Returning To In-Person Ministry



The First Church Return Task Force works hard every week  to plan and prepare for our ongoing efforts toward providing safe in-person worship. The team is carefully considering the health and well being of our people, the directives provided by the state and local authorities as well as your own level of comfort regarding larger faith-based gatherings. Below you’ll find a variety of resources and information helping us all navigate the best path forward.

Current Strategy and Restrictions

We continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Currently this means that we are following the state-wide mask mandate for indoor businesses and schools. Regrettably, this makes our in-person worship less than ideal. Balancing our desire to worship unrestricted and our commitment to public health has been an ongoing and evolving strategy. We thank you for your understanding. A more detailed strategy is listed on this page.

A Note from Pastor Lisa

If this year has taught us anything, besides patience, we have learned the importance of being adaptable – to be ready to pivot and shift how we do things in order to do ministry in an ever-changing environment. The First Church staff has been dedicated to this throughout the pandemic.

Because of our current COVID circumstances, we realize we need to pivot from our plan to return to two different worship services to a plan to continue with our current blended 10 a.m. service as we enter the fall season.

The markers that we will look for and that we need in order to be prepared for going back to two different services include:

  • Longer-term downward trends which encourage folks to be in larger groups
  • Increases in worship and children’s ministry attendance
  • Increases in people ready to return to ministry positions


Beginning September 12

  • One worship service (with a blend of music styles) at 10:00 am
  • In Chapel-in-the-woods through the month of September
  • In the Sanctuary beginning in October
  • Pre-recorded worship services will continue being offered on YouTube through October, after which we will be ready to begin a livestream of our worship service for our home viewers.
  • Our big fall ministry kick-off Sunday September 12th at 10:00 am in Chapel-in-the-Woods followed by Tailgating

Beginning September 19

  • Kids First children’s ministry plans during the 10:00 am worship hour will include:
  • Praise and worship for all the children followed by age-specific classes at 10:00 am
  • Classes for Pre-K, K-3, 4&5

Youth ministry plans:

  • Sunday School for middle and high-school at 10 am
  • Confirmation for 8th, 9th, & 10th graders at 11:15 am
  • Youth Groups on Sunday nights from 6 – 8 pm

Come mid-November, the program staff will return to this conversation to determine what is the best worship, children, and youth ministry schedule to be implemented after the holidays. We appreciate your support, prayers and participation as we all continue to be Devoted to Christ, Connected to others, and sent to serve.