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.

 

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

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


 

Thirteen United Church of Christ Conferences have been awarded grants from United Church Funds (UCF) to provide financial assistance for their local response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support anti-racism efforts.


A Kansas congregation reaches out to assist immigrant and refugee neighbors, aided by a grant from the UCC COVID-19 Refugee and Asylum Fund. 


The executives of Global Ministries, the common overseas ministry of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are reaching out to several mission partners in Lebanon after two colossal explosions rocked the city of Beirut on Tuesday.


A spirited dialogue about voting rights, the erosion of the democratic process, and the importance of the census fueled an informative UCC webinar on Aug. 4. The conversation aimed to discern how people of faith can ensure that the votes of all Americans are counted in this year’s election process.


The national staff of the United Church of Christ, working virtually since March 20th because of the coronavirus pandemic, will continue to be deployed at home until 2021.


Hundreds of church volunteers converged on almost two dozen worksites in southeast Pennsylvania last week, helping homeowners as part of Mission Trip Birdsboro.


The dates for the United Church of Christ’s first virtual General Synod have been set. The 33rd biennial gathering will take place online July 11-18, 2021. The Sunday to Sunday schedule is the first in a series of changes planned for this event, themed “Rooted in Love, Special Edition.”


Migrant mothers volunteer daily at a California church to prepare hot meals that provide nourishment and a taste of home to many of their neighbors, aided by a grant from UCC Disaster Ministries.

 


What would you do if your pastor handed you $100 and told you to give it away any way you choose? Churchgoers in Cleveland had to wrestle with that decision, complicated by the coronavirus.


Speaking to a capacity crowd of 1,000 United Church of Christ webinar viewers July 9, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren recalled her days as a Sunday School teacher, asked people to pray for her and urged them to tell elected officials to back legislation to protect voters and essential pandemic workers.





UCC Daily Briefings


 

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.


"Black Americans are bearing the brunt of three crises - police violence, crushing unemployment and the deadliest infectious disease threat in a century — that have laid bare longstanding injustice," writes Emily Kask in The New York Times. Is it more important to decry the inhumane treatment and killing of Black and Brown persons at the hands of white police or to practice social distancing?


Across the vast Southern Asia region, differing factors are affecting the spread of COVID-19. Following are snapshots from the three countries with the most infections: India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.


Until recently, racial data for COVID-19 was sparse, and it’s still incomplete. The good news is that now 48 states plus Washington, D.C., report at least some data. Census tract data have helped to reveal where “hot spots” are within low-income communities. Read about it - and about the UCC's new Racial and Ethnic Disparities ("RED") Task Force.


COVID-19 research and treatment could be hampered if the United States withdraws its membership and its funding from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). But on May 29, President Donald Trump said he would do just that. The United States is one of the body's founders (in 1948) and helped to build it. U.S. membership is by treaty arrangement, promising no hasty withdrawal.


Every one of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The COVID-19 crisis brings to the fore many of the structural social problems of the region, as it hits the poorest hardest. Latin America and the Caribbean continue to face unique challenges to safeguard their societies and populations.


The Medicare program has a positive track record of reducing disparities based on race and ethnicity. But disparities persist even within the Medicare population - in access, service use and health outcomes, with Blacks and Hispanics experiencing worse health indicators and receiving lower quality of care than Whites. Why?


On May 15, 2020, The House of Representatives passed the Health Economic Recovery Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act to further try to kick-start the U.S. economy after more than two months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 crisis. A key issue in this bill is a second round of stimulus checks for millions of Americans during the pandemic. Will it pass?


On May 22 a shocking new report estimated that 24 U. S. states have an uncontrolled COVID-19 spread, right as the country begins to reopen. And there is still no coronavirus vaccine or treatment. Without changes in behavior along with increased testing and contact tracing to limit transmission, new infections of COVID-19 are likely to persist – and even more than double over the next two months.


Most countries in the East Asia and Pacific region have been taking measures to prepare for or mitigate community transmission of COVID-19, which has affected the lives and livelihoods of the 2.2 billion people living in the region. At the same time as the outbreak’s burden on health systems is increasing rapidly, necessary mitigation measures are affecting livelihoods and access to public services. Urgent efforts are needed to contain the outbreak and to support health systems and communities to mitigate the impacts.


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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