Our goal is to provide a recording of a scaled down worship service for the next several weeks until we are able to see how this all proceeds. We will be posting recorded sermons here online for our members to watch and worship in their homes on Sundays.
This has been, and may continue to be, a difficult time for all of us. Please continue to be in prayer for our nation, our community, and for our church.
Scroll down to view this week and previous week's sermons and to read a letter from Pastor Torgesen as well as a letter from the Elders.
Contact Pastor Josh Edwards for more information on the youth group's
virtual hangouts at: email@example.com
If you would like Sunday school material for your kids for Easter,
please contact Mary Case for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to be there for you! If you or someone you know has a need,
please contact the Care Team at:email@example.com
March 19, 2020
Dear Village Church of Oak Park,
During these unprecedented times, we would like the Congregation of Village Church of Oak Park to know that the Elder Board continues to pray for God’s guidance and grace for our Church and our Nation. Now, more than ever, it is essential to be reminded of the sovereignty of our Lord. Please join us in remaining committed in our faith and united in our love for one another. We also want to thank our wonderful staff and volunteers who have provided wisdom and leadership in this unique time.
If there is anyone in need of prayer or any form of assistance, please feel free to contact any one of the Elders at our email or phone numbers listed below. Additionally, our Care Team continues to pray and care for the congregation and can be reached through Tia Lowray at 708.622.8929.
Please continue to visit our website for updates and sermons as we will do our best to stay in communication as much as possible.
Now is the time to rely upon and reach out to one another and place our trust in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Board of Elders
March 14, 2020
Hello Village Family and Friends,
Yesterday morning I sent out an email to inform the church that the leadership was in the process of discerning the direction we need to take as a church, and the decisions we might need to make as a board. In the email I stated, “The board has been in constant dialogue and prayer concerning the Coronavirus over the last week, but specifically over the last twenty-four hours. We have been working through the steady stream of information from the government, local community, and even local medical and health professionals. We have been approaching this prayerfully and thoughtfully.” Since then the leadership has spent a tremendous amount of time looking at the facts related to the Coronavirus, but more importantly we have tried to diligently listen to the Lord in terms of the direction we should take and the decisions we needed to make.
As leadership, we have looked at some of the best guidelines and protocols provided by the health and medical professionals, but also from churches ahead of us in this process. It has been a difficult endeavor and exhausting on many levels. The decisions we have made may cause some to recoil, and other to rejoice. We just want to be faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to our care.
I have been preaching on what it means to “Rest in the Lord” and learning to grow in our capacity to care for one another as the Church. It has become clear that one of the ways in which we can care for the church and for the greater community is to do what we can to limit the spread of the virus and to protect our health. This will slow down the spread rate of the virus and other flu related illnesses to allow the medical and health related fields to manage the care they need to provide. It is critical that we do our part in this process. This is a very significant and strategic way in which we provide care to people around us, while providing care for the church among us.
As the board discussed the issues yesterday evening it became clear that we needed to make several difficult, but deliberate decisions. They are as follows and will be in effect over the next several weeks, or until further notice.
We are canceling this Sunday Service and will not be meeting at the 19th Century Club. We know some may struggle with this decision, but it is one Sunday and we will carry on as we look for alternative ways to provide a worship context for the church moving forward. This is what is best for the church, the Children’s Ministries, and those in the body who might be vulnerable to illness. Many churches have suspended their services and are offering live-streaming of their worship and sermon, but we have to remember these are ministries that have a permanent building and equipment and technology already in place. We set up every week and then have to take it all down just to have a service, let alone set up additional equipment to live-stream or provide video on our website. Couple that with the technology and personal we need to make that happen and it will take a week to get that prepared and ready for the weeks to come. We had already been discussing this as an option, and looking at what it takes to get this ready so it can become available as quickly as possible.
The question then becomes “what’s next?” It is our goal to provide a live-stream of a scaled down worship service including the sermon for the next several weeks until we are able to see how this all proceeds. This may or may not take place at the 19th Century Building, but may be held at a location in the First Baptist Church building. It may just include the worship team and myself or Josh preaching, along with a few helping to get it set up, or it may include the option of twenty to thirty individuals who feel comfortable joining a smaller worship gathering in a chapel like service. This provides people options and allows for room for people to feel safe and is the equivalent of two to three small groups gathering.
It is important to note that there are still many churches meeting that are quite large and easily over the numerical guideline of 250 set by both State and Health Industry. Twenty to even forty individuals getting together to worship is well under that number, and current guidelines state that smaller groups are able to continue. This simply leaves people options if they want to attend a small gathering. We would not have Children’s Ministry, and food and communion would be eliminated during these smaller gatherings until further notice. This would allow for an authentic worship environment that we would live-stream on our website or Facebook. These decisions will be made as we move forward, but we will have a definitive answer early next week as to how and where this will take place. What we do know is that until further notice we will be providing the service on Sunday for the people of Village beginning next week.
In light of the above, it is important that we have a steady stream of communication to the church, and a place for those who need care to be able to communicate to us. It is our goal to have a designated page on our website to keep people informed, and we will be strategically using Village News and Facebook to keep our communication current. We will be using our church email as the primary means of communicating specific information, along with the additional forms mentioned above. Our care team is available for those who are in need, and we already have individuals who have volunteered to go to homes to visit or deliver meals or supplies. These times are unprecedented for many of us, and we want to be available as best as we can for those in need of care. The Care Team number 708-622-8929.
As we have stated, this has been and may continue to be a difficult time for all of us. We did not come to these conclusions easily, but wrestled through them prayerfully and scripturally. It is not the first time that an epidemic or some form of famine (seen the empty shelves at the supermarkets lately?) has been faced by the community of faith. We see this in scripture and we see it in the history of the church. God has used such things to bring people to Him, and to use His people to bring Glory to His Name. We forget sometimes that it was famine and disaster that moved Naomi to a foreign land, and disaster and death that brought her back to the land of plenty where she became the great, great grandmother of David. Her lineage continued all the way to our Lord and Messiah. The Lord did something similar with Joseph and look at how the Lord used his circumstances. We see this with the spread of the gospel in the early church. We don’t like it when it happens, but my oh my, how God can use it if we let Him! Let us walk by faith, and not fear. Pray and not panic. Rest in Him and bring our worries to Him, and I firmly believe that in the end all things will be well with our souls!!!
It is our commitment is to keep us all posted as we move along in this journey of faith. Please keep praying for our nation, our community, and for our church. As the great song states, “People need the Lord.” Yes they do, and we do too.
Pastor Bill and the Board of Village Church of Oak Park
Join us in worship this week with a message from Pastor Bill Torgesen and music by Nic and Audrianna Cageao.