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All of us should choose to continue to refrain from holding indoor services at this time.

Aurora responds to Trump’s demand to open churches


City of Aurora
May 23, 2020
Community News Release


During these unprecedented and uncertain times, our community has come together as only we can – as ONE AURORA. Through our unity, collective actions – and most certainly our faith – we have, once again, demonstrated what it means to be AURORA STRONG. From our regular online services to our consistent community service activities, the faith community of Aurora has continued to lead with compassion, care and consideration for the health and well-being of our congregations and our entire community.

From the very moment the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order was put into place, our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have been essential to the personal and public health of our community. We were essential before the COVID-19 crisis began, and we’ll continue to be essential well after it ends. But we must continue to do our part to aid in the process and progress. Our faith will help to direct us and our actions will help to define us – and we know faith and actions go hand in hand.

We join together as the City of Aurora – with full guidance and support of our local health departments – to encourage our faith community to not casually reopen the doors to our physical houses of worship this weekend and to only do so on a phased-approached over a period of time using guidance by the Center for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Health. We have too much to lose, including the health, safety and lives of those we serve in our congregation and throughout the community.

While it has been directed by the leaders of our nation to be ‘warriors’ in this reopening process, let us be WISE warriors and do so with the same compassion and caution we have used these past two months by limiting indoor interactions, slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and helping to flatten and bend the curve of this pandemic in our community.

As we plan to scale-up operations over time, some of us will continue to reach our communities through virtual services this weekend, which have allowed us to reach our regular congregations and so many more through the power of digital media. Some of us are choosing to transition back into worship through outdoor services – with our members in their cars or properly socially distanced – where the environment is well-ventilated and lessens the chance of spreading the virus if everyone also wears face coverings and remains physically apart.

All of us should choose to continue to refrain from holding indoor services at this time. We have seen the results of these carefree decisions ending with horrific results across the country.

As we enter into Memorial Day Weekend, we remember those who sacrificed their lives for the very freedoms of our exercising our religions and to peaceably assemble. Let us also remember those whose lives have been sacrificed during this pandemic, including the 64 Aurorans who lost their battle with COVID-19. We cannot risk adding to that number.

We are Aurora Strong, but for now, we are stronger and safer adhering to the advice of the experts and the inner voices that inspires us to put the ‘we’ before the ‘me’ – because it is what is best for all.

The safety of our entire community must be the responsibility of all those who participate in communal worship services. Please proceed with prayerful consideration on your next steps in the reopening process.

Pastor Julian Spencer
Main Baptist Church

Rabbi Edward Friedman
Temple B’Nai Israel

Pastor John Bell
Wesley United Methodist Church

Pastor Kevin Bedford
Progressive Baptist Church

Pastor Johnny McGowan
Gayles Memorial Baptist Church

Pastor John Nabors
Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church

Pastor John Thompson
New Covenant Full Gospel Church
Monsignor Arquimedes Vallejo
Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Pastor Tracy Devolt
Lighthouse Worship Center

Pastor Gary McCann
New England Church

Pastor Jamin Becker
Impact Church

Pastor Augustus Wright
Mount Olive Church of God in Christ

Chaplain Ed Hunter
AMITA Mercy Medical Center

Mayor Richard C. Irvin
City of Aurora

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Founder, Editor & Publisher at

John Ross on Saturday, April 23, 2016 launched XPian News, a part of  Daybreak Communications, Inc. Ross is the facilitator of Aurora Christian Ministry Network (ACMN) and a member of the Fox Valley Christian Ministerial Alliance (FVCMA). He serves on the boards of Wayside Cross Ministries and the Kiwanis Club of Aurora. As a follower of Jesus, he has been for some 40 years a member of First Presbyterian Church - Aurora. He has an M.A. - Christian Leadership from Wheaton College Graduate School and undergraduate at Trinity International University.

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