COVID-19 Special Issue
Mind, Body, Spirit: Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness
The Wellness Ministries of the UCC Newsletter
(formerly The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter)
April 6, 2020, Vol. 5 Issue 3
THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) is now a worldwide pandemic. This Special Issue to the UCC Wellness Ministries Newsletter is entirely focused on responses to the Corona Virus (COVID-19). As the course of this virus has evolved, health and wellness ministries and faith community nurses in local congregations, associations, and conferences are providing accurate health information and participating in virtual-based worship and pastoral care support to communities. The intent of this Special Issue is to compile various sources of information that may be helpful in your wellness ministries and your personal care.
United Church of Christ (UCC) Resources:
The national UCC website has a portal devoted to COVID-19, Coronavirus and the Church. The 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 ecumenical partners and respected health organizations. Categories include:
- Help for Churches in Responding Immediately
- How to Offer Worship Online
- Lessons on Ministry during a Disaster
- COVID-19 Daily Briefing from Disaster Ministries
- Suggestions for Talking to Children
- Legislative Updates (Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Summary)
- Statements by Church Leaders
- UCC News Articles
- General Resources - and Separating Fact from Fiction
- Avoiding Scams
Other responses of national UCC staff to provide timely information includes a pastoral letter and a daily briefing:
A Pastoral Letter in a Time of Pandemic
UCC Daily Briefing on COVID-19, Facts to Fight Fear
Health and Wholeness in the Midst of COVID-19
Updates will be made as circumstances change.
Virtual Worship: The United Church of Christ's Justice and Local Church Ministries has created a valuable resource in the pandemic that has information related to virtual worship and music, technology and "social distancing" options, copyright issues for virtual worship.
UCC Congregations, Associations, and Conferences: The responses of local churches and conferences to the pandemic have been diverse and creative with tips on virtual worship, information related to keeping connected during social distancing, food programs for children, and pastoral care approaches.
Churches have created contact lists for deacons and health and wellness committee members to connect with designated parishioners (the elderly, those living alone, and those living with chronic illness or disabilities) through phone calls, texting, and emails. Churches have created suggested questions for these contacts and mechanisms to assess for concerns and how to share information with pastors when necessary. One church formed a group for those who live alone to connect by Zoom once each week; it is called Chat and Checking In. Other churches have changed their visitation ministries to card ministries and found ways to provide grocery delivery or meals to the elderly or those who are in high-risk groups. Check your UCC conference website for similar information or contribute information to be posted to assist other congregations. Here are additional resources found on two conferences’ websites for you:
The Southern New England Conference (SNEC) (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) has developed a Corona Virus page on their conference website: that includes pastoral care for self and others, resources for youth, children and families, and worship and nurturing community on line.
- The worship and nurturing community page has many practical tips including a quick guide to using Zoom, virtual coffee hours, and multiple How-To Guides
- Debbie Ringen, Transitional Minister of Health and Wellness for the SNEC has developed a series of 6 Blogs that you may enjoy reading and sharing: https://www.sneucc.org/authordetail/2860695
The Southern Conference (North Carolina and Eastern Virginia) is holding twice-weekly Zoom webinars for conference ministers; the next will be a Maundy Thursday worship followed by these topics: web and digital strategies, creative worship, mental health, scams and predators, and human trafficking.
- The Southern Conference also offers resources related to prayer practices during this pandemic: Mindfulness, meditation and prayer are ways to focus and root the mind in the present moment leading to clarity, inner peace, reduction of stress and healing on all levels. Different ways to pray include using prayer beads, scripture and prayer books to receive help and answers, reduction of stress and healing of the mind, body and soul.
- The United Church of Chapel Hill (UCCH) in the Southern Conference has posted other links for parents on how to talk with children about COVID-19:
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network:
Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- PBS for Parents
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network:
Web-based COVID-19 related Health Information
These Web-based Resources related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can provide ongoing updates.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) resources
- The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) web page.
- How COVID-19 spreads: Last reviewed April 2, 2020
- COVID-19 symptoms: last updated February 29, 2020
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 Partner Toolkit
- American Nurses Association
Health Ministries Association (HMA)
- The HMA offers resources and tools to help you in your community.
- HMA also provides multiple denominations’-based resources related to COVID-19:
Web-based Mental Health Information
- American Psychiatric Nurses AssociationManaging Stress & Self Care during COVID-19: Information for Nurses
- Six Tips for Nurses Coping with the COVID-19 PandemicA blog by Dr. Bernadette Melnyk and ANA’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)Resources to Protect Mental Health and Coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves during Infectious Disease OutbreaksA blog from the American Psychiatric Association, includes printable hand out
- American Holistic Nurses Association’s Holistic Stress Management website
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
- NAMI’sNavigating a Mental Health Crisis Infographic
- US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD’sManaging Healthcare Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak
National Life- and Helplines
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- SAMHSA National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357) https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
Care for Yourself
We are grateful to each of you for extending aid, support, and comfort to others during this challenging time. As you care for others, we pray that you will also take time to care for yourselves. One way is to intentionally “unplug” for 15 - 30 minutes each day. Turn off the TV’s constant Breaking News and defer looking at the incoming email news update alerts. Instead, use time each day to rest, listen to favorite music, read a chapter in a novel or spiritual text, take a short walk outside, look at family or travel photos, read to a child, watch the birds at a feeder, work in your garden, call a friend, send someone a hand-written card, or close your eyes and slowly breath in prayerful meditation. Whatever you choose, take time to nourish your mind, body, and spirit with intentional self-care.