Northwoods Coronavirus Response

March 31, 2020

Northwoods Family,

We want to make sure that we are doing our part in flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen some posts on social media and have heard of people desiring to meet in the Northwoods parking lot and listen to the message from their cars. While we love the enthusiasm, we’ve been advised by local authorities that gatherings like this do not adhere to government guidelines. We’re asking you to partner with us by refraining from gathering in groups on our campuses, including in the parking lot, on the playground, etc.

We are all craving community these days, but it’s important that we work together to make sure that our healthcare systems don’t get overwhelmed in the coming weeks.

We are continuing to look for fun and engaging ways that we can all stay connected during these times. So while we may not be able to gather physically together, here are some things we CAN do!

Stay connected online

Join us online for weekend services on Sunday at 9 & 11am and for nightly devotional and prayer time at 7:20pm.

Additionally, our ministry teams are planning a variety of online events to help you stay connected. We currently have planned online services throughout the week for children, students, and women—with more coming!


Give back to the community

We are committed to continue to minister through this difficult time we're facing, here locally and around the world. We are very aware that some of us are facing financial uncertainty in these days. We are in the trenches with you! That's why we've started the Vital $20 effort. By giving $20, we are able to bless healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic and partner with local organizations to provide for the needs in our community.


Thank you for partnering with us!

Northwoods Church

March 18, 2020

Hello Christian Friends,

Over the past two days, I have sensed a very clear word from God to call the Church to fasting and prayer regarding the coronavirus threat. Will you summon your local church and your circle of influence to heed this call as well?

I will be leading Northwoods through 24 hours of fasting and prayer beginning Thursday at 7:20pm CST through Friday at 7:20pm. This coincides with a daily video devotional and corporate prayer time we’ve been doing this week and intend to continue for 20 days total. I will deliver a brief teaching via our site on Thursday evening, and we will make a simple guide available with various prayer prompts. We will gather virtually again Friday at 7:20 for communion to break our fast.

Please share this invitation far and wide. You, your congregation, and your entire circle of influence are invited to join us. Or, if you have the capabilities to do so, perhaps you could choose to do your own version in parallel. No matter how we each choose to do so, I sincerely hope you and your church will respond to this call to humble ourselves and pray for our Father’s intervention, provision, protection, and healing.

I would love to hear back from you with your plans about how you intend to respond to the call.

Yours in Christ,

Cal Rychener
Founding and Senior Pastor
Northwoods Community Church

March 14, 2020

We've been busy putting together online services for this weekend that will provide an amazing experience where we can come together and worship!
Everyone is welcome!

March 13, 2020

Weekend services will not be held on any campus until further notice. Northwoods will meet online only. Join us at Sundays at 9am & 11am for worship, prayer, and teaching. We are constantly evaluating new information from officials and adjusting our plan accordingly. We will share more with you as soon as we can.

All weekday and weekend classes, groups, and gatherings are cancelled until further notice. At this time we are exploring online options for some of these and will release more information as it becomes available.

March 12, 2020

Northwoods Family,

We’ve been closely tracking the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) both locally and globally. As you’re likely aware, confirmed cases are multiplying. While we know this virus is primarily spread through close contact, we want to take precautionary measures to create a safe and healthy environment for us all to gather and worship. Before we get into the details of the plans, I want to speak first to our posture as Christ followers.

For many, the spread of this virus has caused fear and anxiety. Scripture is clear that God has given us a spirit of love, not fear. My prayer is that we would sense peace in the midst of these circumstances. This does not mean we should be careless or reactionary; rather, may we work together to serve our church and community in a way that demonstrates trust in our God who is in control.

We have a staff team that is monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local officials, and medical professionals to formulate a preparedness plan. Our response will change and adjust based on the guidance we receive, but as of today, here are the precautions we are taking to increase health measures and mitigate the spread of germs.

To minimize your need to touch door handles, our volunteer teams will hold exterior doors open to greet you.

We recommend you greet each other with smiles and waves instead of handshakes or hugs.

We will not pass offering bags during the service. Rather, we will provide appropriate receptacles for you to give your gifts as you leave services. As always, we encourage you to consider the online giving options to schedule your financial commitment.


At Northwoods, we are very intentional about providing clean, sanitary, and safe environments for people to meet and worship God. We have enhanced our already-thorough cleaning procedures. This includes a comprehensive daily cleaning of all restrooms and various touch points (doorknobs, handles, water faucets, handrails, etc.). In addition, our facilities staff continually cleans throughout and between each service. The children’s classrooms and toys are disinfected after each service by staff and volunteers at each campus.

Please review the Children’s Ministry wellness guidelines to determine if your kids should attend. Volunteers are committed to wiping down check-in surfaces between all services with disinfectant wipes.

We will not pass communion trays, but we will provide alternate means for participants to receive prepacked, individually wrapped communion elements during services and at Open Communion in the Peoria Campus Chapel.


If you find yourself feeling sick, we encourage you to join us digitally on Northwoods.Online. We stream live at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 & 11:00 a.m. on Sundays.

We encourage you to take some time to understand proper prevention measures to avoid spreading the virus by reading through the CDC recommendations here.

Here are some of the basic measures listed on the CDC website:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

We will provide necessary updates to you via email and post them here. I ask that you be prayerful for our world and community, specifically for those who are directly impacted by this virus.


Cal Rychener