Monday, March 01, 2021

How the small Highland Avenue Church in Elgin has thrived during the pandemic

-By James Fuller

From the Daily Herald:

Caroll Ann Bailey looks forward to Sundays more than any day of the week. She puts on her church clothes, grooms her purple-streaked hair and thinks about the coffee and "intentional family" she'll get to hug and talk to.

Services at the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin typically feature only about 100 people. But Bailey likes having a smaller congregation where you can really get to know people.

"I like to get there early and sit in the sanctuary and just soak up the sunshine," she said. "And one day I got all dressed up, and I drove to the church, and it was locked. I just sat in the parking lot and cried. I was like, 'Oh my God. COVID's got us.'"

That was in March. Infections and death spurred shutdowns throughout Illinois and the country. The Highland Avenue Church found itself facing the same questions as other faith communities -- how do you remain a community when all the traditions you've put in place, all based on gathering in large groups, now pose a health risk that forces you to be apart?

To read the rest of the article, please follow the link from the Daily Herald: