Crystal Lake Coronavirus /  BUILDING Updates

June 25, 2020

Willow Friends,

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “When will WCL re-open?” We last gathered in our building on March 8, and we have missed doing so ever since. We’ve gotten creative in online worship, prayer, small groups, and events, but we know virtual meetings aren’t a long-term solution for church.

Our senior pastor, Dave Dummitt, has an update about reopening and how we can use this time to focus on who we will be as a church. Please watch it HERE.

As you know, our staff has been working with local authorities and health officials to form a multistep plan for regathering. (Learn more here.) This plan is based on what we currently know about the spread of the coronavirus. 

We are committed to partnering with experts as we approach each decision while keeping the health and safety of our church and community as a top priority. Given that, we don't anticipate meeting on campus in large groups any time this summer. In the meantime, we can meet in small groups of 10 people or fewer to catch up, connect, pray, study scripture, and experience church. After the state's anticipated move into Phase 4 on Friday, these groups can grow to a socially distanced gathering of up to 50. We have some ideas for watch parties listed below! As always, I encourage you to do what you feel comfortable with and what is best for your family.

Serving with you,

Dave Smith
Lead Pastor | Willow Crystal Lake

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ADVICE & TIPS

Miss Church? Host a watch party!
What do you miss most about going to church? If you said, “the people”, you’re in good company! While experiencing church online has its benefits, it can’t replace the connection that happens before or after the service. After all, it’s people that make church, church.

We’ve seen you get creative in connecting by hosting socially distant watch parties, meeting in parking lots, and pulling out camping chairs in your driveways. Here are a few more tips for hosting your own watch party:

Host Online | Many people aren’t comfortable meeting in groups yet—and that’s okay! We stream all our weekend services on Facebook Live, including our current Get Out of Your Mind series, so you can host a watch party on Facebook and live chat with your friends during the service. Contact Emily to learn more.

Park and Play | Identify a public location, meet your friends, and stream the service from your vehicles. Afterward, back your cars up in a circle and sit in your trunks and flatbeds to chat.

Host at Home | Invite friends or family over, and watch the service together. Get creative and set up a TV or tablet outside or gather in a large room. Take it a step further by jotting down some notes during the message and discussing them afterward.

Take the Conversation Further | Did you know? We offer discussion guides for each weekend message! Contact John to receive it via email and use it to learn and grow together. We’ve put together some additional guidelines for smaller groups to help you engage in community while also staying safe! 

 

 

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April 30, 2020

The Willow Crystal Lake building closure has been extended to May 29. While security checks are performed daily, no other entry is allowed by congregation or staff without prior approval. We will re-evaluate the situation by May 29. Subscribe to Dave's weekly e-news so you will receive all updates regarding building changes. Stay connected by checking the Willow Creek App and by following us on Facebook and Instagram regularly to be a continuing part of our community and to learn about current groups and online gatherings we are offering tailor-made for this season.

Stay Healthy and safe,

Dave & the WCL Team

 

 

 

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May 25, 2020

Dear Willow Crystal Lake family,

I hope you are enjoying the Memorial Day weekend the best that you can in these unprecedented times. There is no question that very little feels normal while we wait to determine what the new normal will be, and part of the new normal is what church life will look like for us moving forward. These unknowns can be hard, frustrating, and disorienting, causing unexpected sadness, anger, and a desire to make things better quickly. These feelings are absolutely normal and expected.

This past January we were challenged from Psalm 133 on the unity that God is desiring to forge out of us in the year 2020. Since that time we have experienced more brokenness, loss, and the full-blown winter of a pandemic. Despite these challenges, we still can see God further unifying our congregation in new and vibrant ways.

We have shown our resolve toward greater unity by gathering every Sunday online, connected in worship and in teaching. We have launched dozens of new small groups through video conferencing, with new members joining every week. And we have remained connected through our daily social media campaign, seeking to spur one another on in love and good deeds. As we have always said, “You don’t go to church, but you are the church,” these words have never been more tested and proven.

With all of these ways that we have rallied around the core practices of our faith, we are now experiencing a new challenge in our pursuit of unity: when to safely open our doors to physically gather as a church body.

As you know, the President recently announced that houses of worship and religious services are essential, urging governors to release restrictions for gathering. And though we all have differing opinions on if, when, and how we physically gather as a church family, God is still calling us to remain unified in these biblical principles:

  • Though God created government (Romans 13:1-7) our ultimate loyalty is to Jesus and his kingdom (Matthew 6:33Philippians 3:20).
  • God’s upside-down, countercultural principles commission us to care for the vulnerable, place the interests and needs of others above our own, to honor those in authority, and to be a patient, grace-filled people.
  • The local church is important and established by God to be the hands and feet of Jesus within our communities. The church allows us to collectively participate in God’s plan of renewal in ways we really can’t do as individuals. Being together is a good thing.
  • The church is called to live out its biblical mandate of worship, community, and mission through whatever means possible, even if those means require digital platforms, social distancing, and masks.
  • Jesus calls us to biblical unity, not uniformity (John 17), allowing for diverse opinions on matters, while still holding firmly to “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

With these foundations in mind, please know that our campus leaders are currently in robust and prayerful conversations with the senior leadership of Willow Creek Community Church, as well as discussions with local officials to determine when and how reopening occurs. Currently, our timeline is unclear.  Aside from social distancing requirements, we are needing to fully assess the unique aspects of reopening that set us apart from other essential establishments such as the gathering of large numbers, the physical connection of handshakes and hugs, the collective respiratory impacts of singing loudly, and the necessity of extensive cleaning practices.

In the meantime, we know that our return won’t be immediate, and will require incremental stages of re-entry. When these phases launch, they will be implemented with great care, ensuring both physical and digital avenues are available for the connection and community of every person who gathers as a part of the Willow Crystal Lake family. Until then I’m grateful for the platforms we can gather on for worship, teaching, and connection.

We will inform you of these incremental stages of re-entry via this e-news distribution and will continue to post building updates on WillowCrystalLake.org/BldgReopenUpdates. If you have not already subscribed to our e-news updates, please do so here.

Willow Crystal Lake, we will eventually get to the place of gathering physically once again. We were meant to gather in celebration of God’s grace, collectively giving Him our worship and challenging each other toward full devotion. If you find yourself missing our physical gatherings, you are not alone.

As we approach the small steps of creating space for small and safe gatherings, may we cling to the words of the Apostle Paul who writes, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Seeking God’s kingdom with you,

Dave Smith, Lead Pastor
Willow Crystal Lake

 

 

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April 30, 2020

The Willow Crystal Lake building closure has been extended to May 29. While security checks are performed daily, no other entry is allowed by congregation or staff without prior approval. We will re-evaluate the situation by May 29. Subscribe to Dave's weekly e-news so you will receive all updates regarding building changes. Stay connected by checking the Willow Creek App and by following us on Facebook and Instagram regularly to be a continuing part of our community and to learn about current groups and online gatherings we are offering tailor-made for this season.

Stay Healthy and safe,

Dave & the WCL Team

 

 

 

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March 31, 2020

The Willow Crystal Lake building closure has been extended to April 30. While security checks are performed daily, no other entry is allowed by congregation or staff without prior approval. We will re-evaluate the situation by April 30. Subscribe to Dave's weekly e-news so you will receive all updates regarding building changes. Stay connected by checking the Willow Creek App and by following us on Facebook and Instagram regularly to be a continuing part of our community and to learn about current groups and online gatherings we are offering tailor-made for this season.

Stay Healthy and safe,

Dave & the WCL Team

 

 

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March 20, 2020

As of Friday, March 20, the Willow Crystal Lake building is completely closed to all entry, including staff. We will re-evaluate the situation by April 7. Subscribe to Dave's weekly e-news so you will receive all updates regarding building changes. Stay connected by checking the Willow Creek App and following us on Facebook and Instagram regularly to be a continuing part of our community and to learn about current groups and online gatherings we are offering tailor-made for this season.

Stay Healthy and safe,

Dave & the WCL Team

 

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