United Church of Christ

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted from person to person. It is caused by a virus that can also live on surfaces near where an infected person has coughed, sneezed or exhaled. It has spread throughout the world in the first quarter of 2020, causing illness, and, in some cases, death. Its effects in various countries and localities have ranged from cancelations of public gatherings, to limits or bans on travel, to drops in financial markets. Like other organizations, churches must take appropriate health precautions. We also have a special responsibility to care for members and neighbors. This web page contains information that all settings of the United Church of Christ – local churches, associations, conferences and national ministries – have contributed to and may find useful. Resources also come from our ecumenical partners and respected health organizations.

Helping Churches Respond

This section contains:

  • Helping Churches Respond Immediately
  • How to Offer Worship Online
  • Lessons on Ministry during a Disaster
  • Suggestions for Talking to Children

Help for Churches in Responding Immediately


 

Coping with Coronavirus 
Resources from the World Council of Churches, a worldwide fellowship of churches, with members in more than 110 countries.CARES Act Resources

 

Worship, Music, Copyright (Google Docs)
A broad list of tips and suggestions from UCC Justice and Local Church Ministries, ranging from liturgical resources to copyright info. to links to recorded videoconferences

 

Resources from the Minnesota Conference Regarding How to Move Forward 

 

MESA Revised Guidelines for Committees on Ministry in a Pandemic Season (Google Docs) 
offers general resources, special notes for Fitness Reviews, Members in Discernment, and Ministers in Specialized Settings.

 

Pastoral Ministry Beginnings and Endings in a Pandemic Season (Google Docs) 
offers some notes for ministers and congregations beginning and ending ministry during this season.

 

Conducting a Pastoral Search in a Pandemic Season (Google Docs) 
offers tools and practical tips for search committees seeking pastoral leadership during this time.

 

Health and Wholeness in the Midst of COVID-19 
A compilation of ministry care and support resources

 

Pastoral Care for Grieving Families (Google Docs)
Some considered thoughts from the United Church of Christ, National Setting, 2030 clergy network, Cohort, and digital pastors.

 

Flier / bulletin insert: Coronavirus and the Church (PDF)
From UCC Disaster Ministries

 

Pandemic Preparations Checklist  (PDF)
By the Disaster Resource and Response Team, Southern New England Conference, UCC.

 

CDC Guide to Cleaning
Cleaning and disinfection recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

 

Ideas for Home Church Groups (PDF)
From Wellesley (Mass.) Congregational Church, UCC

 

Memo on Communion Precautions  (PDF)
By the Metro Boston Hope District of the New England Conference, United Methodist Church

 

A Concise Coronavirus Guide for Churches
Free Coronavirus guide for churches from Christianity Today
 

Guidance for Congregations (PDF)
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

 

Guidance for Churches
from the Wisconsin Council of Churches

How to Offer Worship Online


 

Advice on Online Worship (PDF)
From Marcia McFee of Worship Design Studio

 

COVID-19 Lockdown: Creating Live-streamed Worship in 3 Days
From the website Hacking Christianity

Lessons on Ministry during a Disaster


 

A Connecticut pastor shares his experiences
Blog Post from Matt Crebbin

Suggestions for Talking to Children


 

“Children are impacted by moments like these,” says the Rev. Don Remick, one of the UCC Southern New England Conference’s bridge Conference ministers. “Even if they aren’t watching the news, they’re picking it up. And they’re picking up the stress of their parents, teachers, family and classmates. You can do a lot to reduce their stress and remove their fears.” He suggests:

 

Resources for Talking with Kids about COVID-19
From the Washington School-Based Health Alliance, Seattle

 

Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus
From the Child Mind Institute

 

Resources for Individuals and Families
With links to tips from FEMA, the Red Cross, Mr. Rogers and others, via the UCC Southern New England Conference website

Stewardship

This section contains:

  • Fundraising Tips for Churches

Legislative Updates

This section contains:

  • From the United Church of Christ Office of General Counsel
  • CARES Act Resources

From the United Church of Christ Office of General Counsel


 

CARES Act For Churches (May 4, 2020)

 

Unemployment for Church Workers (April 15, 2020)

 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (March 30, 2020)

 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Summary (March 30, 2020)


If you are in need of a letter proving that your church is included in the federal group tax exemption of the United Church of Christ, please contact Cindy Gaffney via email at gaffneyc@ucc.org

CARES Act Resources

 


Churches are eligible to apply for forgivable small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act. These forgivable loans provide assistance in meeting payroll and other needs over a specified period of time. Churches should contact lenders directly. Participating lenders can be found at www.sba.gov, along with further information about the program. The following resources may be useful:



Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Information Sheet

Q&A on Coronavirus Response Recovery Bill

Analysis of CARES Act by National Council of Nonprofits

From Church Leaders

This section contains:

  • Conversations with John Dorhauer
  • Statements by Church Leaders

Conversations with John Dorhauer

 

John’s Conversations with Church Leaders: A YouTube playlist


 

Statements by Church Leaders


 

UCC Officers urge Churches to continue virtual worship (April 28, 2020)

 

A Report and Commentary by Global Ministries Area Executives (April 20, 2020)

 

UCC National Response to Racism and Xenophobia (April 9, 2020)

 

From the A message from the General Minister and President (March 18, 2020)

 

From the World Council of Churches (March 18, 2020)

 

From the Southwest Conference UCC to churches (March 17, 2020)

 

From the Officers of the United Church of Christ (March 13, 2020)

From the World Council of Churches (March 13, 2020)

From the Maine Conference (March 13, 2020)

From the Massachusetts Council of Churches (March 12, 2020)

From the Heartland Conference UCC to churches (March 12,2020)

From the North California Nevada Conference Minister (March 12, 2020)

From the Minnesota Conference UCC to churches (March 11, 2020)

From the Southeast Conference UCC to churches (March 11, 2020)

From the Penn Central Conference UCC to churches (March 11, 2020)

From the Pacific Northwest Conference, UCC  (March 7, 2020)

From the Rev. Traci Blackmon, UCC Associate General Minister (Feb. 28, 2020)

Clergy Self Care

This section contains:

  • Self-Soothing Practices in Times of Physical Distancing
  • Community Care Space

Self-Soothing Practices in Times of Physical Distancing


 

Community Care Space: a YouTube Playlist


 

The Community Care Space is part of the United Church of Christ's Health and Wholeness Advocacy Ministry. For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice at lunds@ucc.org.

 

UCC News and Daily Briefings

This section contains:

  • UCC News
  • UCC Daily Briefings

UCC News


 

The COVID-19 pandemic is preventing the usual in-person voter registration, mobilization and education work that many churches do in a general election year. So the United Church of Christ’s Our Faith, Our Vote program is offering new ways to help people do that work online.


Repeating the word “now,” scores of people took to computer and TV screens June 20-21 instead of marching in Washington, D.C. Featured in the Poor People’s Campaign’s “digital justice gathering,” they called on America to take up an economic vision inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and “invest in the welfare of all.”


The National Officers of the United Church of Christ call out the racial and ethnic disparities, perpetuated by public policies, that we the people need to change.


The speakers in a June 9 United Church of Christ webinar said they get that some Christians feel sad and frozen in the face of today’s police violence, coronavirus and other problems – but then offered them a way to turn those emotions into action. The Poor People's Campaign's planned mass assembly on Saturday, June 20, has moved online. People can register here.


Ministries of the United Church of Christ are inviting members and friends of the denomination to take part on Friday, June 19, in virtual commemorations of the official end of slavery in the United States and to use the occasion to join a long-term antiracist movement.


Doctors and scientists who belong to Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta are “not in a hurry to return to in-person worship” and have recommended masks and other coronavirus precautions when the congregation eventually reopens its building – including changes in seating, music, childcare, the offering, Communion, cleaning and more.


For the first time ever, the United Church of Christ General Synod will gather virtually in 2021. The biennial gathering is moving entirely online next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Church of Christ Board made this historic decision this week after considering a number of factors.


The virus infecting the killers of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other Black people in America is much older than COVID-19. It will stop killing people only if society, the church and especially white people focus relentlessly on a cure, over the long haul, using resources that are already available. That was the word from a May 31 UCC online panel discussion, "The Cross and the Lynching Tree."


State laws. School schedules. Budgets. Board terms. With COVID-19 precautions preventing in-person gatherings, Conferences of the United Church of Christ have a lot to consider as they decide what to do about their annual meetings.


A UCC congregation in Maryland that decided it wanted to give back to others during this time of a pandemic is making an impact in its community every week, feeding health care workers on the front lines. 





UCC Daily Briefings


 

For people with disabilities, achieving health equity is an uphill battle even apart from COVID-19. But the pandemic is shining a light on the dangerous reality of medical discrimination for many people with disabilities in need of healthcare. 


The Trump Administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). If this law is repealed, 23.3 million Americans will lose their health coverage, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress - about 3 million (15 percent) more people than was forecast before the COVID-19 pandemic. 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would lose the ACA's protections - and a COVID-19 diagnosis could be considered a pre-existing condition, leading to higher premiums or denial of health insurance coverage. 


America’s 2.5 million hired farmworkers – the people who harvest the food that goes on our tables - constitute yet another group of mostly brown or Black people considered “essential workers” yet treated as expendable by state and federal officials in the COVID-19 pandemic.


When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines in early March asking people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the question for many Black men was not where to get a mask or which kind. It was: How do I cover my face and not get shot?


Are young adults among the people in your life who are feeling invulnerable to COVID-19, leaving their face masks and hand sanitizers at home and neglecting social distancing? Here’s why they should rethink that – and why Millennials need to get on the front lines of urging their generation and younger to take COVID-19 seriously.


As COVID-19 continues to spread quickly around the world, humanitarian organizations are struggling to provide much needed financial and social services as budgets dwindle. The rapidly evolving outbreak is pushing aid groups to plan for new responses in communities already facing long-running crises, and forcing a re-think of how the sector operates when resources are stretched.


While statistics show that COVID-19 impacts African Americans at higher rates, it is women of color who are especially likely to bear the brunt of this public health crisis as a result of historical structural inequities and discrimination.


Many Americans are acting as if COVID-19 has “gone away” or has lessened its grip on the United States. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Last week, 14 states saw an uptick of more than 25 percent in new COVID-19 infections - with roughly 20,000 new cases nationwide each day. All 50 states are somewhere in the process of reopening. Many people at recent Memorial Day observances and protests over the death of George Floyd abandoned basic public health COVID-19 prevention messages; specifically, to wear face masks and practice social distancing.


The numbers of COVID-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa are climbing. Turkey and Iran have the most cases to date. In other countries, especially in the Gulf, Iraq and Egypt, the count is also increasing, in part because of better testing and in part as countries ease or lift restrictions and lockdown measures.


As protesters call for meaningful action to address police brutality and systemic racism in the United States, the movement to defund the police is growing because many feel that police have gotten away with violence against Black people for decades. Many are calling for action to redirect resources from policing to healthcare, education, housing, jobs and true community safety.


General Resources

This section contains:

  • General Resources - and Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Avoiding Scams


General Resources - and Separating Fact from Fiction


 

CDC Coronavirus Web Page
Regularly updated information and tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

WHO Coronavirus Web Page
Regularly updated information and tips from the World Health Organization

 

A Family Doctor Helps Separate Fact from Fiction (video)
In this 5-minute video from Colorado’s Southwest Health System, Dr. Peter Lin explains how the coronavirus spreads, how to minimize transmission and who’s at risk

 

Human Rights Campaign We Are Here - Trans/Gender Nonconforming Community (pdf)
by Carmarion D. Anderson

 

What This Doctor Wants Us to Know About Our Fears Regarding Coronavirus (March 11, 2020)
An article by Dr. Abdu Sharkaway, an infectious disease specialist, via Thrive Global

 

Resisting the Pandemic of Prejudice
By Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Vice President of Research and Development, the Search Institute

 

Faith, Common Sense and Reducing Panic (Feb. 12, 2020)
By Deborah Ringen, Transitional Minister of Health and Wellness, Southern New England Conference, UCC

 

Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
All about clean hands, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

 

Hand Hygiene Website 
From the Henry the Hand Foundation, devoted to promoting “Four Principles of Hand Awareness”

 

Hand Sanitizer Recipe
How to make hand sanitizer with ingredients in the home, via Syracuse.com

 

When a person who is a confirmed COVID-19 case has been in the facility, regardless of community transmission
Shared by a Conference Disaster Coordinator and by Barbara Baylor

 

The impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities
 

 

Safe grocery shopping
 




Avoiding Scams


 

“Another danger of pandemics is people taking advantage,” says the Rev. Don Remick, one of the UCC Southern New England Conference’s bridge Conference ministers. He lists these possible scams to watch out for:

 

  • Phishing emails from cyber-criminals posing as reputed organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). These emails contain a malicious file attachment that claims to be useful information about coronavirus. When the unsuspecting victim opens the attachment, malware is installed on their PC.
  • Phishing emails prompting the recipient to enter their login credentials into a web site to access information about coronavirus. Once entered, the login credentials are stolen by the threat actors.
  • Fraudulent charities that use legitimate social media sites to ask for donations for charitable causes related to the virus.
  • Non-Delivery Frauds – fraudulent advertisements for medical supplies such as medical masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc. The fraudulent company will ask for upfront payment and will never deliver the ordered products. Be cautious when ordering such supplies online.


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