Love, and I believe it is an act of love to suspend in-person worship this week. Care for this community and our world is our paramount concern. We express solidarity with the sick, our medical professionals, and public health officials by cancelling services and giving them critical time to act decisively.
Importantly, we will offer some form of an online worship service – please watch for more information on how to access that service. Other forms of collaboration and community participation include listening to previous sermons, praying for our community, and daydreaming about how fun it will be to be back worshiping together. Importantly, if you need help or assistance and are self-quarantined, please contact us so that we can try to get you help with things like groceries or other errands that you might need help with. No meetings of any kind will take place at Lake Street Church of Evanston this week. This decision only applies to our congregation and not our long-term partners that use the building, as they have their own procedures and decision-making processes.
Finally, it is important to note that, given the historical legacy of Christian communities blaming “the other” during times of sickness, Lake Street Church will not tolerate the scapegoating of a particular race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation with regards to COVID-19 or any other issue. Likewise, this disease, while frightening, it not an act of a vengeful God. God is Love, and it is the belief of our church that the Divine does not enact vengeance of judgment through sickness.
After the present crisis has passed, I know that we will be proud of how we took leadership in our community. Whether it takes us one week or several to open our doors, our hearts are open to each other in community. I stand ready to accompany you through this difficult time, and I encourage you to reach out. I look forward to worshiping with you in new ways this week, and I look forward to seeing you again when we re-open.
Blessings and Peace,
Rev. Michael Woolf