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


 

A national ministry of the United Church of Christ celebrated Earth Day's 50th anniversary with calls to protect nurses, African Americans and poor people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to fix food, health and other systems that have links to the environment – and are now revealed to be broken.


As soon as it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic would change the way congregations gather and function, the United Church of ChristCornerstone Fund decided to offer relief to some of its customers. 


United Church of Christ members and congregations are responsible for thousands of trees so far in the Three Great Loves Tree Planting Campaign, timed to coincide with an ecumenical Faith Climate Action Week, now underway through April 26.


Inspired by the opening words of a Bible verse, "Remember those who are in prison," UCC members joined rallies at a Washington state penitentiary and the capitol building in Olympia on Thursday, April 16, to demand better inmate treatment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


A Kentucky pastor, a long-time champion and supporter of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, sees it becoming even more important in this time of COVID-19. 


Two United Church of Christ pastors are part of a group of black faith leaders calling on the Trump administration to provide better testing, treatment and health care for people of color during the coronavirus pandemic.

 


A UCC pastor sees parallels between Noah’s situation on the ark and the stay-at-home orders in much of the U.S. because of COVID-19. 


The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson and her family are taken ill after the sudden death of her father from COVID-19. She shares her ordeal with death, grief and a sickness that robbed her of the ability to function in a video conversation with her colleague the Rev. John Dorhauer. 


Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, and because of it, new insights broke forth from old stories during Holy Week and Easter Sunday in many UCC congregations as pastors and their people – unable to meet in person – made virtual contact over the Internet.


In the New York City borough of Queens, Safe Haven United Church of Christ has three Mothers of the Church: one in her 70s, one in her 80s and one who turned 95 on Easter weekend. All of them took part in Safe Haven’s Easter service via the webinar platform Zoom, which replicated, as much as possible, the joy of in-person worship -- in a city that had recorded 7,349 COVID-19 deaths by the end of that Sunday.





UCC Daily Briefings


 

Indian tribal governments are still waiting for $8 billion in aid for direct emergency relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.2 trillion bill passed on March 27. The Treasury Department had a statutory deadline of April 26 to distribute the monies to tribal governments. As of Friday, May 1, tribal governments still did not have their $8 billion.


Yesterday’s briefing considered aspects of a “new normal” now and in the shorter-term. Today, let’s look at what “new normal” might mean this fall and beyond as we seek to balance the need to contain COVID-19 with the need for a sustaining and sustainable economy.


When will things “go back to normal?” Or are we headed into a “new normal?” If so, what will that “new normal” look like? This first in a two-part series looks at immediate and shorter-term changes to our lives.


Last Thursday, the U.S. government issued new guidelines on “Opening Up America Again.” Are we being assured the protections we need? How much risk are we willing to take when guidelines based on science are being ignored and politics and a few protesters are driving the re-openings?


As a result of COVID-19 business closures since March 14, more than 26 million Americans to date have filed initial jobless claims. That's roughly one-sixth of the entire U.S. workforce. The closings have contributed to the difficulty in renters and homeowners making their housing payments - one of the major stressors that families are facing during this pandemic.


DACA students are not eligible for the U.S. Coronavirus Educational Stabilization Fund, according to new guidelines issued by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Today's UCC COVID-19 Daily Brief considers DeVos's ruling and asks advocacy with the White House and Department of Homeland Security to extend DACA protections due to expire this year.


At Thursday's White House COVID-19 news conference, President Trump suggested that possible treatments for the virus might include the use of ultraviolet rays outside and/or inside the body, and ingestion or injection of disinfectants into patients to clean their lungs. Don't be deceived: Agents that are commonly used to kill the virus in the environment are toxic to the body when ingested or injected.


On their recent video conference to discuss challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic, United Church of Christ Conference Disaster Coordinators from across the United States repeatedly sounded this alarm: “Our farmers are dumping milk and fresh produce because they have nowhere to sell it." At the same time, food pantries across the country report escalating demand. What's going on here?


Is it safe for states to begin "reopening" at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic? In today's UCC COVID-19 Daily Briefing, Barbara Baylor examines several states' apparent rush to reopen before even federal guidelines have been met. Among those states is her own state of Georgia.


Scientists and public health experts are learning more about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) every day. New symptoms are appearing, which can confuse the public about what to look for in determining if they might have the virus. Today's UCC COVID-19 Daily Briefing reviews established and emerging symptoms of COVID-19.


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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