This COVID Resource Page lists the latest COVID Safety directives and developments at Ascension. There are also Liturgical and Educational resources and past communications listed at the bottom. Please call our office M-F between the hours of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at 847.482.1200 if you have any questions.
As of February 28, 2022, the following COVID Safety Guidelines are in place at Ascension:
- In consideration of the steady decline of COVID case rates, Ascension is lifting its mask mandate. Masking, while still strongly recommended, is no longer mandatory during worship services as well as adult and youth ministry meetings.
- Pews are reserved in the rear, north side of the Nave for parishioners who wish to physically distance from others. Seats are also available in our fellowship hall where services are broadcast.
- If you are not a steward of Ascension, you must sign in at the narthex with your name, phone number and email each time you attend services so that Ascension can send a date-specific notification to you of possible exposure to COVID. Stewards are not required to sign in.
- Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of having been at church is to notify Fr. Sotiri by calling the church office at (847) 482-1200 or emailing Father at email@example.com. As always, your privacy will be respected.
- Please monitor your health and stay home if you are experiencing any COVID, cold, or flu-like symptoms, which range from mild (runny nose) to severe (shortness of breath).
Dear Beloved Parishioners:
As we approach the two-year mark of this extraordinarily challenging pandemic, we’d like to first and foremost thank you for your conscientious commitment to keeping our Parish safe. Globally, there has been a myriad of constant information as well as perspectives about COVID-19, and we thank our Parish family for your steadfast patience, cooperation and respect for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
After consultation with the Parish Safety Team, and in consideration of the steady decline in COVID case rates, Ascension is lifting its mask mandate. Masking, while still strongly recommended, is no longer mandatory. Although this guideline has been relaxed, we continue to remind the faithful to take proper steps to protect your neighbor, especially the most vulnerable among us. Pews are still reserved in the rear, north side of the Nave for parishioners who wish to physically distance from others. READ MORE >>
Dear Beloved Parishioners:
Out of respect for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, especially during the current surge in COVID cases, with much love we are requiring that all of our parishioners kindly wear face coverings during the divine services. Although up until now it has not been a requirement, the present situation in our area calls for us to be thoughtful to our neighbor and wear a mask within our Parish, regardless of vaccination status. Masks must be worn properly over your nose and mouth during worship and/or while in our fellowship/education building. I am very grateful for your understanding and cooperation. May God bless us all and keep us safe and healthy.
Fr. Sotirios P. Malamis, Parish Priest
December 23, 2021: Important Ascension Covid Communication & Safety Reminders
As we approach the Holy Days of Christmas and Epiphany and prepare to gather in worship with our Ascension family, we are also witnessing a surge in breakthrough COVID cases and related hospitalizations. With much love, Ascension's COVID Safety Team reminds parishioners of the following important safety guidelines, and respectfully asks for everyone's cooperation. READ MORE >>
November 4, 2021: Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations
The Metropolis of Chicago has received several questions from parishioners concerning religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please take a moment to watch this video in which His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael addresses this topic.
September 3, 2021 Ascension Announcement
Dear Beloved Brothers & Sisters in Christ:
I greet you again with additional information about Ascension’s updated policies and procedures to protect the health and safety of our Parish Family as we enter a new Ecclesiastic Year. Based on COVID directives from the State of Illinois and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, Ascension’s Parish Council and COVID Safety Team announce and clarify the following:
All parishioners and visitors 2 years of age or older are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask—regardless of vaccination status—while inside the church and fellowship building.
Ascension’s Greek School, Sunday Church School and Youth Ministry programs will follow guidance currently issued by the CDC and the Illinois Departments of Public Health and Education that requires masks to be worn indoors by all teachers, staff, students and visitors.
Contact Tracing and Exposure Notification
If a COVID-19 exposure occurs during a Divine Service, Ascension will notify its stewards by email. If a parishioner is not a steward of Ascension, they must sign in at the narthex with their name, phone number and email each time they attend services so that Ascension can notify them of possible exposure to COVID. Please note that reservations are not required to attend Divine Services.
Sign-in and/or attendance-taking at all Ministry Meetings, youth classes and Parish activities is also required.
While physical distancing across all pews will not be re-instituted, a section in the rear, north side of the Nave will continue to be set aside for those who prefer to be physically distanced from others.
If You Develop COVID-19
Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of having been at church is to notify Fr. Sotiri by calling the church office at (847) 482-1200 or emailing Father at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your privacy will be respected.
Coffee fellowship will continue; however, masks are strongly encouraged unless food or drink is being consumed.
With gratitude and respect, we appeal once again to your patience and cooperation as we persevere as one body of Christ through this pandemic. Let us continue to ask for God's mercy on all.
Fr. Sotirios P. Malamis, Parish Priest
Nick Marino, Parish Council President
August 27, 2021
Dear Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I greet you on this day as we celebrate the memory of St. Phanourios. St. Phanourios is a patron saint we ask to intercede in finding lost possessions or to reveal a life path or goal. I pray this saint intercedes for you and your loved ones, and “reveals” what is needed for your salvation.
Last Friday evening, I, along with Nick Marino, our Parish Council President, received a letter from our Chancellor, His Grace Bishop Timothy with important updates to the changing landscape of this virus. Within this letter, His Grace outlines several points and directives to all Parishes. I have shared this letter with our Parish Council and our Parish Safety Team. Along with the recommendations of His Grace, our Parish also at this time strongly encourages all parishioners and visitors to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status when attending worship services and all other events in our church.
In accordance with the letter from His Grace, we will report known cases of COVID-19 to our beloved stewards and guests.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work together, as one body of Christ, to navigate these challenging times.
With love in Christ,
Fr. Sotirios P. Malamis
MAY 2021 UPDATE
Thank you for your prayers and patience as we continue to navigate the changing pandemic landscape. At this time, the CDC and Metropolis of Chicago have updated safety guidelines that bring us a step closer to near normal “pre-pandemic” conditions for worship and activities.
To that end, let us rejoice that we can gather together once again as one body of Christ to participate more fully in the life of the church. The Ascension Parish Council and COVID Safety Team are pleased to announce the following safety updates effective immediately.
OVERVIEW OF METROPOLIS COVID-19 UPDATE, MAY 16, 2021
All parishes of our Holy Metropolis may cease requiring fully vaccinated people to use facemasks and observe social distancing. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated, or who independently desire to do so, are encouraged to continue wearing a facemask over the nose and mouth and observe social distancing. Of note, individuals are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To assure that all are welcome in our churches, each parish must set aside a portion of the Nave for individuals who wish to wear a facemask and practice social distancing and/or for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
All parishes are encouraged to resume regular programs and ministries, including, but not limited to in-person coffee and fellowship hours, meetings, classes, choirs, ministries and all other programs.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AT ASCENSION
- Ascension no longer has seating capacity limits. We rejoice in taking this opportunity to welcome everyone back to Ascension!
- You are no longer required to pre-register to attend services, and you no longer need to sign-in upon arrival.
- We rejoice that parishioners may resume entering through the main doors of the church.
- A section of our Nave is reserved for individuals who wish to continue mask wearing and physical distancing. If you wish to be seated in this section, please let the ushers know when you enter the Narthex so they may escort you to the proper section.
- The remainder of the Nave will no longer require physical distancing, and mask wearing is always optional. In implementing this new protocol, let us heed the humbled words of our Metropolitan Nathanael: “During this time of transition, I especially pray that we may all exercise the virtues of patience and humility. Let us not judge, criticize, or shame others, thereby continuing to grow stronger as an Orthodox Christian family.”
- You may resume venerating the Gospel, icons, the Priests’ hands and other sacred items.
- You may resume holding the red cloth when receiving Holy Communion. Napkins are no longer required.
- Antithoron will again be distributed after Holy Communion as well as at dismissal.
- Hand sanitizing, although no longer required, is encouraged.
- Air purifiers and enhanced cleaning protocols remain unchanged.
- Trays will once again be passed at the conclusion of Liturgy. You may also set up your own online giving account to electronically make tray and candle offerings.
- We ask that you are vigilant about your health. If you do not feel well, please stay home and participate via our live-stream option.
- We invite all congregants back to Coffee Fellowship Hour in our Fellowship Hall.
- Ministry leaders are working closely with Fr. Sotiri to plan the 2021-22 Ecclesiastical Year! Events will be announced in our bulletin and weekly email. Stay tuned for all the exciting developments!
As always, please help us continue to follow the high-standards we have set in ensuring our new church is beautifully maintained.
We thank our parish community for persevering through the pandemic by following what Holy Scripture teaches us in Ephesians: to be patient and considerate of one another, always looking to the best interest of others, and bearing with one another in love.
With love in our Risen Lord,
Fr. Sotiri Malamis, Parish Priest
Nick Marino, Parish Council President
METROPOLIS MAY 2021 DIRECTIVES:
Read Metropolitan Nathanael's May 16, 2021 Letter HERE
FOR THE LATEST HEALTH INFORMATION:
Until we can worship together in our church home, we will be live streaming Sunday Divine Services HERE. The stream will also be carried live on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel! If you miss the livestream, all services will be archived on our livestream webpage.
Click HERE to sign up for our Electronic Newsletter.
LITURGICAL RESOURCES and PRAYERS
Metropolis Separate But United webpage: The Metropolis of Chicago shares sermonettes, prayers, reflections or stories from the clergy members and others of the Metropolis on a daily basis.
Prayers posted on the Metropolis of Chicago COVID-19 Resource Page
OUR HOMES ARE A SMALL CHURCH: Links for Learning
FOR CHILDREN & TEENS:
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Religious Ed at Home
- Tending the Garden Virtual Sunday School
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Lesson Plans & Activities
- Be the Bee: Complete Series of Videos
- Lives of the Saints: St. Porphyrios
- Vessel of Grace: The Life of Saint Paisios the Athonite
- Y2AM Ministry At Home Resources
- Y2AM You Tube Channel
- OCF at Home: An on-campus connection for college-students
- GOARCH Library: Learn About the Orthodox Christian Faith
- Ancient Faith Podcasts
- Ancient Faith Ministries
- Mobile Apps and Books
- Discovering Orthodox Christianity Video Series
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese "Comfort Food: Daily Reflections Just for Families"
- Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops Spiritual and Activity Resource Page
PAST CORRESPONDENCE ON THE PLAN TO REUNITE
- November 4, 2021: Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations
- September 3, 2021: COVID Safety Update
- August 27, 2021: COVID Safety Update, Correspondence from Fr. Sotiri
- May 21, 2021: New: Ascension Updated Safety Protocols
- May 16, 2021: Ascension Safety Updates
- February 24, 2021: Important Update from Ascension's COVID Safety Team
- February 2, 2021: Metropolis of Chicago Safety Update for Non-Liturgical Programs
- November 20, 2020: Ascension Updated Safety Measures
- August 21, 2020: Protocol for Non-Liturgical Programs in Education Ministries
- uly 8, 2020: Message from Metropolitan Nathanael: COVID Parish Relief Fund Update & More
- June 23, 2020: Ascension Receives Blessing to Reopen
- June 12, 2020: Ascension Reopening Update
- June 10, 2020: New Directives and Special Rubrics for Celebrating the Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation and Marriage
- June 5, 2020: Parish Email from Fr. Sotiri and Nick Marino: Update on Ascension's Plan to Reopen
- June 4, 2020: Metropolis of Chicago: The Divine Liturgy: Special Directives and Liturgical Rubrics, June 3, 2020
- June 2, 2020: Revision of the May 20, 2020 Guidelines
- May 30, 2020: Update and Summary of Levels of Participation
- May 30, 2020: Metropolis Statement Regarding Sacraments of Confession and Holy Unction
- May 28, 2020: Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services
- May 20,2020: Metropolis of Chicago issues "Reuniting Our People With Their Parish Homes" directive