Coronavirus

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 RespondStewardshipLegislative UpdatesFrom Church LeadersClergy Self CareUCC News and Daily BriefingsGeneral Resources

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.

Ordination in a Season of COVID-19 (Google Docs)
offers resources for Conference Staff, Committees on Ministry, and Associations as they consider ordination in this pandemic season:

As Congregations Consider Re-Opening Their Buildings for Worship (Google Docs)
offers resources for Conference Staff, Committees on Ministry, and Associations as they consider ordination in this pandemic season:

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

Fundraising Tips for Churches

Extravagant Generosity – Considerations for Congregations During the Pandemic (DOCX)
https://web.archive.org/web/20201119142222if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/slJZveN4aZ4

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
https://web.archive.org/web/20201119142222if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLdAy5fy8x9Pe8j79ICB-oTQL3Km1BsefF

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

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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.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201119142222if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PL6VgfHt6zEy5PLCS0aPibOsoeXuQOl4PC

UCC News and Daily Briefings

This section contains:

  • UCC News
  • UCC Daily Briefings

UCC News
UCC officers urge worshippers to tap healing power of love to close political divideNov 05, 2020

Speaking for the elected officers of the United Church of Christ, General Minister and President the Rev. John Dorhauer issues a moral call for healing following the Nov. 3 U.S. general elections. 


Election Day 2020: Hope, love and ‘revolutionary patience’Nov 03, 2020

As voters head to the polls on Election Day, United Church of Christ advocates are urging all Americans to remember that today marks the beginning of the democratic process that decides our next president – not the end.


Pandemic lends poignancy to churchwide All Saints service, held onlineNov 02, 2020

Dozens of names appeared, scrolling past the image of a burning candle. Dozens more poured in via the webinar platform Zoom. It was the central moment of the United Church of Christ’s All Saints worship service Nov. 1.


General Synod website, newsletter sharing information about July’s virtual online gatheringOct 30, 2020

The United Church of Christ General Synod Planning Team is inviting people across the wider church to bookmark the recently released GS 33 website to learn more about the denomination’s first online biennial gathering.


Adapting to pandemic among topics of youth, young adult ministry event Nov. 12-14Oct 28, 2020

Reset for Renewal,” to be held online Nov. 12-14, is for ministers and lay people who lead any kind of ministry for youth or young adults.


Conference Ministers address racism, white supremacy and privilege in the churchOct 28, 2020

The United Church of Christ Conference Ministers, in a letter to the denomination, pledge to address racism, white supremacy and privilege in the church through resources and conversation.


Church’s voter shuttle helps rural Mich. residents carry out ‘moral imperative’Oct 27, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic kept them from setting up voter-registration tables. So the people of Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ in rural western Michigan adjusted.


UCC members, church bodies abolish $26.2 million in medical debt for New Englanders and first respondersOct 25, 2020

The United Church of Christ effort to abolish medical debt stands at $51.8 million with the latest buy just announced. A collaborative effort by 122 UCC congregations, four Associations, and more than 100 households in the Southern New England Conference has abolished in $26.2 million in medical debt.


Children give frightening testimonies, UCC offers support during border march to save asylumOct 22, 2020

More than 90 migrant children and their families marched to the border wall in Nogales, Mexico on Oct. 21, to join allies on the American side in protest of U.S. policies they call inhumane and unlawful.


New York church bell tolling for each US life lost to COVID-19Oct 21, 2020

How does one make tangible the lives lost to COVID-19? The deaths of more than 200,000 Americans can be hard to grasp. Now, and for the next two weeks, a United Church of Christ congregation on Long Island is using the toll of a bell to mark each one.


UCC Daily Briefings
ACA repeal would worsen racial, ethnic health disparitiesSep 25, 2020

The Trump Administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act and is hastening to appoint a new Supreme Court justice who will support the president’s demand. If the ACA is overturned, more than 21 million Americans will lose their health insurance and nearly all Americans will be affected adversely. Among those who will be hit the hardest will be racial and ethnic minorities.


Post Office cuts are slowing more than ballotsAug 24, 2020

The U.S. Postal Service has become a political battleground. President Trump declared that he didn’t want to adequately fund the U.S. Postal Service to enable universal mail-in voting. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly then ordered cost-cutting measures, slashing overtime and curbing late delivery, which have reportedly created significant delays in mail deliveries – including delivery of life-saving medicines.


COVID-19 myths and facts: children, flu and moreAug 11, 2020

COVID-19 has become a part of our daily life. There is so much information about the virus, yet some of what we are hearing is rumors and misinformation. Here’s how to spot a rumor or misinformation – followed by examination of some of the falsehoods circulating right now.


Other Disasters and COVID-19Aug 04, 2020

According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the delivery of mass care and emergency assistance during a pandemic in conjunction with a natural, technological or human-caused disaster will need to be modified to maintain the health and well-being of survivors and workers. First responders have been assessing and sharing best practices to prepare for disasters.


The COVID-19 Back-to-School DebateJul 27, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, schools should not start back on site without good plans. Before you decide what’s right for you and your family, check the data in your local area on numbers of cases and rates of transmissions. Familiarize yourself with – even better, get involved in – your school district’s deliberations on the best way to proceed.


COVID-19, the Politicizing of Science and the CDCJul 20, 2020

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and send all COVID-19-related information to a private database in Washington effective July 15, 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services has contracted with a private firm to collect daily reports about patients, available beds and ventilators and other information vital to tracking the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sickle-Cell Disease Increases COVID-19 RisksJul 15, 2020

People with Sickle Cell Disease are now on the list for increased risk for severe complications from COVID-19. This is according to health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which added Sickle Cell Disease to the high risk list on June 25. A genetically inherited blood disorder, Sickle Cell Disease most commonly affects Black people.


As Mask Ordinances Proliferate, So Do Mask MythsJul 13, 2020

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public to help limit the spread of COVID-19 as the numbers of new COVID-19 infections surge to record heights in parts of the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 3 recommended the public wear masks. So why do people still resist wearing of face masks?


COVID-19 recovery not as simple as once thoughtJul 10, 2020

Now that doctors worldwide have several months of experience treating patients with COVID-19, patterns are emerging giving clues about how the illness manifests itself. Doctors are seeing more patients with rapid, unexpected development of severe symptoms that have returned (and are worse), lasting for weeks with seemingly no end in sight.


New data on COVID-19’s disproportionate impact by raceJul 08, 2020

New COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control reveal continued deep disparities by race throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas and across all age groups. Blacks and Hispanics are three times as likely to be infected with COVID-19 and two times more likely than whites to die from it.


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.