Six days a week, the kitchen at Eden UCC in Hayward, Calif., is bustling. Volunteer cooks – primarily asylum-seeking mothers from Mexico and Central America – are using their favorite recipes to prepare hot meals that provide nourishment and a taste of home to 100 households - asylum-seeking youth and migrant families with children who've been impacted by COVID-19.
Disasters are stressful for survivors and caregivers alike. The long-running COVID-19 disaster is taking an enormous emotional toll on millions of people as they and those around them suffer sickness and death, isolation and loss of community and livelihoods. In response, the UCC is launching “Recovering Hope,” resources for emotional and spiritual care for pastors, chaplains and other church leaders, congregants, vulnerable communities and beyond.
As churches of the UCC's Pennsylvania Southeast Conference began to plan to resume in-person services, the Conference staff was receiving requests for leads on hand sanitizer. Conference Minister Bill Worley and Conference Disaster Coordinator Karl Jones consulted to determine if the Conference could assist with this request. Jones accepted the task.
United Church of Christ officers explore how the pandemic of racism spills out as police brutality and in the disparately high impact of COVID-19 on people of color, especially Black people. A disproportionate number of Black people are dying senselessly - and it's because of racism.
To date, three partners in Africa - in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan - have requested and received support from UCC Disaster Ministries for their work to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
UCC Disaster Ministries has just approved two funding requests to help people who are still struggling to recover fully from disasters in 2018 in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
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.