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 pastoral intern of the Vermont Conference UCC learned a lot about clergy response to the coronavirus pandemic this summer. She created a report that she hopes proves useful to Conferences and congregations around the country, especially those involved in rural ministry.


The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson is still recovering from a coronavirus-induced journey through the biblical “valley of the shadow of death,” she told a Scottish festival audience Aug. 20.


With a little encouragement from a United Church of Christ generosity officer, a lot of planning and a few clever promotional videos, a Pennsylvania congregation moved its annual fundraiser online – and wound up raising more money than in any previous year.


The UCC Our Faith, Our Vote campaign creed that every vote counts is supported by a new national study which shows that poor and low-income voters across the country have the power to impact the outcome of the United States presidential election and 16 U.S. Senate races.


This summer’s anti-racist uprisings, together with unjust social systems revealed by the coronavirus pandemic, should prompt the church to “prophesy to ourselves” and weed out white supremacy by its religious roots. That was a key message from two activists and theologians – one South African, the other American – in a United Church of Christ webinar Aug. 11. 


Emphasizing the burden that climate breakdown places on poor people and people of color, and calling for action now, two United Church of Christ speakers took prominent roles in early sessions of this year’s online American Climate Leadership Summit, still underway every Thursday in August.


As United Church of Christ-related seminaries adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, they're viewing it not as a mere inconvenience, nor even just a moment to teach different ministry skills. They're seeing it as a time for needed theological reflection about the future of the church.


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.





UCC Daily Briefings


 

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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 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.


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