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


 

United Church of Christ congregations from coast to coast are finding ways to fill the gaps the coronavirus pandemic is creating in their communities. Many of those ministries revolve around food.

 


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.





UCC Daily Briefings


 

Is the COVID-19 pandemic sparking more suicides? Experts say that the mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic is only beginning to show itself, and it is too early to predict the scale of the impact. The ultimate marker of the virus’s mental toll will show up in the nation’s suicide rate in this and coming years.


Many states have "reopened" even though COVID-19 cases are rising sharply. Consider these startling facts on the top five. Notice how much the number of cases rose in each state just from May 17 to May 20.


As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the globe, human rights organizations are warning of the disproportionate impact it will have on the world’s most vulnerable populations – including refugees and asylum seekers. This article discusses refugees' critical risk factors and steps being taken to prevent or delaying outbreaks.


Some people with pre-existing respiratory illnesses may face health issues with improper or prolonged use of tight-fitting masks, such as N95 respirators. But people wearing cloth or surgical masks are in little to no danger of breathing in unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Africa, the world's second-largest continent with a population of 1.3 billion people, is poised to potentially become the next epicenter of the highly infectious and deadly COVID-19 disease. As of May 14, the African Centres for Disease Prevention and Control have reported 73,176 confirmed infections, 2,496 fatalities and 25,462 recoveries. 


“When will life get back to normal?” The question is on almost everyone’s minds these days. To reduce COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and stem further economic devastation from the pandemic, there is an increasing call for antibody testing to provide some peace of mind that it’s okay to return to work.


The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a new, $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, named the “HEROES Act” – the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act. It seeks to address the continuing economic distress wrought by the novel coronavirus. 


House of Representatives bill H.R. 6666 is a proactive response to COVID-19. Named the "COVID-19 Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act," it would provide $100 billion in grants to faith-based organizations, clinics, medical centers, institutions of higher education, high schools and other organizations that test for COVID-19 and conduct related activities such as contact tracing.


As result of social distancing, stay-at-home policies and economic distress during COVID-19, domestic violence hotlines are lighting up worldwide – from the United States to China and Russia, from Italy to France and Britain, among others. Governments are scrambling to address a crisis they should have seen coming.


Unemployment claims since mid-March now tally 33 million, or roughly 21 percent of persons in the U.S. labor force. In April, 5.1 million more people had their work hours reduced. Federal relief packages to date have only scratched the surface of the need.


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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