Public Health and Coronavirus Response

In keeping with the governor’s stay at home order for the state of Illinois, and recommendations from public health officials, Ebenezer will continue to suspend all activities, including worship services through May 31. However, it is likely that meeting together will be suspended or affected in some way through June, as we observe restrictions similar to those of Chicago Public Schools and consider guidance in consideration of the health of everyone in our community.

With the exception of 12-step and recovery groups (who are strongly encouraged to observe physical distancing recommendations), all space-sharing groups and organizations are requested to suspend in-person gatherings. Contact your group’s organizer for details.

Stay Connected

Click here to view and print the booklets for weekly worship and reflections.

Watch recordings of worship services and Tuesday Children’s time on YouTube, here.

Check in for updates from Ebenezer on Facebook.

Care and Support

For pastoral care needs, please email pastormichael@ebenezerchurch.org or call 773-561-8496 and leave a message for Pastor Michael. This voicemail is checked several time per day.

Many of you have expressed a desire to help as needs arise.
Jessica D. has graciously offered to help coordinate pairing those with needs with those who can help. If you are willing to help others, or, if you need help or support with something specific, email caring@ebenezerchurch.org or call 312-685-1353.
You don’t have to leave the house to help!
We’re also pairing up folks who don’t use email with those who do to keep them informed and connected. A willingness to make some phone calls and share information is a great ministry at this time.

Worship and Prayer

Wednesday Bible Study is a wonderful opportunity to stay connected with one another!
Look for an email every Wednesday morning with a one-click link to the Google Hangout. We discuss the upcoming scriptures for about 40 minutes beginning at 12:00 PM. I’d love to see you there! To sign up for the newsletter, send an email to Nathan (bookkeeper@ebenezerchurch.org)

Check out Tuesday Children’s time with Pastor Emily, posted on our YouTube channel.

Daily messages and suggestions for prayer are posted on Ebenezer’s Facebook page.
As usual, requests for prayer can be sent to Pam.

Additional Resources

Neighborhood Resources
Care For Real https://careforreal.org/

General Resources
Resources from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) (click here)
Resources from the Metropolitan Chicago Synod (click here)
Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov) (click here)

A message from Pastor Michael – May 24, 2020

Hello, from the Parsonage.
I continue to pray that you are all well, safe, and coping with this time of extended sheltering in place. I know we are all missing many things, being together among them.
I have initiated with the Council leadership and staff a proposal which outlines how Ebenezer will move through the phases as laid out by the city and state. You can have confidence that your church will not move to in-person experiences until it is safe to do so, and that it will be a phased process, likely beginning with an opportunity to receive a socially distanced Holy Communion while worship remains online in Phase 3. We don’t anticipate moving to phase 3 until sometime in June. We will keep you updated as decisions are made.
This past week both our Confirmation students and Seniors met online for fellowship and support. In fact, practically all our ministries have continued in modified form. While not easy, this stands as a testament to you creativity and dedication. You are are being church, alive and well, while serving your neighbors by staying home as much as you can.
Our Intern, Dan, is now resuming his duties after parental leave. Look for his return to our worship service next week, and he, as are your whole staff, available for support, care, and vital services.
Missing you all,
Pastor Michael

A message from Pastor Michael – May 9, 2020

Greetings friends!
As you are well aware, Chicago and Illinois are in extended shelter-in-place through May, which means Ebenezer’s building remains closed, just as our hearts remain open.

Also, please remember that myself, Pastor Emily, and our Parish Nurse, Marcia, remain available for remote pastoral care in these times. I receive messages left on my church voicemail in my email inbox at home, so your messages will be received. If you could use some support, please do get in touch!

Two opportunities of note:
First, Ebenezer will receive new members on Pentecost Sunday, May 31. Refer to the weekly E-benezer News email for more information. To sign up for the newsletter, send an email to Nathan (bookkeeper@ebenezerchurch.org)
Second, I am putting together an opportunity on Zoom for those who are eager to discuss when and how we might share Holy Communion, especially as it is likely that it will be some months before we can gather again in our customary way. Details about that gathering will be included in the next enews.

Ebenezer continues to provide pay to all our employees, including our part-time, hourly employees, many of whom count on that income. Thanks to your generous response, that continues to be the case! We have also been able to meet the needs of those who could use a hand in these days. Thank you!

We will continue to follow the guidance of the ELCA, the CDC, and the City as we make decisions affirming the well being of our neighbors. Remember: If you can help someone out, we need to hear from you at caring@ebenezerchurch.org. This is where we are matching needs with those who can help.

Take good care and remember to pray, breathe deeply, reach out, and be generous with your time, care, and resources.
Missing you all,
Pastor Michael

Announcement – April 11

A Message from the Ebenezer Congregation Council

Hello fellow Ebenezer members and attendees,
As we prepare for Easter weekend, we hope that each of you are coping well with the pandemic and staying safe and healthy.
The following is an update on Ebenezer’s financial position. The closure of the Church building and no in-person worship is, as expected, having a negative impact on Ebenezer’s budget. We have lost virtually all of our rental income with the closure, as well as the 30% of our member giving from our weekly in-person offerings. In addition, we normally have a little financial bump from Easter giving. As the necessary shelter-in-place order continues, Ebenezer’s budget shortfall will only increase.

Based on these facts, we are asking for those who are able and financially secure to prayerfully consider making a donation. It could be in the form of a special Easter donation or perhaps you could donate a portion or all of the funds you receive from stimulus funds. You can donate via the secure “Give Online” button above or click here.

We look forward to celebrating Easter this weekend and hopefully soon seeing all of you again in person.

Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to call Council Secretary Jim Bedinger or Council President Chris Korn if you have questions.
Warm regards,
Jim Bedinger and Chris Korn

Announcement – March 17

A Message from the Ebenezer Congregation Council

Dear Friends,
On Saturday March 14, the Ebenezer Council met for their regular monthly meeting to discuss the issues facing the church in these uncertain times caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. At the forefront was our concern for the safety of our Church attendees, the many worshipers who may be at higher risk and our Church employees.
As you have seen here, we decided to suspend in-person Church services for at least the next two weeks and to close the building through March 31 to all of the many groups who use our building and gymnasium, with the ONLY exception being the recovery groups and 12-step programs that most likely are in greater need during these stressful times.
The Council also decided to continue paying our hourly employees through the end of March, even if they do not come in, in order to relieve the stress of potential loss of income.
Suspending worship services and closing the building to the various community groups will most certainly have a negative impact on our 2020 budget. Approximately 25% of our offerings are made during Worship services and no building income will be coming in during the closure. We ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation online via the “Give Online” button at the top right side of the webpage. Be assured that our website, and the donation vendor website are secure. Any donations or increase in your regular contributions will help to offset what is a growing budget gap and are gratefully appreciated. (Also, if you use a checking account to make the donation instead of a credit card, you can save Ebenezer those processing fees associated with credit or debit card donations.)
Pastor Michael and the Congregational Council are committed to helping all of you and the Church we love make it through this pandemic. The Council will meet at the end of March to assess where we are and how me move forward together. Should you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 312-208-1811 or Council President Chris Korn at 773-699-4547.

Warm regards,
Jim Bedinger
Council Secretary

Announcement – March 14, 2020

Ebenezer’s Council met Saturday, March 14 to discuss appropriate measures for protecting the health of our community.
We understand that gathering as a community is a vital way that we find comfort and fellowship with one another. During this pandemic, we will all need the peace and presence of God. We do not wish to yield to unfounded panic, nor do we desire to endanger the most vulnerable among us.

With all that in mind, Ebenezer will gather tomorrow (Sunday, March 15) at 10:00 a.m. as planned. PLEASE do not attend if you feel being there would compromise your health in any way. You can read more about the precautions we are taking in yesterday’s e-news, available to view here.
Look for an email on Monday, March 16 for further information regarding our closure.
Ebenezer will remain closed, and all worship services suspended, until at least March 31, 2020.

We WILL be providing daily Facebook updates, including a Sunday worship video, a Wednesday Lenten Devotion, and asking YOU to contribute content that will help us stay connected and grounded in faith. I’ll also be providing ways that you can connect with one another, encourage one another, and check in on those who do not use the internet.

Be good to one another and yourselves. You are the communion of saints, Christ’s living body.
Take good care,
Pastor Michael Fick