United Church of Christ regional leaders have begun releasing recommendations to local churches about eventually reopening, as states around the country phase in a return to activities shuttered by COVID-19. These pandemic protocols offer congregations guidelines for deciding about when to return to in-person gatherings as areas of the U.S. gradually come out from under stay-at-home orders.
The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches, conferences and authorized ministers whose ministries have been challenged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The grant application process opens June 1.
COVID-19 doesn’t give other disasters a holiday. To the contrary, it complicates immediate response as evacuees and volunteers who come to help them struggle to “social distance” in food lines and shelters, including the thousands who right now are fleeing flooding and two dam breaches in Michigan, wildfires in Florida, and Cyclone Amphan in eastern India and Bangladesh. It also complicates long-term recovery from earlier disasters.
Leadership of the Wider United Church of Christ is urging the denomination's congregations to "wait until ALL safety concerns have been addressed" before going back to meeting in person. "Please make every decision based on how it will affect the most vulnerable among you," they write in their pastoral letter.
United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is contributing $25,000 to the UCC New York Conference for its work in the state hardest hit by novel coronavirus pandemic. This grant is the first in an unfolding multi-agency program of response to COVID-19.
Ken Skalitzky of Atlanta, Ga., Disaster Recovery Specialist for UCC Disaster Ministries, has been temporarily assigned to the NYC Office of Emergency Management to assist with the COVID-19 response efforts.
Here’s a model option for churches and other groups to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes from the UCC’s Indiana-Kentucky Conference, which is challenging its congregations to make cloth face masks for healthcare facilities in their communities that are short on personal protective equipment. One conference member, aged 13, already has made 350 face masks and counting!
The UCC wants to ensure that its membership and beyond get facts and not false information about the coronavirus pandemic. So it brought in a public health professional to act as UCC “point person” for the church’s COVID-19 response. Barbara Baylor's job: to help decipher all of the material available from a plethora of respected sources and create an online daily brief.
"If it wasn't for God and you people, I wouldn’t be in my house tonight." That's how Josephine Henry described the situation as a crowd joined her recently – before the COVID-19 crisis – to dedicate her restored home in Wilmington, N.C. Hurricane Florence had torn the roof off, but now it was fixed, thanks to One Great Hour of Sharing donations and volunteer work by United Church of Christ members and others.
Coronavirus resources with special emphasis on disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Check back regularly for updates!