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COVID-19 Update: May 22, 2020, Evanston Interfaith Clergy Letter: Covid-19 and Religious Gatherings

06/05/2020 11:08:09 AM


May 22, 2020


To: The Evanston Community

From: Evanston Interfaith Clergy

Re: Covid-19 and Religious Gatherings


The leaders of the houses of worship throughout Evanston pray that you and your loved ones are well. We are united in our care and concern for the health of our congregants and every member of our beloved community. We join in mourning for all those who have died, are suffering, or have lost loved ones in this pandemic. We are dedicated to tending the collective spiritual health of us all and manifesting the Love of God through our care of one another.


As clergy and leadership of the many interfaith communities of Evanston, we support the decisions of Evanston Mayor, Steve Haggerty, and Governor J.B. Pritzker as articulated in the Restore Illinois Plan, which calls us to follow social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health. We are grateful for our local and national leaders who are acting with courage and the best interest for the safety of our communities at heart. We commit together to continuing on-line worship and gatherings, and to eliminate in-person gatherings of more than 10 people, in our buildings or on our grounds, until we are in at least Stage 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. We will strive to work in partnership as we make decisions about how our faith communities will move through the phases of the plan. For those with ecclesiastical ties to their denominations, we respect and support the ties to your bishops and other authorities. We are confident that we can work together to ensure a united effort in moving forward.

As your faith leaders, who serve the community in partnership and collaboration, we are guided by the following values and principles1 which inform our shared response to returning to in-person religious gatherings:

· Our abiding care and concern for the most vulnerable, inside and outside our congregations.

· Accessibility and inclusion for all of our members and friends to participate in our congregation, regardless of health status, health vulnerability, or ability.

· Recognition that we are part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves.

· Ethical treatment and expectations for our leaders and staff, minimizing the risks to their own health and well-being.

· Acknowledgement of the spiritual demands of this transition.

· Our deep hope that we as a country, and as a world, will not return to “normal” when the pandemic is over. We seek to live into “a new normal” of more justice, more love, more equity, more sustainability, and more peace.

· Our affirmation that good science, coupled with aforementioned values, must be the basis upon which we make decisions about in-person gathering.

We will move through this difficult and extraordinary time, supporting one another in the faith that we are held in the sustaining and transforming power of God’s love.


Rabbi Andrea London, Senior Rabbi, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue

The Rev. Michael Kirby, Senior Pastor, Northminster Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church

The Rev. Eileen Wiviott, Acting Senior Minister, Unitarian Church of Evanston

The Rev. Pam Voves, Pastor, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

The Rev. Dr. Debra Bullock, Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Rabbi, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

The Rev. Joellen Hosler, Minister, Pastoral Counselor

Rabbi David Eber, Rabbi, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

The Rev. Tricia Teater, Director and Guiding Teacher, Udumbara Zen Sangha of Evanston

The Rev. Jessica C. Gregory, Associate Pastor, Northminster Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Betty Landis, Member, Grace Lutheran Church ELCA

The Rev. Kurt Condra, Senior Minister, Unity on the North Shore

The Rev. Grace Imathiu, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church – Evanston

The Rev. Charlotte E.T. Lehman, Pastor, Reba Place Church

Joey Rodgers, Evanston Friends Meeting – Quaker

Pastor Clifford Wilson, Evanston Own It and Mount Pisgah Ministry Church

Rabbi Amy Memis-Foler, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue

Rev. Linnette Hill, Minister Second Baptist Church

Pastor Monte Dillard, First Church of God

Pastor Zollie Webb, Friendship Baptist Church

Pastor Taurus Scurlock, Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Pastor Rosalind Henderson, Bethel AME Church

Pastor Debra Scott, Ebenezer AME Church

Pastor Kalif Crutcher, New Hope AME Church

Pastor Philip Bentley, Mt. Zion Apostolic

Pastor Karl Adair, New Beginnings North Shore Church

Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyyar 5781