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Living Springs Church rolls with the punches

Living Springs congregation members hold a safe gathering to show unity during the pandemic. (Provided photo)

During these difficult times, the Living Springs Community Church in Homewood has not missed a beat in continuing its mission as a spirit-filled, multicultural church dedicated to loving God, coming together and making a difference in its community.

Governmental restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic created hardships on all areas of daily life and heavily impacted places of worship, including Living Springs.

Head Pastor Dave Izenbart said in the beginning the church planned to hold outdoor services, but the layout of the grassy area outside the church property was not compatible to accommodating a large group and observe the required social distancing practices.

“We have more than 400 members, so we soon decided to provide online services for our members, as well as the community,” he said.

Living Springs congregation members hold a safe gathering to show unity during the pandemic. (Provided photo)

At the end of May, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered a glimmer of hope for the reopening of churches, but it included a nine-page list of COVID-19 guidance items.

“After looking at the listed requirements we would have to comply with in order to open our services, our task force team agreed it would be more practical to continue our online services for the time being,” Izenbart said. He added that the date for actual church opening continues to be pushed back by the governor. “But, we will continue planning our future so we will be ready when a final, definite opening date is announced. We will gather in person as soon as we can — responsibly and safely.”

Izenbart is facing the future of the church with an upbeat, positive approach. 

“We are learning many things from this pandemic. We now know that we are adaptable; we were able to move from in-person services to online messages, as well as our Bible studies and small group meetings,” the pastor said. 

He also was excited to learn their work through online services has reached across the country. 

“We have noted that it’s often seen by former members who have moved away, and also by new visitors in the community who have found us online. It is a blessing as we have increased contact with people, multi-generational and culturally, and we can encourage them to gather with us as we work to help the community and fulfill our mission.”

Living Springs visually demonstrated its mission of all coming together in unity for social justice and making a difference on May 30 when nearly 200 people, both young and old, gathered in the Living Springs church parking lot at 19051 Halsted St. In a unique display, teams of two were carrying signs mounted on pieces of rope, measuring 6 feet in length, bearing messages including: “We are pulling together, in unity there is strength!” 

Hannah Saint Victor, left, and Jasmine Elliot joined others at a special “pulling together” for social justice march at Living Springs Church. (Provided photo)

Pastor Izenbart said, “The gathering was very special and a beautiful, encouraging example of how our community can work together in a positive way.”

A second outside gathering was full of excitement and happiness as a pre-school drive-in graduation ceremony was held for children ages 3, 4 and 5. 

Due to the number of students graduating, two services were held, with approximately 40 vehicles at each.

Preschoolers were chauffeured past the church and greeted by their teachers in a pandemic-safe graduation ceremony at Living Spring Church. (Provided photo)

As each child’s name was called, his or her teacher stepped up to the open car window and handed the diploma to the graduate. 

“We were so glad that we were able to do this. The children were so happy to see each other and their teachers. It was just a really special day for everyone and under the circumstances it was a great way to end the year,” Izenbart said.

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