After a nearly four month shutdown of our in-person worship, Sunday groups, and other ministries, we resumed in-person worship on July 12. During the shutdown we created AN 18-PART VIDEO SERIES that offered encouragement three times a week, posted AN ONLINE FORUM for people to connect with each other on issues both local and global, and hosted a weekly phone-in worship experience on Sunday mornings. When the state of Illinois' battle with COVID-19 produced amended guidelines, recommendations, and requirements related to the pandemic, we decided to return to our building on Sunday mornings. Here's everything you need to know about the changes we've made to adapt to our COVID world:

  • We clean/disinfect surfaces in the building all accessed surfaces every Sunday, immediately after worship
  • We installed a touchless hand sanitizing station on each level of our building, and automated hand soap and paper towels dispensers in all restrooms and two other locations.
  • We expect everyone who enters the building for Sunday morning activities to wear a mask, unless medical conditions advise against that practice. We provide a disposable mask to anyone who does not have one when they enter. 
  • When Bill Coley speaks during worship, he does not wear a mask but stands at a greater distance than usual from people (approximately 15 feet from the nearest possible seating location). At all other times while people are in the building on Sunday mornings, Bill wears a mask. 
  • We practice social distancing - a minimum of six feet of separation between people not of the same household - while on the church grounds for church functions, including worship. 
  • To implement social distancing during worship, we have clearly designated the pews in which people may sit: We maintain two empty pews between the pews in which people sit. Please do not sit in pews other than those marked. In the pews where seating is permitted, we ask people to maintain at least six feet of distance between households.
  • We do not include live singing in worship, at least for the time being. Instead, we use recorded music and videos. (And yes, that means our worship will be shorter than in the past. NO CELEBRATIONS ALLOWED!) 
  • We use pre-packaged communion elements - each package containing separately sealed wafer and juice.
  • We no longer serve refreshments in the lobby before worship, at least for the foreseeable future. 
  • We do not permit access to our drinking fountains. We welcome people to bring bottled water, if they desire. 
  • To reduce the amount of cleaning we have to do after each worship, we ask people to clean up after themselves in their pews.
  • At the moment, one of our two 9:00 a.m. Sunday groups - the one that explores the question, "Was Jesus God?" - has resumed, with appropriate steps to assure social distancing. It meets in fellowship hall around rectangular tables placed so as to provide for social distancing during its sessions. 
  • We provide a phone-in option for people who prefer to listen live to the worship worship by phone. Scroll down for more information.
  • We do not allow use of our facilities by outside groups, at least until further notice.

Can't make it to our in-person worship? call in to our NEW system!

We're excited that our in-person worship resumed on July 12, but we understand some people will choose not to join us in our building, or don't yet feel comfortable joining us for in-person worship. SO, we offer the next best thing: Join us by phone! 


STEP 1: Call (309) 306-0038. 

STEP 2: When asked for an access code, enter 964600.

STEP 3: When you hear a recorded greeting from FCCEM, press the * key on your phone.

That's it! Once you press the * key, you'll be on the call. Some notes about what happens then:

  • If you're the first person to call in, you'll hear background music until someone else calls in. Once a second person connects to the call, the music will end and you'll be free to speak with anyone else on the line. [On conference calls, it's really important that only one person speaks at a time; otherwise, people talk over each other, and no one is understood.]
  • We set aside the period of 10:15-10:30 a.m. for "lobby time," casual conversation among those who have called in. Then just before worship begins we mute ALL callers' phones so that the only sound any caller hears comes from the worship service through Bill Coley's phone, The audio quality of the service is quite good. (NOTE: Currently, we unmute all lines during the prayer request time of our worship, during which those worshiping in-person call in to join those who worship by phone. At the end of the prayer time, the in-person worshipers hang up and we again mute all but Bill's Coley's phone line.)
  • Since we mute all phone lines other than the one that broadcasts the worship, except during the prayer time you may listen to the worship via the speakerphone on your device, if you wish. No sound from your location will be heard by any other caller during worship.
  • We record each week's worship service, but ONLY for the purpose of harvesting sermon audio that we post on our website. Any audio from each Sunday's "lobby time" is deleted and never shared or saved.
  • We'd love for you to take communion with us when you call in. If you'd like to do so, please have whatever you want to use as your "bread and cup" within your reach so you can take them when invited to do so during the worship. It doesn't matter what you use for each element, but it does matter that you have them within your reach.

Now that you know how to worship with us by phone, we hope you'll join us this coming Sunday! 

[And by the way, you'll use this very same process should you ever call in to participate in a meeting or other FCCEM function.]