Pastor Cristian Ionescu: How are the stay-at-home order provisions applied to churches?

Pastor Cristian Ionescu: How are the stay-at-home order provisions applied to churches?

I’m very careful with what I write since, together with Logos Baptist Ministries and Pastor Daniel Chiu, we’re involved in litigation against Mr. J.B. Pritzker, the Governor of Illinois. You can find the Public Notice of our action here: OFFICIAL: Romanian Churches Sue IL Governor for Discrimination

But let me provide much needed translation for the stay at home order provisions and how they apply to churches.

You see this chart that seems to provide a plan to restore normality for the State of Illinois.

It contains five phases to full restoration.

There are four conditions charts each triggering the next phase.

For churches, included in phases 4 and 5, right at the end of this process, it is of little comfort that the Governor bestowed upon us the status of essential services…

We are supposed to be in phase 3 right now, which would allow for church public services of 10 or less in attendance!

For us it is insulting more than ridiculous! We are conducting recordings for our online services with more than 10 being involved!

Whether the government officials have no idea what a church public service really means, or they’re trying to tell us in a non confrontational way that we’re still banned, I don’t know! But I know that the Governor should’ve included us in the dialogue at least to get informed on what a church service is really about!

Unfortunately, this administration dismissed us as non essentials in the beginning, then under intense public pressure and impending lawsuits gave us the recognition but only symbolically!

It doesn’t help us in the least!

Media analysis indicate that we’re months away from phase 4 (services with 50 or less in attendance) and at least a year to normality!

This is insane! If services with 10 in attendance sound ridiculous, 50 is not much better for a congregation of 900 souls!

Therefore, we concluded that the best restoration process has to be proposed, decided upon and implemented by each individual church!

Yes, norms and restrictions will need to be taken into consideration not only to satisfy the recommendations of the experts and the demands of the government but more so to protect the people and ease the fears and worries of the participants.

As citizens with parents and children ourselves, the governments should inform us of the danger, give us the recommendations, provide guidelines and trust us to do the right thing!

Some will say that given the novelty of the situation and the fluidity of its development, this pandemic needs to be dealt with in a unitary and consistent mode. Yet, from what we could gather, the government is as wobbly as anybody in its response to the virus. We’ve seen a lot of hesitation, confusion, politicking, trial and error and gaffes to understand that there’s no consensus about what’s really going on and what to do about it!

But when it comes to churches, there is one thing that worries me the most: the unembarrassed way our elected officials took on the Constitution of the United States and trampled at will on its specific and intentional provisions!

And as far as we’re concerned, this should and will not stand without a challenge!

Cristian Ionescu
Pastor
Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church
Chicago, Illinois

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