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Coronavirus Updates

Look here for the most recent information regarding changes at The Orchard as a result of COVID-19.

Worship Service - March 29

Online Connection Card
Lyric sheet

Coloring Page for Ages 3+
Coloring Page for Ages 7+
Sermon Notes for Kids
Family Devotional Guide

Give online

Saturday, March 28 - A Message from Pastor Scott

Church,

We heard some great stories from last week about your experience of church in your homes! Thanks for sending those to us. Let’s keep it going strong for this weekend and as long as we have to worship in this way. The Church Board is meeting on Tuesday to make decisions about what our programming will be in the coming weeks and months. Look for an email update from Church Chairman Jeff Rylander by Thursday, April 2. 

Worship Service
Our worship service will again be available on the website. Many people told me how encouraged they were by tuning in together Sunday at 10 a.m. Let’s continue that “tradition,” realizing that you can, of course, watch it anytime over the weekend.

Facebook Worship
I never thought I would put those two words together in my life, but here we are during the pandemic worshiping through that means. The worship service will again be available on Facebook Sunday at 10 a.m. For those of you who did that last Sunday, you noticed the increased amount of web traffic caused by churches all over the country doing the same. If you have any trouble this week, you may want to switch over to the video posted on the website, or have that ready on another device.

For Families
Parents, here are those same tools with some updates:
Coloring Page for Ages 3+
Coloring Page for Ages 7+
Sermon Notes for Kids
Family Devotional Guide

Giving
Whether you are doing it online or by sending a check to 1301 S. Grove Ave., Barrington, Illinois 60010, thanks so much for continuing to give! It was so wonderful to see how many people signed up online to do that for the first time. We are keenly aware of the financial challenges that everyone is experiencing right now. It is already affecting us as a church and we will be making tough decisions in that regard. So, we are enormously grateful for your continued faithfulness to the Lord during these uncertain times.

Connection
Our staff is continuing to reach out to people via phone, text, email, etc. We even had some virtual youth group meetings this week! The connection card is now online so that you can communicate with us and submit a prayer request. Please feel free to do that. We count it a privilege to keep in touch this way and pray for you. And if you would like a virtual pastoral visit, make note of that too. We are here for you!

Warmly in Christ,
Scott Lothery
Lead Pastor

Resources

  • Worship with your family - Take sermon notes and discuss with your family afterward. 
  • Check out these video devotionals and questions from The Bible Project.
  • Read this article about redeeming the time during quarantine.

Previous Updates

Church,
I speak for the entire staff when I say that we are already feeling the loss of not gathering together for worship. We are going to miss seeing you in church the next two weekends! The thought of it lasting longer than that is painful, but let’s all ask the Lord to give our Church Board particular wisdom in that regard and trust whatever decision they make when they meet again on March 31.

Worship Service
This weekend’s worship service is now available on our website. You can, of course, watch it at any time, but we would like as many people as possible to watch it on Sunday at 10 a.m. Though we can’t physically be in the same space, it will be an encouragement to know that our church family is worshiping the Lord together at the same time in homes all over the Chicago area. For a more interactive experience, the video will be available to watch together on The Orchard’s Facebook pages Sunday at 10 a.m. We have even put the connection card online so that you can communicate with us and submit a prayer request.

For Families
Our staff is working diligently to provide you resources for your students and children beyond this weekend. Not having Sunday school, youth group and Awana is a big loss! So, look for an email on Tuesday that will provide links that will serve our young people until we can resume normal programming. For this weekend, here are some tools to help you all have as meaningful a worship experience as possible:


Caring for Others

I absolutely love how many people have contacted us about caring for the neediest among us. It is so wonderful to see the compassion of Jesus Christ in the church. If you are in need in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to your pastor via email or phone! If you are someone who wants to help, here are two ways you can make a difference.

  • First, in addition to your regular giving, please consider a gift to our Benevolent Fund. This fund is used to care for those in our congregation and community in times of crisis. As you can imagine, we have had an influx of requests for benevolence help this week! Whether you give via our website, app, electronically through your bank or through a check in the mail, make sure to indicate it is for the Benevolent Fund.
  • Second, consider volunteering to serve. We are keeping a list of people who can run errands for those who cannot. There will likely be more people on that list to deploy than needs to meet, but if you are available for that, simply email your pastor. He will add your name to the list and contact you as needed.

Lastly, please know we are in this experience with you in every way. My family seems like a typical example of the wide-ranging negative experiences caused by this virus.

  • Our high schooler is now navigating the challenges of e-learning.
  • Our college student just came home because his campus closed for the semester and will finish online.
  • Our recent grad started a new job but faces the uncertainty of a stressed economy.
  • Our oldest was just exposed to COVID-19 in the ICU where she works as an RN in Indianapolis while caring for a man on a ventilator.
  • My wife’s health care facility is preparing for an influx of respiratory patients and has asked her to work as an RN on that floor.
  • And our hearts are concerned for both of our parents who are at a greater risk due to their age.

Our entire church family, and much of the world, is struggling to adjust and cope with these realities that will likely be with us for some time. May we all look to the Lord Jesus to protect, strengthen, gladden and calm us during this challenging season! And may we do so even as we worship “together” while apart this very weekend.

The events of recent days have been some of the most challenging ones that we have experienced as a nation, as a church, and within our own families. We are being bombarded with information, but still feel uninformed regarding how the days ahead will unfold. Here’s a video from Pastor Colin with a helpful word for all of us during this challenging time.

With everything changing so rapidly each day, we want to provide some information about what to expect from our church. The Board met last night to approve a plan for the next two weeks and will meet again on March 31 to assess the situation and approve more plans moving forward.

As you may well be aware, current recommendations are that no more than 10 people should gather through March 31 and that groups of no more than 50 should gather until May 10. Considering these recommendations, we believe it is wise to close our church facilities and cancel programming held at our facilities until April 1.

Here is the plan for worship for the next two weeks. While we will not be meeting in person, we are grateful to have technology in place to provide a video of our worship service for you to gather your family together to watch any time over each weekend. An email will come from Pastor Scott on Saturday when the worship service is available to watch. You can watch the video at anytime during the weekend or plan to watch Sunday at 10 a.m. when you know others will be watching. We’ll also make the video available via Facebook or Instagram on Sunday at 10 a.m. if you’d prefer to watch that way.

Pastor Scott will also provide resources for parents regarding children and youth ministry in our homes over these next two weekends. Regarding offering, please feel free to give online or mail checks to 1301 S. Grove Ave., Barrington, IL 60010. And in the Lord’s kind providence, I am really looking forward to all of us experiencing together a new series that Pastor Colin has been planning since January called Crisis: Facing the Unexpected.

In addition to worship, our staff is going to do their very best to contact church members during the next two weeks via phone. We simply want to offer a word from the Scriptures and pray for as many people as we can.

In addition to all programs at our facilities being canceled through April 1, all gatherings of 50 or more—including children and youth programming regardless of size—will be suspended through May 10. If you have questions about whether or not your adult ministry is meeting after April 1, look for another email from me on April 1. If you have additional questions after that email, please reach out to your pastor or ministry leader. 

Regarding LIFE Groups, Pastor Scott will be communicating via email to all LIFE Group leaders later this week. Look for details about your specific group from your leader.

The staff is also working on plans for alternatives to Awana, Sunday school, youth group, etc., in your home. Look for more info next week on those plans from your respective pastors.

Check the website for information about ministry changes in the coming weeks. Though we’ll send you emails as we have new information, you can count on this page to be up-to-date.

Worship and ministry will indeed look different in the coming weeks. Yet with great anticipation we trust that the Lord will soon bring us together once again to praise his name shoulder to shoulder. In the meantime, find confidence in our Lord and that we can know the peace of our God who is in control.

Worship Services - March 14 & 15

Barrington, Saturday 5:30 p.m. 

Arlington Heights, Sunday 8 a.m. (Lyrics for worship)

Arlington Heights, Sunday 11 a.m. (Lyrics for worship)

Listen to all sermons here.

The church will be CLOSED Tuesday, March 17. More info coming soon.

There have been new developments about the coronavirus (COVID-19) since I emailed you yesterday. Given the direction from the Governor of Illinois last night and the decisions of the public schools, we have decided to cancel all programming this weekend and the following week except for worship services.

We will have worship at all six of our locations at the times below, but all other weekend and midweek programming is canceled. In other words, there will be no childcare, children’s ministry, Awana, student ministry, adult groups, men’s breakfast, multicultural ministry, café, etc. There will only be worship services. LIFE Groups are welcome to meet as long as they don’t meet at church.

  • Arlington Heights – Sunday at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.
  • Barrington – Saturday at 5:30 p.m.; Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
  • Chicago – Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
  • Itasca – Sunday at 10 a.m. (one service, rather than the usual two)
  • Marengo – Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
  • Northfield – Sunday at 10 a.m. (one service, rather than the usual two)

All of us can have some experience of worship at home. For those who should not attend or cannot attend or do not want to attend this weekend, we will have a video of Barrington’s worship service up on the website by Sunday morning, and Arlington Heights’ worship service up on the website by Sunday afternoon. We are unable to capture and post the other worship services at this time.

Though it is certainly not an ideal way to experience church, the CDC is indicating that people with chronic medical conditions, seniors, pregnant women and young children are at higher risk to contract the virus and should avoid large gatherings. If you are in this category, please stay home and watch the worship service there. It’s not only okay for you to do that, it is wise!

Some of us can still gather for worship safely and want to do so. In yesterday’s email, we described some of the precautionary measures we are taking. In addition, we will further minimize contact. For some examples:

  • We will not distribute a bulletin. If you want to take sermon notes, please bring your own paper.
  • We will not pass out the Connection Card. If you would like to submit a prayer request, email your pastor directly.
  • We will not pass the offering plate. We will have baskets in the back after the service or you can always give online.
  • We will prop open doors so we aren’t all touching the handles.

We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for those of us who still want to attend worship in person.

We can gather in compliance with the government’s direction. The Governor instructed public gatherings of over 1000 to cancel and advised against public or private gatherings of over 250. Given the absence of the people in the high risk categories and all other ministry programs being canceled, we do not anticipate any worship service of The Orchard to exceed 250 people.

Expect more communication early next week. As information or plans change, we are committed to keeping you informed about what’s happening (or not) at church. The Church Board is meeting on Tuesday, March 17, to decide how to proceed with worship services and other programming beyond the next week. We’ve created a page on our website specifically to let you know about changes related to the coronavirus. We will communicate via email, text, and social media.

Please continue praying for our community during this time.

Given the recent news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in our area, we want to let you know what The Orchard is doing to prioritize the safety and well-being of those who attend our church. We do not want to overreact, but we also do not want to be unprepared.

1. We are praying, not panicking.
We really do believe that God is sovereign over all things and, therefore, trust him during this time. We also take great comfort in the hope we have in Christ as well as his power to change circumstances on Earth. So, we are praying for the safety of our community, our country, and the world. We are also praying for everyone to take the appropriate precautions and respond well to the challenges brought on by the coronavirus. Please join us in those prayers.

2. We are cleaning more thoroughly.
Our facilities team and custodial services are taking extra precautionary measures. We’re paying special attention to frequently touched surfaces.

3. Church will continue.
We don’t anticipate canceling worship services or any ministry programs, but are monitoring the situation and will inform you immediately if something changes. That said, please make the decision you are most comfortable with regarding your participation.

4. Stay home if you are sick.
If you are feeling sick in any way, please stay home. As always, we ask that you keep your child home if they are sick. Call the doctor if you experience symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

5. Please use good hygiene.
Take the CDC prescribed preventative measures to help reduce some potential risk to those in our church and community. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly for 20 seconds. If you have to cough, use the inside of your elbow and cover your mouth. In addition, refrain from hugs and shaking hands in church.

6. Take advantage of good resources.
The 
Center for Disease Control offers lots of helpful information. You may also find these articles from The Gospel Coalition helpful as we deal with the uncertainty that’s before us: Should Christians Be Anxious About the Coronavirus? or 8 Things the Coronavirus Should Teach Us or The FAQs: Coronavirus Explained by an Infectious Disease Expert and Pastor.

7. We will take action if someone contracts the virus.
If we discover someone in our church has contracted the virus, we will take the necessary steps as outlined by the CDC and notify you about how that impacts church life. If you are diagnosed with the virus, please let us know immediately.