News from
the Center for Life and Learning

March 11, 2020

CLL Programming Suspended Indefinitely to Mitigate Health Risks Related to Coronavirus

Dear CLL Members and Friends,

In consultation with Fourth Presbyterian Church leadership and colleagues from agencies serving older adults across the city, we have decided to suspend Center for Life and Learning programming indefinitely, beginning this Friday, March 13.

Because every person who participates in the CLL is in the age range of those most at-risk for contracting COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronoavirius), and because many of us have underlying health issues that compromise immune systems, it is the most responsible decision. We know that you want to stay well and help others to do the same.

You may have heard or read that the City of Chicago has canceled activities at all its Regional Senior Centers (which includes our Renaissance Court neighbors at the Chicago Cultural Center); that certainly informed the decision.

Our last “official” gathering for the time being will be the Opening Reception for the Annual Art Show on Thursday, March 12 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Anderson Hall. Somehow this event celebrating our members’ beautiful and graceful accomplishments seems a fitting moment to say “Bye for now!”

Obviously this action carries implications and raises many questions. When will classes resume? What about the payment I made for that luncheon or my annual dues? What about my friend from exercise who lives alone and has no family nearby? Has someone tested positive for COVID-19?

That last question is the only one I can answer with any certainty. To date no one in the CLL (or within the wider Fourth Presbyterian Church community) has tested positive. We are deciding to close because we want to mitigate the risk of people becoming ill, not because someone has.

As to the rest of the questions above (and many others), the answers range from “I don’t know . . . yet” to “We’re working on it.” Please know that the CLL staff, in conversation with Fourth Church leadership, is planning for where we go from here and what happens next.

I ask your patience as this is uncharted territory for all of us. We’ll still be communicating with you regularly, and of course, we will be here to answer questions, address concerns, or just talk. Robbin, Sue, and I will be in the office at our regular times, Monday through Friday.

As to the immediate future, we are already bubbling with ideas for how we can make this hiatus from daily programming still be a time of learning and connection for us all. We are exploring how we might use the technology Fourth Church already has in place to present occasional classes and lectures. We are imagining what might work in terms of keeping members in touch with each other. Lots of conversations are beginning; stay tuned to hear about what can happen.

Many of you know that the Psalms are foundational in both Jewish and Christian liturgies; you may use them in your own prayer. As a Benedictine sister who prays them regularly with others, I have been trying to listen especially attentively. In closing I offer Psalm 25:20–21 as a prayer for all of us:

   O guard my life, and deliver me;
      do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
   May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
      for I wait for you.

We’ll be in touch. Count on that. Now go wash your hands!

With gratitude, affection, and esteem,

Susan Quaintance

For more information about the Center for Life and Learning, contact Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386), Director of the Center for Life and Learning.