Bishop Frank J. Beard and members of the Extended Cabinet are providing this update as of today for the following regions in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference:
The entire Illinois Great Rivers Conference (Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) is now in Phase 4 with no mitigations. This reflects no change in the past two weeks.
Because the metrics are very fluid, the regions could move between Wednesday announcements. When this occurs, the church is asked to use prudent judgment and decide based upon the congregation's comfort level.
For the detailed metrics, visit: Restore Illinois Regional Dashboard
As COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widely available, some counties are including clergy in Phase 1A vaccine distribution plans. The Illinois Department of Public Health plan specifically mentions clergy in health care settings, but given the role that many clergy play in providing pastoral and palliative care within various health care settings throughout the state, some counties are including in Phase 1A vaccination distribution all clergy, including pastors of local congregations, who might provide this care even if they are not paid or permanent chaplaincy staff.
Please check with your county health department to see which categories of clergy are eligible for priority vaccinations in your community. Of course, clergy who are eligible because of their age, health care occupation, first responder work, or complicating medical conditions should also contact their county health department. Clergy who are not primarily serving in health care settings should consider their eligibility and the availability of vaccinations in order to ethically prioritize those who are most in need or at risk from COVID-19 at this time.
Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church
The Restore Illinois plan provides for the State of Illinois to be divided into four public health regions, which will be assessed for risk of COVID-19 deaths based on five phases. This is a summary of the detailed guidance available for Illinois Great Rivers United Methodist Churches on applicable safety guidance for each phase.
Phase 1: RAPID SPREAD
Phase 2: FLATTENING
Phase 3: RECOVERY
Phase 4: REVITALIZATION
Phase 5: ILLINOIS RESTORED
To read the entire document, use the download link below or select the menu item to the right, "Coming Back to the Heart of Worship" and its secondary pages underneath it.
Bishop Frank J. Beard