COVID-19 Resources

Faith community practices in general, from the Centers for Disease Control

Returning to In-Person Gatherings

We know that congregations haven’t been closed during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  In fact, we have seen congregations act in bold, courageous, and creative ways to continue to worship, learn, and stay connected with God and one another.  In so many ways, congregations have come together as people have stayed apart.  These resources are designed to provide some questions and ideas to consider as you plan to come together again in your church building.  We know that you are not reopening your congregation because it never closed, but many will be reopening their church buildings.

Considerations for Returning to In-Person Worship from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (May 12, 2020)

Guidelines for Gathering In-Person from Bishop William O. Gafkjen, Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA (May 8, 2020)

Mid-Kentucky Presbytery’s “Healthy at God’s House” COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines

Kentucky Council of Churches “Healthy at Worship” Discernment

Singing, the Church, and COVID-19:  A Caution for Moving Forward in Our Current Pandemic 

https://www.drheathernelson.com/singingandcovid19?fbclid=IwAR2MIyrFtfozZf9oYj10xdLF9n-FpnUey7O3-pwnLMW1IDm38UqjKptkYvk

Written by Heather R. Nelson, Ph.D., a local choir director and Ph.D. in Vocal Pedagogy and Voice Science, this article describes why it is important to consider the dynamics of singing in the midst of the current pandemic.

No Vaccine, No Safe Public Singing

https://www.middleclassartist.com/post/nats-panel-of-experts-lays-out-sobering-future-for-singers-no-vaccine-no-safe-public-singing?fbclid=IwAR3txj4KiGoIzM-vYUVMBvVfLArtevNvozPrcTj7PRwz3Jfz-VKrHp6iS2c

An informative article about singing during the pandemic presented by an expert panel from the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Revised Guidelines for Places of Worship – State of Indiana

https://backontrack.in.gov/files/BackOnTrack-IN_PlacesOfWorship.pdf

Healthy at Work Guidelines – Commonwealth of Kentucky

https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthy-at-work

Church Music in the Age of COVID-19

https://www.wichurches.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Returning-to-Church-Church-Music-final.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3dfBCnMwfPPiUC7grXSB-TnY7HRLWjmJqHkIkO-q5dy_RyYEEezmNE5-k

This resource from the Wisconsin Council of Churches is very helpful with regarding to music when returning to in-person worship.

Returning to Church

https://www.wichurches.org/2020/04/23/returning-to-church

Published by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, this is an excellent resource that asks many of the right questions.  The section entitled “Questions for Church Leadership to Consider” is an great starting point as you plan for Reopening.

Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19):  A Step-by-Step, Research-informed, and Faith-Based Planning Manual

https://www.wheaton.edu/media/humanitarian-disaster-institute/Preparing-Your-Church-for-Coronavirus.pdf

While the focus of this resource from the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is about preparation, it offers a number of helpful suggestions regarding “Reopening.”  Suggestions include:  formation of a Health Team (which includes at least one healthcare professional, if possible) to evaluate risk and effectiveness of Reopening plan, work with nearby congregations and public health officials   to address community need and assess local conditions, and adapt to changing need and consider modifying practices such as gathering and fellowship times, greeters, worship, distribution of Holy Communion, etc.

Healing from the Distress of the COVID-19 Crisis

https://iksynod.org/healing-distress/

This resource from the Trauma Healing Institute explores the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on people, reflects on God’s love and care in the midst of crisis, and teaches how to help yourself and others heal from the trauma of COVID-19.  This is an excellent resource and can be used as a congregational study via Zoom or when in-person gathering resumes.

Questions to Consider and Plan for Now Before Activities Resume at Church

https://ministrylink.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Questions-to-consider-and-plan-for-now-before-activities-resume-at-church.pdf

Prepared by the Safety Committee of Christ’s Lutheran Church, Oreland, PA (ELCA), this comprehensive list of questions to be considered when preparing for Reopening.  This may be the best resource in terms of practical issues a congregation needs to consider.

Congregational Planning Checklist for Public Health Concerns

https://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/LDR_Congregational_Planning_Checklist.pdf?_ga=2.80228503.1076181195.1588769552-1881275621.1588769552

This resource is offered by Lutheran Disaster Response and offers many helpful suggestions.

Future Corporate Gatherings of the Church Family:  A Few Principles and Practices to Ponder Prayerfully

https://www.efca.org/blog/leading-churches/future-corporate-gatherings-church-family

Written by Greg Strand from the Evangelical Free Church of America, this blogpost asks some helpful questions and offers some ideas that aren’t elsewhere, such as having “welcome back” listening sessions to help members reintegrate, preparing to help process the stages of grief.

Discussion Guide for Reopening Your Church Building

https://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopening-Conversation-Guide-COVID-19.pdf

This is an excellent resource that is designed to “help you ponder various points of consideration as your church implements new methods, policies, and procedures.”  It was issued from the Office of the General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA.

“The Temporary Normal”

https://www.smartchurchsolutions.com/blog/the-temporary-normal

From Smart Church Solutions, this article suggests what may be longer lasting effects of the pandemic such as more virtual meetings, “online church,” online giving, etc.  The author also suggests some things that will continue to be normal in the future as they have been in the past such as the need for human connection, in-person worship, etc.  The article’s perspective is one that should be considered when planning for “Reopening.”

48 Questions to Ask Prior to Reopening Your Church

https://kenbraddy.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/48-questions-to-ask-prior-to-reopening-your-church-3.pdf

Written by Ken Braddy, of Lifeway Christian Resources, this article asks some questions that most Lutheran congregations won’t be concerned with (“Is it possible to practice social distancing in a baptismal pool?”), it still offers many questions your congregation will need to consider as you plan for reopening.

Layers of Consideration for Congregations when Opening the Church Building for Worship and Other Activities

https://www.abcopad.org/Docs/COVID19/Layers%20of%20Consideration%20for%20congregations%20when%20opening.pdf

This discussion guides uses a traffic light to focus on issues that should be discussed as you prepare for reopening.  Red asks “Lord, what would you like us to stop doing?”  Green asks, “Lord, what you like us to start doing?”  Yellow asks, “Lord, what would you like us to strengthen?”  There are discussion questions to help discern each category.  This was written by The American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

7 Shifts Church Need to Make Because of the Coronavirus

https://tonymorganlive.com/2020/04/15/7-church-shifts-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR2Dti7rMVTtIN39EvTg-rUl5i8SJUtpOdFVxUm9y0F_8uEhrNYpuO95DTI#

The central question of this blogpost is “How must the church change for a new normal?”  It is written by Tony Morgan, founder of The Unstuck Group and author of a book by the same name.  The shifts proposed are very helpful as congregations plan for reopening and beyond.

Post-Coronavirus Facility Re-Opening Checklist

https://try.espace.cool/post-coronavirus-facility-reopening-checklist/

Offered as a free download from Smart Church Solutions, this is a very comprehensive checklist of all of the things that need to be considered as you reenter your church building.

The Senior Pastor’s Guide to Reopening

https://churchfuel.com/free/

This is a helpful guide, not just for Senior Pastors, that focuses on topics such as “When to Reopen,” “Communication,” “The New ‘Blended,’” and many more.  It is provided as a free download by Church Fuel.

How to Think about What’s Next when the Future is Unclear

https://faithandleadership.com/nathan-kirkpatrick-how-think-about-whats-next-when-future-unclear

This blogpost written by Nathan Kirkpatrick, Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, focuses on what needs to be considered as congregational leaders consider what is next following the pandemic, building on what we’ve learned from this time.

That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

From the Harvard Business Review, this interview with experts focuses on the different griefs that can be experienced following a traumatic event.

Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Congregation is Now a Startup

https://journal.praxislabs.org/leading-beyond-the-blizzard-why-every-organization-is-now-a-startup-b7f32fb278ff

This author of this article summarizes it this way:  The novel coronavirus is not just something for leaders to “get through” for a few days or weeks. Instead, we need to treat COVID-19 as an economic and cultural blizzard, winter, and beginning of a “little ice age” — a once-in-a-lifetime change that is likely to affect our lives and organizations for years.

All of the links in this resource are functional on May 6, 2020.  Should you have additional resources to share, please contact Pastor Dan Fugate at [email protected], who curated these resources.

Considerations for Remote Council and Congregation Meetings

Considerations for Remote Council and Congregation Meetings FAQs (prepared by ELCA Legal Counsel Tom Cunniff)

Meetings by Electronic Means:  Guidance for IK Synod Congregations (prepared by IK Synod Attorney Josh Tatum)

Resources for Online Worship and Meetings

Ideas for ways to sustain community, worship and prayer apart from or in addition to physically gathering

Getting Started with Church Online: Sharing what we know to help with online worship, Bible studies, and meetings.

Quick & Dirty Intro to Live Streaming Worship

How to Create a YouTube Channel

Livestreaming a worship service 

Church Live-Steaming during Crisis

Best practices for going Live from a Page

Livestream on Facebook

Public domain hymns

Scheduling Zoom and Starting a meeting

Zoom for Congregational Use – Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Michael Jannett, SE Synod

How to Zoom – YouTube video that’s simple and easy to follow.

Scheduling Zoom and Starting a Meeting by Southwestern Texas Synod

Zoom settings to avoid ZoomBombing – SE Iowa Synod

Remote Conferencing

Adobe Connect | Free 90-day Subscriptions thru July 1

Google Hangouts Meet | Free access to advanced features thru July 1

Zoom | No cost for meetings lasting 40-minutes or less

Funeral Planning

CDC Guidance for Funerals during COVID-19

Guide for Christian Funerals during COVID 19 – by Massachusetts Council of Churches

Loss in a Pandemic:  Funeral Planning – by the National Association of Funeral Directors

Grief and End of Life Issues – from Sister Nora Frost

Indiana Department of Health COVID-19 Guidance for Funeral Homes and Directors

The Oregon Funeral Association offers a comprehensive guide to End of Life and Funeral Care during a Pandemic
Chaplaincy Innovation Lab presents a helpful webinar entitled “Distance Funerals, Complicated Grief: Gathering to Grieve during COVID-19
“Digital Pastoral Care for Grief: Individual and Collective” is a helpful resource from our full communion partner The United Church of Christ.

Stewardship/Online Giving/Finances

Stewardship & Giving in the midst of COVID 19 – from the Nebraska Synod

Online & Digital Giving Options & Tools – from the Nebraska Synod

Preferred ELCA vendors

Facebook – social good– Nonprofits using Facebook’s payment platform to process donations pay no fee – 100% of the donations go to the charity.  (Please note that it will take 90 days or more for you to receive any donations given through Facebook).

The Generosity Project:  Home Supplement – This resource is intended to encourage conversation and support households in their role as God’s stewards and financial managers during this time of economic crisis and fear.

10 ideas for church financial leaders amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Giving and Stewardship Resources by Pastor Mike Ward/GSB

Key ways to Keep Stewardship Strong in Uncertain Times by Pastor Mike Ward.

ELCA Pastor Mike Ward from GSB Fundraising and Nonprofit Consulting offered a webinar entitled “Stewardship in Uncertain Times.” To view the webinar go to: https://zoom.us/rec/share/7MBVILbQsT9JXM_U7HHQQukaOpv7aaa81yMZ-KENzhoyTpLn1Wpu81M194EGyFNQ
Two additional resources:
Also from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy there are a plethora of resources about Philanthropy and COVID-19 at https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/news-events/covid19.html
“Virtual Gathering, Real Community” and “Thinking Pastorally and Practically About Money in this Moment” from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy: https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/news-events/insights-newsletter/2020-issues/march-2020-issue-2.html

Relationship and Pastoral Care

10 Guidelines for pastoral care during the coronavirus outbreak – The Christian Century

Preparing your Church for Coronavirus – A step-by-step, research-informed and faith-based planning manual from Wheaton.

Connection in the Midst of an Epidemic – from Episcopal Relief and Development

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA has the most compressive list of COVID-19 and Mental Health Resources we’ve ever seen. It is amazing.
COVID-19 Guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/covid-19-guide
A very helpful resource about how to respond to specific concerns from the Association of Professional Chaplains
Hennepin Health Care in Minneapolis offers these words fo comfort to those woh are unable to visit a loved one in the hospital. https://chaplaincyinnovation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Spiritual-Care-doorway-ministry-example-HHS.pdf

How to Start a Facebook Group

Phone Tree Options

Callfire – 25% discount for non-profits. Use their chat bot on the site to get that discount.

Call Multiplier

Ring Central 

Dial My Calls

Other Ideas

  • Consider setting a common prayer time, so folks know they are praying together even if they can’t gather in person.
  • Divide up your church membership contact list among other leaders and call everyone to check in.
  • Identify folks who need support re: grocery & supplies. Encourage sharing of supplies.
  • Send cards to those who are isolated.
  • Send notes of thanks and care to people, especially workers on the front lines and local care facilities like nursing homes and hospitals.

Faith Formation

Morning Watch KIDS! with Pastors Matt and Jesse

Moving Faith Formation Online by John Roberto

Morning Watch by Pastors Matt Canniff-Kesecker and Jesse Canniff-Kuhn

A cartoonist’s Guide to the Bible

Families with littles – by Renee Hoffman

Resources for home from Home Grown Faith

Movies – a theological discussion from Pastor Michael Jannett. Watch a movie at home and discuss online.

Leading in Crisis

Caring for Self and Others in Times of Trouble:  Some Spiritual Tips and Tools from the Harvard Divinity School website

Leading in Crisis from WayToLead

Faith-Based Response to Epidemic by Episcopal Relief and Development

How to Lead through Rapid, Unexpected Change by Carey Nieuwhof

Protecting your Mental Health during the Coronavirus Outbreak by Doreen Marshall, Ph.D.

Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety – Shine, a project from Mental Health American (MHA)

Grace Lutheran Church, Apple Valley, MN – a congregation whose website is excellent regarding how to continue to be church

Devotions

Morning Watch with Pastors Matt and Jesse

Daily Meditations from Franciscan Richard Rohr

New Every Day from Lutheran Disaster Response.

For the Least of These

ELCA resource – Tips for Responding to Hunger in a Pandemic

Episcopal Diocese of NC resource – Best Practices for Food and Housing Ministries

Children, Youth, and Family

Resources for home from Home Grown Faith

Movies – a theological discussion from Pastor Michael Jannett. Watch a movie at home and discuss online.

Faith Finder Fun! – Lutheran Pastor Heather Roth Johnson (LR Alum) and her team are creating a faith at home YouTube channel entitled “Faith Finder Fun!” They will offer Monday-Friday faith videos with Backyard Monday, Treasure Tuesday, Creative Wednesday, Magic Thursday, Science Friday and Random Saturday

Talking to Children and Youth about Coronavirus

Coronavirus, Anxiety, Children and the Church – Great, practical advice from the “Building Faith” website based at Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal)

Talking to Children about COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource– This is a comprehensive resource authored by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Helping Children with Scary News-A blog post by New York Times bestselling children’s author Sally Lloyd-Jones focused on helping children process scary news.

Helping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety -A guide from Children’s Hospital in Seattle with strategies to help children and teens cope with anxiety related to the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Conversations from Milestones Ministry

Other Ideas

Pandemic Hope – A Family Devotional for Life during COVID-19

  • We’re using zoom for check ins. We might play a game like Scattegories that we can play where we are.
  • Assign everyone a partner to send a card in the mail. Bonus point if they make the card themselves.
  • Work online together to build the perfect distancing play list.
  • Virtual scavenger hunt. Give kids a category and then 3 minutes to find the most creative item in their house that fits the criteria. Everyone send/post a photo of it.
  • Our youth ministry staff are connecting with youth on Instagram live every day at 2 p.m. Also planning a virtual “youth group” with worship, Bible study, and activities on Mondays using Zoom.

Where every member is a missionary, every pastor is a mission director, and every congregation is a mission center.